Improve your marketing results by understanding why clients hire your services

friday, 29 june of 2007

Emotion and logic play important yet different roles

by Trey Ryder

I upgraded my computer and installed a faster processor because

-- I can save and retrieve information faster,

-- I can save time each day, even if it’s only a few minutes,

-- I can run more sophisticated software, and

-- I can back up my computer faster than before.

These are good, solid, practical, logical reasons that justify why I upgraded my processor. But are they the real reasons I bought a new processor?

Of course not.

I upgraded my processor because I wanted a faster computer.  Like any teenage boy with a car -- and many adult males, too.  No matter how fast my computer can go, I want it to go faster.

I see TV commercials for the latest and fastest chips.  I see ads for the fastest operating systems.

Then I tell myself:  “Wait.  My computer’s too slow.  Someone else can download web sites faster than I can.  My time’s important.  I have to keep up.  I need a faster processor.”  And so on....

It’s all about how advertisers push my emotional buttons.  And they do.

Here’s the point:  You can dramatically improve your marketing results by understanding why clients hire your services.

Here’s the marketing principle:  Prospects hire your services for emotional reasons.  They justify their decision to other people with logical reasons.

I have a friend who recently bought a Mercedes.  He drones on about the anti lock braking system and many safety features.

I ask, “Why a Mercedes? Why didn't you buy a Volvo? They’re well known for safety features.”

He gives me more and more reasons why.  He has mastered the art of justification.

What’s the real reason he bought a Mercedes?

Because he wanted to own a prestigious car and join the exclusive group of people who drive a Mercedes.

The ad agency that markets Mercedes Benz knows why people buy their cars. So, in addition to marketing prestige, they focus on the reasons people use to justify their purchase. Their ads focus on the smooth drive and technical features that separate their car from all others. But, in truth, many of those features can be found on cheaper cars. Mercedes sells cars based on emotional appeals and then justifies the purchase in its advertising by appealing to logic.

In addition to emotional appeals, you can choose emotional words. What do you feel when I say...

Scottsdale.  Fraud.  Party.  Terrorist.

Do you see how each word arouses a different and sometimes strong feeling?

Scottsdale may bring to mind upscale, affluent, golf, sunshine, resort. Fraud makes me think of underhanded and dishonest. Party might make you think of happy, fun, enjoyable, social. And terrorist brings to mind all sorts of words I won’t print here.

Read these two paragraphs and see how much more emotional one sounds than the other.

Dear Client: Thank you for hiring the law firm of Smith & Jones to represent you. We realize that you could have chosen many other law firms in our city. The fact that you selected our firm is appreciated by our lawyers and staff. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Mr. Smith.

Compare it with this:

Dear Mr. Simpson:  I offer my personal thanks for hiring our law firm.  I just met with our firm’s founder and we discussed the many ways we can serve you.  I know you could have chosen a number of law firms, and I'm most grateful that you chose us.  I guarantee we’ll work hard to provide you with the high level of personal service that you want and deserve.  Cordially, Mr. Jones.

Both letters serve the same purpose.  But the second letter is far more personal.  You feel as though Mr. Jones is writing specifically to you.  The second letter comes across as more down to earth, filled with genuine emotion.

On the other hand, the first letter seems like a form letter that the law firm sends to all its new clients.  As a result, it lacks the personal feeling and warmth.

If you hired this law firm, which letter would you rather receive?

When I write copy, I use bonding words to draw the reader closer to the author with the hope of starting or building a relationship.  Words like welcome, invite, share, together, let's, help, discuss, happy, glad and so forth.

Here are a few emotional reasons prospects hire you:

They like you.  They trust you.  They believe you.  They respect you.  They appreciate your willingness to help them.  You make them feel important.  They share your interests outside your law practice.  They value your community activities.  They value your charitable work.  They share your social, political, religious beliefs.

Here are logical reasons prospects use to justify their decision to hire you:

You have specialized knowledge.  You have in depth experience.  You have a high level of skill.  You have a good reputation.  You have a proven track record.  You graduated from a prestigious law school.  You have held respected positions in lawyer groups.

Bottom Line:  Create your marketing message so you connect emotionally with prospects and so prospects have logical reasons they can use to justify their decision to hire you.  When your marketing message contains both emotional and logical appeals, you shift your marketing program into overdrive and greatly improve your marketing results.

© Trey Ryder

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