Emotion Sells. Money Smells.

A wailing child clings on to his father’s arm, and is dragged along into a wholesale store. The man’s routine to buy his weekly stock. Early 1980’s. The store owner reaches into a 2 feet glass jar of orange candies, grabs a handful and cups them into the child’s tiny palms. There was glee all around – Father, Child and Store Owner. Win! Win! Win! A gesture since trade started I bet. Now termed “Emotional Insights/Intelligence”.

At that tender age, I did not realise the sales element in this. But, it came handy decades later.

Out of the college gates, my first sales experience was with a new product into the market. “ Personal Radiation Monitors ” for scientists who worked in high-powered microwave communications laboratories, possibly exposed to hazardous microwave radiations. Anything to do with prevention as a use case was a tough sell. Albeit value of life is more precious now, it’s still a challenge.


So I researched in hazards of microwave radiation on life forms. I learnt that prolonged exposure in lab environments resulted in cataract to low fertility rates. Even a prognosis that said the probability of a female child being born was higher than a male child.  These were based on scientific studies, not my hypothesis, as the latter would never stand the test of time, nor the trust I was seeking.


There I was, armed with “relevant” data to educate my potential clients who worked in high-powered laboratories. A bit of homework prior to the meeting, to understand if the potential client wore spectacles (vision-impaired) and where possible to understand family diversity.

Soon enough I had built a recipe, and this business rocked.

Smelt the money !

85% Emotional and 15% Logical. Yes, that’s what various scientific and survey based studies have proven. Here is a picture that demonstrates this.IMG_0072

B2C – Oh yes we see it everyday. I still remember the Cowboy with a lasso on a horse, Marlboro Cigarettes – The Joy/Dream. Today cigarettes mean bleeding gums, cancer lumps, horrific teeth motivate people to think otherwise – The Fear.


B2B transactions need emotional insights at an individual (1-1)/organization level.  Personalised, more significant and complex than B2C. Interactions are 1-1 at the micro level.


Let’s look at who we engage in our telecommunications market. Engineering functions and what ticks there? It’s almost always avoidance of shame (pain), the joys associated with quality family time or/and restful nights sleep. What about CEO/CTO/CMO functions? Certainly the pleasure, excitement following the dream (gain) is usually associated with fame and fortune.


“Personal Win” for every individual. Understand that connect. Few months back we were at a client meeting and a new person was in the room. Midway he blurted…


I don’t care which system we buy as long as he (executive next to him) does not call me at night saying the network is down.  If I sleep well I am happy “.

His hot button? Avoidance of shame, safety net or gratification thru work life balance.


Top emotions associate with – Pleasure, Amusement, Happiness, Hope, Affection, Shame, Safety, Fear, Pain. Here are  tips to build that emotional connect with your potential client, whilst gaining emotional insights.


  • Understand your prospect’s or customer’s hot buttons. Why they appreciate/hate something or say something more often.  Knowing these prior to the meeting, would not harm.
  • Tell your story.  A true experience based story. There is no short-cut. The story has to have a connect – maybe just one!  Learn Story Telling here from Jennifer Aaker.
  • Relevant questions. Open ended. Here are some examples
    • What type and level of impact would you love to see in your organization? . This could be in conjunction with buying a solution or just their own vision/requirements.
    • What are top 3 out of this list that matters, and why?
    • Why would you work with me/us or not work with me/us if there was one you would not compromise on.
  • Like a hawk. There are small clues at the table that matter – conversation starters or closers. Observe closely. I recollect a meeting where a 30 min presentation finished, and the conversation thereafter went on for an hour related to a common hobby we had.
  • Focus on the person, give them attention – “Connect”.
  • Greet by name – intersperse conversation with the name. It’s reassuring at the least.


Emotional Intelligence & Cognitive Flexibility enter into the top 10 skills needed to thrive in the year 2020, according to World Economic Forum.


By this very rationale, money is allocated, spent to solve, address, attain emotional satisfaction and gratification.


In the world of big data meaning data overloads, finding those “emotional insights” is everything between smelling the money and biting the dust. That’s where you differentiate you versus your competition, not the product.

1 Comment
  • Niket
    March 27, 2016

    Excellent article, best thing about it is that it will appeal to all regions equally… There is no mention of Indian market or Japanese market or Chinese market… Global thoughts always appeals

    Few more topics you could cover:

    There should be an article on who is fit to do sales job… I often get such question from juniors… Should I pick sales? There is no test or psychometric for this.. No book or survey….

    I thought this is just a fad for you, but now I see maturity… So I respect your passion and dedication now.

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