What you’re selling is not what you’re selling

What are you selling?

Are you selling a product? Are you selling a service? What are you selling? Well, in fact, you might not be selling what you think you might be selling. Why is that? Well, let’s take you down to a very very basic function of human behavior, which is called approach and avoidance.

Approach & Avoidance

Approach usually means that there is something pleasant, something is positive, something you wanna move towards. Avoidance is something that you would like to avoid, something negative. If you want to sell something, you definitely need to be into the approach section of that dimension.

The Limbic System

So how do you make people wanna go to your product, that they approach your product, that they feel good about your product or your service? You need to address the right level, because approach and avoidance is something which is not decided in the higher brain functions, for example prefrontal context, but this is something which is a very fast quick and dirty evaluation of your limbic system. The limbic system in your brain is a part of your brain which is very old. That is something we share with for example, the reptiles and all the mammals. A part of the brain which is very old; it’s not very specific but it’s very good in judging very very quickly if something is good or if something is bad. The limbic system has to do with emotions. What can we learn from that? Well, if you want that people approach your product, that people want to buy your product, you need to talk to them on the level of emotion and not on the level of ratio. For example  think of paying money.

Money is something that is very rationale, very logical thing, it’s a cultural product of our social behavior that has developed over long time. But then if I go to a bank and if I invest money with them, its probably not a rational choice. What the banks actually giving me is security. It’s a feeling of my money is safe there. It’s a feeling of “I don’t need to care” and takes away stress from my life.

Stressed out?

Does your product or your service make stress or takes away stress from your customers? Everything which will add stress will make your product go into the avoid area. Everything which reduces stress will make them to go in the approach area. If you knew how your products reduces stress or make your customers feel good about themselves, then you know what kind of emotion you are helping to produce in the people, that could be a feeling of security, of being satisfied, of not having to worry, of being lucky, of being special, of being socially accepted.

Sell emotions!

So, next time you sell a service, think about what emotion you are selling. For example, if I am selling a social media campaign, I am not selling a social media campaign but what I am selling is the feeling that someone else with good knowledge is taking care of all the advertisements and that this campaign will help to make that person or that product a more socially accepted entity. So what I’m actually selling is not the service itself, it is selling the emotion that this service is producing in my clients, and even more so now with the social media age coming up on the internet. Selling is and will be much more of a social – and emotional – task than ever before.

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