The Difference Between “Deal” and “No Deal” Isn’t What You Think

You’re in a shoe store. You need a pair of pumps for your suit, but what you really want are those gorgeous Marc Jacobs ballet flats that are oh so comfortable. Or, you’re looking for a new computer because your old one has just died, again. Sure, you can get a chunky desktop from CostCo at a basement bargain price, but what you really want is a sleek Sony laptop with a flat-screen monitor that will look great in your office and has the horsepower you need.

Chances are you walked out with the Marc Jacob ballet flats, the Sony laptop, AND the sensible pumps because you want to feel confident for your client meeting next week. You buy just like everyone else does – you get what makes you feel good. And, you buy it from people and companies who make you feel like you made a great choice.

When it comes to your customers, feeling good is the difference between “Deal” or “No Deal”.

Most entrepreneurs believe that people buy because of price or quality or some other reason that’s based on logic and thought. Just think about some of the headlines you hear. “At our dealership you’ll get the lowest prices in town!” “Service is our number one quality.” But, according to neurologist Donald Calne, rational thought is not the ticket. His studies have found that “The essential difference between emotions and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”

Translation: Customers buy from emotion and back it up with their head. You can appeal to your customer’s intellect with some great facts and figures about what you’ll deliver, but unless those facts and figures trigger an emotional response – the one that says “buy” – you haven’t made the sale.

Branding is the key to unlocking your customer’s emotions because a brand is all about a person’s gut feeling about your company, product or service. Create a strong brand with a strong emotional experience that attracts your target customer and you’re on your way to “deal”, “deal”, “deal”, over and over again.

One of our clients, Janet, didn’t think she had a brand or that it much mattered. She came to us with an accounting business for small to mid-sized companies where she handled their book keeping, payroll, tax reporting and preparation. She was doing okay, had a decent client list and was making a living, but she wanted more. She wanted to significantly grow her business and was trying to figure out how.

She knew accounting was boring for most people and didn’t think she could engage her customers’ emotions. Au contraire. Accounting may be boring for most but the relief and security that a competent, detailed team is taking care of the arduous, necessary file keeping, paperwork, and reporting for your business is far from being a snoozer. Freed up from these tasks, a business owner can get on with servicing customers and growing their business.

With the core emotions of relief, security and success in mind, we worked with her on her brand, and her accounting business went from boring to bodacious. She updated her company name from “Ledgers First” to “Accounting Success” and created the tagline “Easy Accounting Solutions for Small Business Success” to express the emotional result of having your company record keeping managed for you. She worked with a graphic design team to create a new logo and look for her website.

We helped her craft an offer to attract new clients that appeals to transforming their accounting burden into business growth. She bundled her services into three accounting service packages that make it easy for customers to understand and choose. Plus, she converted her in-house accounting software templates into products to lessen the burden for self-proclaimed do-it-yourselfers. And, she included her staff in the creative process so that they were hooked on the new brand feeling as well.

The results: Existing customers expanded their service agreements and happily referred other small business owners. She attracted new customers at a growth rate she hadn’t seen in years. And, everyone – her customers, her team, and she herself – can easily wrap their heads and hearts around who they are and what they do. All because her brand emotion was defined and everything was connected to it.

What’s the emotional pull of your business? Do you have a defined brand that speaks to your target customer’s heart as well as their head? The difference may seem subtle, but the results are not. It’s the difference between how many times you hear “Deal” or “No deal”.

Copyright (c) 2007 Mary Foley