Think about the most memorable times in your life. Maybe it was when you bought your first car, your high school prom, when you graduated from college or got married, or the birth of your child.
Unfortunately, we have all suffered sad times, like the loss of a loved one. That is a memory that is also instilled in our brain. Whether happy or sad, our brain retains information about emotional events.
Conversely, while we “hear” information without an emotional connection, we are unlikely to remember it. That’s why we can forget where we put our car keys ten minutes ago, but remember minute details of a car crash that occurred ten years earlier.
An investment advisor who engages in a discussion of risk and return data, structured notes, hedge funds and annuities will make no emotional connection. Instead of giving a lecture about the complexities and benefits of different investments, approach the prospect with the goal of making an emotional connection.
In a social situation, most of us find it easier to make an emotional connection. We ask questions about the other person to get to know them better. “Where are you from?” Tell me about your job, your family, and your interests . The list is endless.
The person asking these questions is likely to establish an emotional connection with the person answering them. We wouldn’t consider introducing ourself and launching into an extended, one-sided conversation about ourselves. Or would we?
You will find that asking people to talk about themselves changes a “sales presentation” into a very positive experience for both you and the prospect. There is a scientific basis that explains why this is true. Studies from Harvard University Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab have shown that talking about yourself is as pleasurable as having sex. Self-disclosure is directly linked to the parts of the brain associated with other positive experiences. Researchers reached this conclusion by reviewing functional MRI scans to identify changes in the level of blood flows when people talked about themselves.
This research is a double-edged sword. As a salesperson, you are motivated not only by what you see as you role “to impart information”, but also by a desire to engage in the pleasurable activity of talking about yourself and your work. This may make you happy, but you are doing little to make an emotional connection with your prospect.
Overcome your proclivity to talk about yourself and your product or service. Instead, elicit information from your prospect about herself. Get to know her as the unique and special person she is. You will find her a willing participant in this dialogue.
Of course, there will come a time in the conversation where the topic of your product or service will arise. Wait until the prospect raises this issue. This may take some discipline, but your patience will be well rewarded.