Simplicity can be much more powerful than complexity, especially in selling, and buyer emotions have a dramatic impact on sales success

A eureka moment occurred for me recently, at a workshop run by internationally acclaimed public speaking coach Topher Morrison.

He shared a simple four step model to tap into the emotional states that buyers need to feel in order to make a purchase.

What are the buyer emotions you need to hit?

The four buyer emotions that Topher highlighted in his speaker training are summarised below.

I thought these were also extremely relevant and valuable for sales people and business owners too. In fact they can be applied at multiple levels; to business strategy, to marketing and sales operations and to sales and marketing tactical campaigns.

1. Pain in the present

Someone who is comfortable with the status quo is not going to buy. Identify the pain that some people have and engage with that. Some examples to consider are new legislation, increased competition, innovation, changing technology, desire for efficiency. Think for a moment what causes you pain. Now thing about your potential customer.  Trade magazines and conferences can be a good indication of the trending issues. Market research and surveys that generate statistics are a clear and tested way to add substance to turn the screw on the pain.

2. Hope towards the future

People buy into a picture of something that’s better – and the clearer the picture the stronger the desire. More wealth, greater beauty, increased status, a better lifestyle, helping others, these are just some of the many aspirations that marketing plays to. Think about what you hope for. In business it is usually increased sales, increased profits, happier customers, reduced risk, and similar aspirations. What do your target buyers hope for?

3. Faith in your promise

There are many competing ways to achieve what people hope for. What is it that makes your proposition more attractive? Evidence that you’ve delivered to others and they have achieved what you’re claiming is key here. Your credentials based on qualifications, the knowledge you share through blogs, training, conference speaking, books and more are part of this. Successful customer projects, satisfied customers and clients, endorsements, testimonials, case studies, are incredibly powerful. Social proof is readily accessible, in the form of networks and connections, reviews, content sharing, influence measures and so on. How can you make your promise more tangible and trustworthy?

4. Urgency to take action

Even when people get the Pain, Hope and Faith messages they may still do nothing about it. Status Quo prevails because the effort to change is not strong enough. The presence of a Trigger Event is needed. What has triggered your purchases recently? Look at deals and sales you’ve won recently, what triggered them? What was impacting your new customer? Was it a calendar event, such as a legislation change, year-end, a trade event, or similar deadline. It might have been a competitive or market issue, such as a new customer win, or loss, relocating headquarters, a competitor encroaching, or withdrawing. It might be a change of personnel – a new chairman, MD, executive decision-maker, supplier changing, or key person at a supplier of theirs changing. For some reason the Status Quo is no longer acceptable, and a decision is needed. This is your selling opportunity.

Keeping these points in mind, and using them as a check-list, should pay dividends in your marketing and selling.

Three ways to include buyer emotions in your sales efforts

There are multiple ways this theme can be translated into strategies, techniques and tactics, and these are just some to stimulate thinking.


  • Monitor your market and those of your customers for trends, opportunities, threats, legislation, competition innovation and more.
  • Include this in your marketing and sales planning, especially the way your products and services overcome or alleviate pain.
  • Build and communicate messages that strengthen your credibility and market position on an ongoing basis.


  • Identify different buyer groups or decision-maker profiles and understand what buyer emotions, pain and gain are top priorities for them
  • Create sales campaigns from lead generation to deal closing messages that will win them over to your proposition
  • Build multi-touch, multi-channel, multi-media lead nurture campaigns designed around this set of ideas to turn leads into high quality sales opportunities


  • Monitor people in your network for trigger events such as job changes, promotions, departures, arrivals etc. which is often a strong change trigger. Make contact with them swiftly following the change.
  • Write blog posts and articles on a weekly basis that address topics raised here and include the emotional aspect to them as much as you can. NB. Telling a story about yourself or a client is a good format to use.
  • Post Status Updates and Tweets as often as you can – several times a day ideally – that cover the spread of messages and emotions outlined here.

Consider also how these ideas about buyer emotions can be applied at all stages in the sales cycle; from lead generation, lead nurture, proposing, closing and into delivery.

I’ll certainly be referring back to these buyer emotions frequently, as a checklist to myself and for client projects, as I work across the three levels and multiple channels to develop LinkedIn Training, LinkedIn Consultancy and LinkedIn Services, and develop effective Social Selling capabilities.