Is the Emotional Selling Proposition ready to replace the Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
In Successful Selling Made Simple I gave a link to an excellent one page summary of the selling process from UK sales expert Sean McPheat.
"This included the idea that USPs are great but ESPs are even better"
Misconceptions About The USP Concept
I teach clients the importance of being differentiated from their competitors and how to communicate these areas of differentiation so that customers and prospective customers understand. (I write another blog called DifferentiateYourBusiness.co.uk)
But the idea of the Unique Selling Proposition appears to raise the differentiation issue to a totally different level.
People are overwhelmed by the pressure of being unique because competition has moved from local to regional to national to international and finally to global.
Let me make this clear.
You don't need to be unique in the world.
Even with the Internet there is not what economists call "perfect information".
It is too overwhelming and prospective customers will just look at a few alternative suppliers so your task is to make sure that you have some meaningful and valuable differences with those few competitors.
This may be a unique benefit of your product or service or it could be the unique way that you resonate with the needs and wants of the prospective customer.
This is where the idea of the Emotional Selling Proposition becomes so exciting.
People Buy Emotionally And Justify Logically
Recent research into the brain (Neuromarketing) has identified that the buying decision is triggered by the old brain but it is still powered by the emotional response to an offer or proposition.
So it is still true to say that people buy emotionally and then justify logically.
The Emotional Selling Proposition gives you the opportunity to control the marketing message and to drive an emotional reaction that creates the connection and triggers "I want this. I am going to buy it."
For a "virtues and sins" approach to influence see How To Make People Buy
Developing Your Emotional Selling Proposition
Do you know what emotions your customers have before, during and after they buy?
Are they scared and looking for reassurance that they will be safe? (That is the basis for insurance type sales driven by the fear of loss)
Are they embarrassed and looking for relief? (That seems to be the selling message of many of the spam emails I delete every morning which offer relief from feelings of sexual inadequacy).
Are they ashamed when they want to be proud? (I remember a mobile phone ad asking "Are you ashamed of your phone?" which connected with me because I had stubbornly refused to change).
Are you feeling miserable and want to be happy? Or bored and want some thrills?
Can you see the power of looking at the emotions your customers have and want to have and creating an Emotional Selling Proposition?
You have a choice:
- You can emphasise the end emotion after purchase - L'Oreal's "Because you're worth it" emphasises pride and recognition of your own self worth, "Finger lickin' good" from KFC or "Make safe sex feel sexy" (Durex condoms)
- You can contrast the ying and yang like the cream cake slogan "Naughty but nice"
While the second approach has the advantage of building rapport, it also carries with it the danger of being associated with the bad emotion as well as the good emotion.
But don't come up with some meaningless claptrap that could apply to anything unless you have the marketing budget to make it your own.
"Nothing beats a great pair of L'eggs" works great for L'eggs tights as it works on a number of different levels and is specific.
L'Oreal's "Because you're worth it" only works because of the mass advertising campaign that has created instant association that needs repetition and the constants drip-drip into the unconscious to create the "Yes I am" reaction.
Some Words of Warning About Emotional Selling Propositions
I like the idea of an emotional selling proposition to help emphasise the benefit payback but you can't abandon logical benefits supported by credible features.
If people decide emotionally, they still justify rationally to themselves and to other people so you need to give them the ammunition.
Have You Created An Emotional Selling Proposition?
If you have created an emotional selling proposition or tried to create an ESP, I will be very interested to read how you got on so please leave a comment.
One of my favourite resources for trying to put this kind of thing together is the great marketing book The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner.
I think I have been guilty of focusing on a logical return on investment without identifying the emotional payback that may actually be the primer driver of the purchase.