Brace yourself. We’re going to talk about a dirty word in business-to-business communication: feelings.
So awkward, in fact, that businesses go to great lengths to avoid talking about feelings (or even talking with feeling).
The fact is:
EVERY B2B CUSTOMER IS ALSO A B2C CUSTOMER
This means that every one of us makes purchasing decisions based on emotional, rather than rational triggers.
HIT THEM IN THE FEELS
Getting to the bottom of what your customer is feeling is always a huge part of the sales puzzle. Yep, even in B2B. Appealing to a person’s emotional side is THE most effective way to grab their attention. Hitting the right notes will always drive better results, so it pays to invest in a robust strategic phase to figure out what makes your audience tick before you dive into the creative phase (clue: it’s not technical jargon or business bingo).
Once you’ve got your customer’s attention, the next step is to show empathy towards their unique business challenges and needs. If you can show that you understand what your customer needs, you’re far more likely to close the deal. The key is to demonstrate clearly how your product or service can solve a problem that exists for your target audience.
THE FINANCIAL TIMES TOLD ME TO
Last year, the Financial Times commercial insight team created the Business Feeling Index to investigate the role emotions play in business relationships. As part of this global study, a 315-strong pool of FT readers (executives with business decision-making responsibilities) were surveyed and an additional qualitative research panel by Russell Research, comprised of 24 senior executives, supplemented the research study.
The study revealed…
– 86% of decision makers expressed a need to feel confident in their business partners.
– 59% of respondents felt a sense of optimism was key during the “pre contact” stage.
– 70% believed a clear understanding of their needs was the biggest contributor to their choice of business partner.
– 63% said thought leadership was the most influential aspect of a brand’s marketing.
AND FINALLY, KEEP IT REAL
Being spoken to in an authentic and believable way is refreshing to your average businessperson. When you’re using emotion-based communication to drive more rational business decisions, stick to language, imagery and ideas that are relevant to their day-to-day experience.
If there’s one thing you take from this article, remember that no Kiwi decision-maker wants to see themselves depicted as a sparkly-smiled, air-punching, Americanised douchebag. So don’t go there. Ever.