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Using Emotional Intelligence to Close

GregFerrettOctober2012Today's blog post is by Greg Ferrett, CEO of Exceptional Sales Performance, based in Melbourne, Australia, and author of Selling to the Seven Emotional Buying Styles: Make Every Sales Call Pay by Selling to Emotional Need.


LinkedIN3DimageClosing techniques were drilled into me since my first day in sales, and I loved trying out new ones. I have a unique collection of closing techniques that were taught as far back as the Vikings’ 13th century, as well as “snake oil” techniques from the 1800s’ mid-West and today.

When I ask salespeople about their favorite or most successful closing technique, the most common response I get is, “It depends.” I would have thought with hundreds of years of development the better techniques would become favorites.

When a person is about to make a decision, according to modern scientific research, the part of the brain where emotions come from is awash with chemicals – and the more complex the decision or higher impact it has, the more chemicals the brain produces. These chemicals are the drivers of emotion, and what science is telling us is, as a decision point approaches, the emotional chemicals in the client’s brain are making the decision. Wouldn’t it be nice to know which closing techniques trigger the release of these chemicals?

It turns out there are seven emotional genes, and for each there is one dominant emotional driver as well as “green” and “red” emotional buttons.

Emotional Buying Style

Dominant Emotional Driver

The Normal

For social acceptance

The Hustler

 For material success

The Mover

To communicate

The Double Checker

For security

The Artist

To be creative

The Politician

To win

The Engineer

To complete projects

* Download the full table of emotional buying styles at www.exceptionalsales.com.au

Paul, division head of Australia’s largest telecommunications organization, was a difficult client. We had the perfect solution for him, yet no matter what technique I tried, Paul was just not going to budge. Each time I tried to move the sale forward with a question or trial close, he would just sit there quietly with a strange smile on his face and say as few words as possible as I slowly agreed to his every point.

I shared my experience with Ken, Paul’s counterpart in the user community who had some influence on the decision. He let me in on a secret: Paul was regarded as one of the sharpest negotiators in the organization and had a reputation for getting deals through when no one else could. Ken suggested I restructure my offering in a way that reinforced Paul’s reputation of getting things others could not.

In our next meeting, I asked a simple question: “Paul, if your division could be the first organization outside the United States to implement this new technology without increasing the price above the initial estimate, would that allow you to achieve your goal of staff time to productivity?”

I watched his face, and for the first time I saw a flicker of life.  He quickly composed himself and in his normal dry tone of voice asked, “Could you do that?”

Paul has “The Politician” emotional gene. His primary emotional driver is to win, and this win was typically a sharper deal or better terms. In this case, I provided him with an opportunity to win by doing something no one else had done. This enhanced his reputation of getting things no one else could. By pressing his “green” button (showing how the idea would help him look good), his brain started to flood with emotional chemicals, creating a compelling urge to like my idea. Of course, if I had tried the same technique with “The Double Checker” or “The Normal,” this would have pushed his or her “red” emotional button with exactly the opposite effect. If Paul’s emotional gene was “The Hustler,” I would need to add something like “…increasing your value on the employment market.”

When a salesperson responds with “it depends” regarding his or her favorite closing technique, that tells me this salesperson needs to determine the best way to work with a client. Using a simple tool to help unlock the client’s emotional buying style will reveal how the client will respond as the decision point approaches. Pushing “green” buttons early makes closing so much simpler.

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As I appreciate your read, I have one question? You say when salespeople say "it depends", it means they need to determine the best way to work with a client. But if you ask a question as to which is your favorite closing technique, the correct answer would be , it depends. There are many techniques and ways to close a client, but you first need to determine who your selling to first and once that's identified, then you proceed with your favorite close that fits with that type of client.

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