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Joe Friday Would Have Been A Terrible Salesman

by Hank Barnes  |  June 11, 2013  |  1 Comment

I turn 50 today and am further dating myself with the subject of this post.  On the show Dragnet, Jack Webb played a character called Sgt. Friday, whose catchphrase was “Just the facts, Ma’am” (although, according the Wikipedia, that phrase was never used exactly in the show. While I never actually watched the show, I do remember the phrase.  And if you are in sales (or marketing for that matter), looking for “just the facts” is a recipe for failure.

(This photo was sourced from an article in Pysychology Today, which talks about leveraging your emotions to think logically.)

A friend of mine, Amrita Chandra, wrote a great blog post recently, about the importance of talking to customers.     She uses the example of a guy who bought a $3,000 mattress despite protesting that he did not want or need a $3000 matress.  As it turns out, the experience–how he felt on the mattress-drove the purchase.

While facts, whether gleaned with digital marketing tools or in other ways, are important pieces of the sales and marketing puzzle, “just the facts” doesn’t cut it.  Buyers make decisions for emotional, non-rational reasons.  The facts are often irrelevant in the final purchase decision.  

Every salesman and every marketer can appeal to buyers on an emotional level, even in a B2B setting—creating feelings and preferences that “just don’t make sense.”

I often like to say that you don’t always want to give customers what they want, sell them what they need (another twist on the Apple adage mentioned in Amrita’s post)–but that is not enough either.  Sometimes its about selling what makes them feel.  Feel Good..Feel Safe…Feel Smart…Feel Unique, etc.  Customer-centric messaging that is outcome oriented can often be linked along these emotional lines.  And it is a great way to standout in the crowd.

This is not about you as a sales rep or marketer stretching the truth (I am a big believer in Authenticity).  Its about you working with buyers to show how the “truth” or your solutions addresses emotional needs.

Just to recap, facts are important as they are usually the guideposts along buying decisions, but relying only on facts may leave you in the losing spot when the final decision is made.  Engage deeper with your buyers to understand their emotional interests and create authentic stories that appeal to those interests and see if your success rate grows.

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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: authenticity  customer-experience  emotional-selling  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Joe Friday Would Have Been A Terrible Salesman

  1. Thanks for the mention Hank — couldn’t agree more with your point about buyers making decisions for non-rational reasons. This tends to get overlooked in the B2B side especially.

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