Appeal with Emotion, Confirm with Logic

by Steven M. Smith · 1 comment

A friend shook me up yesterday when he asked me, “Do you appeal to potential customers using emotion or logic?”

I wanted to say both. But @#$!, the true answer was logic.

Logic is a good thing. But when people make decisions, emotion trumps logic.

What makes the heart pump faster for organizational decision makers?

Three compulsions stand out for me — the desire for power; the desire for money; and the desire for recognition.

Power determines who gets to tell whom what to do. The more people you get to tell what to do, the more power you have. It’s the desire to become the alpha dog. It’s the desire to continue being the alpha dog. Some people seek it more, a lot more, than other people. Think Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Jack Welch. Anything that a service will do to advance this desire, the stronger its emotional appeal.

Money determines who is the most valuable. The more you make, the more valuable you are. It’s the desire to make the most money. It’s how some people score the game. When the character Little Caesar retorts, “Nothing is more important than the green,” in Barry Levinson’s movie Sleepers, he is revealing this compulsion. Anything that a service will do to increase the score, the stronger its emotional appeal.

Recognition determines who is the most revered. The more the person is called to be on stage, the more the reverence. Think of Donald Trump. These people want to be seen. “Look at me,” is their mantra. Anything that a service will do to cause them to be called on stage, the stronger its emotional appeal.

These compulsions are neither good nor bad. They just are. They can be used for good purposes and bad.

By keeping these compulsions in mind, I can make my services more appealing to decision makers. And you can consider them when you are asking management to make a decision.

The logic I already have is still important. But I’ll use it for confirmation rather than appeal.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dwayne Phillips July 31, 2009 at 10:37 am

The desire for recognition drives me most, money is next. I suppose this means something, but I don’t know what.

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