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The #1 reason why customers buy Lessons from a Black Widow Spider

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The #1 reason why customers buy

Lessons from a Black Widow Spider

By Douglas Vermeeren

My very first full time sales job was different than most. I was a commission only, door-to door pest control sales person in southern California. That’s right, I went door-to-door selling pest control services to get rid of your bugs for Terminix pest control. The product we sold was a monthly service that would come to your home each month and we combat everything from ants, cockroaches to Black widow spiders.

It was from the Black Widow Spider that I learned a very interesting lesson about selling.

The world's most dangerous predator?

The world's most dangerous predator?

When I first began at this job I was very surprised to see just how much of a bug infestation people were willing to tolerate. I saw streams of ants rushing up a wall in one family’s kitchen. I found a plague of a thousand big dark brown roaches living inside a TV set at another house. I even found three foot long rats one time living in someones food pantry.

Believe it or not those families did not believe they needed our services as they did not believe they had a ‘pest’ problem. As a result they never hired us to eliminate those problems… they may still even have them today.

But there was one little fellow that always closed the deal….The Black Widow Spider.

When I would encounter a home with evidence that a Black Widow spider was present the first thing I would hear from my prospect was fear and disbelief. “Where is it? Can it get to us? Are there more of them?” I would then casually point out the web and often there we would get a glimpse of one of these bold arachnids. I could see the fear grow to panic in the face of my prospect and I always noticed the nervousness in their hand as they signed a full one year contract with our company.

So what was it that did it?

At first I wasn’t sure. But as I summer dragged on I found a few answers from the customers directly. There was panic, fear and in one case even tears.

They felt the Black Widow was the most dangerous predator to ever appear in their neighborhood. But was it?

No. It all came down to the Black widows reputation.  And I would have to blame the publicist for the Black Widow because it’s simply not true. While the Black Widow is somewhat dangerous, she is not the killer that everyone has painted her to be. In fact, in my whole two summers of working for this company, chatting with other inspectors and prevention technicians I had never even heard of a bite happening.

And the documented cases of Black Widow bites are rarely fatal for a person in average health.

But when it comes to fear logical facts don’t change a thing. In our minds the Black Widow has become synonymous with danger. Fear is a powerful emotion.

And that is the key to why the Black Widow closes deals.

The biggest reason we as humans buy anything is because of our emotional attachment to it. Whether it is fear, pain, pleasure, excitement or adventure. The primary reason we buy is found in the way that product makes us feel.

Studies have confirmed that this emotional connection is the #1 reason we buy.  We buy things all the time without any logical reason other than we appreciate the way they make us feel.  In the case of the Black Widow the pest control contract brings a sense of security where there was a fear.

Take a look at the history of the world’s most successful products and brands and you’ll find a pattern that they have all solved a nagging pain, a dramatic fear, a moment of embarrassment, a returning concern, a bothersome inconvenience, and even the pain of being left out.

When it comes to a battle between logic and emotion, emotion will always win.

George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University describes this phenomenon this way, “Most of the brain is dominated by automatic process, rather than deliberate thinking. A lot of what happens in the brain is emotional, not cognitive.” 1.

Think of all the consumer spending and credit card debt that is accumulated by people who know they don’t have the money – but they can’t say no. Logic always gives into emotion. And even though logic tells these people they don’t need a product they feel like they can’t live without it. Advertisers and successful sales people know that there are buttons to push within us that ignite our emotions into buying mode.

Additional studies involving purchasing patterns of the brain suggest that this automatic process also dictates purchasing habits or a phenomenon called a ‘purchasing hook.’

Have you ever continued to buy something because of an attachment to a special memory or experience? That’s a purchasing hook. It happens all the time, you buy a specific brand of chewing gum because it happened to be the one you were chewing the night you met your first love. Or you want to wear a specific watch because that’s what James Bond wore in that movie, and you felt it was exciting. We buy because we associate that product with a specific emotion.

These kind of anchoring techniques are relatively simple to master with the right kind training.

Now I am not presenting this information to suggest that all a sales person needs to do to be successful is simply get people emotionally excited about what they are selling. I am simply pointing out the results of the study. Emotion sells. But that is not the end of the deal…

‘Emotional selling’ may create a quick purchase, but it is a very small part of the equation when it comes to creating a long term business. If the product or service does not deliver in the long term value or meet the expectations of a customer that emotional value will turn sour very quickly.

If what you are offering is genuinely valuable the customer will generally find several of emotional points on her own but there are ways to enhance this in a presentation. In our training that includes the 5 ways your brain learns we share some great ways to build these emotional values without coming off too “salesy.”

Emotion is the major driving factor in our economy. If you want to be successful in sales you need to understand the most dramatic and challenging problems that your prospect has and how you solve that with your products and services. That is where the emotion is.

If you can discover those needs and present solutions to them in a clear way many of the emotional hooks will take care of themselves.  After all, who really wants a hunting Black Widow spider lurking nearby?

To learn more about how to build these emotional hooks into your product presentations please contact us at The Sales Success Academy 1-877-393-9496.

  1. Buy.ology, Martin Lindstrom P.28

About the Author:

Douglas Vermeeren is a featured trainer at The Sales Success Academy. He is the director of the SUCCEED Research Center which is dedicated to sharing research on the systems that top achievers use to create lasting success.

Over the last decade Vermeeren has interviewed more than 400 of the world’s top achievers, including business leaders, celebrities and professional or Olympic athletes. Douglas Vermeeren is the author of Guerrilla Achiever (With Jay Levinson) and the creator of The Opus (with Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Dr. Joe Vitale, Dr. John Demartini, Dr. Sue Morter, Marci Shimoff, Bill Bartmann, Bob Doyle and Morris Goodman.) Currently Doug is completing another film entitled, How Thoughts Become Things. This film will explore the process of how our thoughts become manifest in our lives as reality.  For more on this film go to: For more on Douglas Vermeeren go to: Douglas Vermeeren can be reached for speaking engagements and training at 1.877.393.9496.

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