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The Marketing Experts Were Wrong

The Marketing Experts Were Wrong

July 04, 2013

Which Triggers More Sales, Emotion or Logic?

The answer is not what you think.

Conventional marketing wisdom led us to believe that more customers made purchases based on emotions. 

But according to a study of 311,000 people, conventional marketing wisdom is wrong!*

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Send this suprising infographic that reveals the truth about emotion and logic to your right brain and left brain friends. Here is the link that you can share.


*A study of 311,000 people, illustrated in Doug Hall’s best-selling book Meaningful Marketing, shows that 44% of people are actually left-brained, following logic and reason in their decision making, while only 28% are right-brained, guided by emotion. The remaining 28% are whole-brained, using both logic and emotion to guide their decision making.

So how does this affect you? 

It can give you a tremendous boost in your sales strategies.  You can now approach sales from three vantage points…

  1. Selling to left-brained individuals through logic and reason
  2. Selling to right-brained individuals by building relationships
  3. Selling to whole-brained individuals with a hybrid solution encompassing a little of both

 Sorry, this is a Left-Brainer Only Department

If only it was that easy. Unless Mr. Spock from the original Star Trek is approaching, you won’t know immediately whether logic or emotions will guide your customer’s buying decisions. Unfortunately, there is no left/right/whole brain scanner for customers to walk through as they approach.  Nor does guessing work in an age where looks, trends, and fashion sense can be misleading.

It’s up to you to determine whom you’re dealing with by listening closely to potential customers in initial conversations or by carefully reading their communications.  For example, if you engage with someone who has done a lot of research and can quote facts and figures to explain why he or she should buy a certain product, you’ll need to put on your left-brained sales cap.  

4 Tips for selling to the Left-Brained Customer

  1. Use Comparisons – The Big Zig, as I call it, is being able to make side-by-side comparisons between your products or services and those of your competitors.
  2. Recognize how smart the customer is – They’ve done their homework and deserve acknowledgement from you that they’re on top of the game.  
  3. Don’t duck a punch – Left brainers can usually see through a smoke screen, so if you don’t know an answer, say so.
  4. Be prepared and on time – Think “old-school” sales. Dress appropriately, stay on topic, and be ready to answer tough questions.

Left-brained customers might seem like the quicker sell, since they’ve done their homework. But there are challenges. The primary one is getting left-brainers to make a change. You’ll have to illustrate a logical, practical, and rewarding win/win sales scenario to get them onboard.  But once you convert left-brainers, they are likely to stick with your brand for a long time. 

Relating to the Right-Brainers

Right-brainers will typically be more animated and humorous, offering stories to illustrate their needs, rather than citing facts and figures. They are more likely to follow their intuition or buy because someone they know had a positive experience. They also enjoy building relationships, which explains why businesses have had great success marketing to right-brained people on social networks.     

4 Tips for selling to the Right-Brained Customer  

  1. Build a relationship first.  The hard no-nonsense sell won’t work.  Get to know your customers and let them get to know you.  Be real.
  2. Be passionate, energetic, and enthusiastic.  Regardless of what you’re selling, how you sell it is important.  If you are animated and likable, you’re on the right path to a sale.
  3. Know their personal likes and dislikes. Right-brainers like to share their thoughts and their stories. Pay attention, show interest, and continue the conversation.
  4. Use emotional hot buttons. Appeal to their desire to look good, save time and money, get comfortable and avoid hassles.

Impulse purchases notwithstanding, the right-brainers may take more time to make a sale. While they are more adventurous and more open to change than their left-brained counterparts, they like to mull things over and discuss the possibilities with friends, family and anyone who will listen.  But if they trust you and establish a relationship with you, right-brainers can not only become good customers, but can also spread the word far and wide about you and your products or services. 

Whole Brainers, a Mixed Bag

Yes, there are people (28% according to the study) who can see both the logical, rational side as well as feel the emotional aspects of a situation.  They can quote the specs but then decide they simply don’t feel right about the color. You need to be able to appease both sides of the brain by providing the hard facts while staying in touch with the emotional aspects.  No, you don’t want to present a well-researched, highly detailed PowerPoint presentation and start weeping when it ends, but you do want to lay out the information and then ask your customer how he or she feels about what you’ve presented. 

4 Tips for selling to the Whole-Brained Customers  

  1. Show both rational and emotional. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. “A foolish consistency is the hobogoblin of little minds.”  Provide the facts while also relating on an emotional level. Be, in a word, “flexible.”
  2. Follow their lead.  Whole brainers look at how a product works, but they also envision how it will make them feel in the future. If they jump on the magic carpet and foresee where this product will take them emotionally, join them on the ride.  Will it make them feel happy?  Fulfilled?  Relieved?  Give them your feedback.      
  3. Be honest. Stand behind what you know and be open about what you do not know.  Whole brainers can see through false promises and sales pitches.
  4. Use Testimonials.  People buy for all sorts of reasons, which will show up in testimonials. Some buy for logical reasons, some for emotional reasons and some for both.  Testimonials can lend credence to all sales decisions.

It’s not mind-reading, but if you know how your customer’s mind works, you’ll vastly improve your chances of making a sale.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go.


Jon Goldman, President, Brand Launcher