|The Power of Emotion|
|Wednesday, November 17 2010 15:29|
Why is it that software customers prefer to buy from the big suppliers? Often, smaller suppliers don’t even make it to the negotiation table. Once the decision is taken, and the deal done, software is hardly ever replaced. Why?
FearEver heard IT management talk about taking “The Safe Option”? The Safe Option used to be IBM, and later Microsoft was often named “The Safe Option”, too. In general, The Safe Option is apparently to buy from the biggest supplier.
Why buy from the biggest supplier? Why take ‘The Safe Option”? Fear. Fear makes people look for security and avoid risks. Fear of failure, of making mistakes and being held accountable.
Fear of abandonment. Sometimes, management is afraid the company will be left behind: if they don’t invest in certain new technology, they will miss the boat, and competitors will pass them by. Fear is very powerful. You may ask yourself: if your competitors all invest in ERP systems, would you resist? Would you still be objective in your evaluation, knowing your competitors have already started, and obviously approved of this new technology?
EnthusiasmSo how can small companies succeed when so many purchase The Safe Option? The small companies obviously do something right: despite the fear that often influences purchasing decisions, they have higher organic growth figures than their larger competitors.
When IT management hears of ‘cool’ new technology, or hears of successful software implementations at other companies, this sparks enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a powerful emotional driver, and it influences purchasing decisions. As fear and enthusiasm are on different sides of the emotional balance, fear can not be present in the light of enthusiasm. So enthusiasm can help smaller companies win software contracts.
TrustAnother influential emotion is Trust. We trust suppliers that have previously done a good (or reasonable) job for us. To a lesser degree, we also trust companies that have been recommended to us by people we trust. A software supplier that has the trust of the software purchaser is in an advantageous position. Gaining trust is difficult. It is said that ‘trust comes on foot, and goes on horseback’. Ever wondered why software companies spend so lavishly on research reports from IDC, Forrester, Gartner and the likes? It helps them to show statements from such reports to their customers, as these research firms are often seen as trustworthy: “if they say the software is good, then it is probably true.”
Emotion in salesSoftware sales people should know about emotion. And try to work with it. Selling software is about building trust in relationships, and sparking enthusiasm. A whole range of sales tools is essentially targeted at generating positive emotions. Customer references, flashing demo videos of cool new stuff… It’s all about emotion.
Interested in the subject? Try reading "Getting to Yes" from Ury and Fisher, and Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people".