As buyers we are exposed to more and more messages that fight for our time. As marketers, it’s often tempting to emphasise the unique features and logical prowess of an offering. But, the mind doesn’t work like that. There’s more to engaging the buyer and, while there’s a place for such logic, it’s emotional messages that make the strongest start and end to the sales process.

As Accredited Consultant, Ben Wheeler has both managed and written copy for a number of sales campaigns using the Logic Sandwich™ approach from Watertight Marketing, Ive asked him to explain this in more depth. ~ Bryony Thomas


Understanding the real buying triggers for what you sell will give you powerful messages that top and tail your sales process.

Despite the ‘I want it now’ feeling that creates the impulse buy, the reality is that most of the time, the buying decision is a longer journey. But, how do you engage your buyer to take that journey with you – without losing them along the way? The answer lies in the content and power of your marketing messages.

To take the example of the journey a little further, you have to make a start. Let’s say that the buyer has a need and the seller has a product or service that could be the potential match for that need. How do you bring them together? What you don’t do is overstate the facts – and here’s why:

It’s much more than the point of pain

We’ve all heard of marketers wanting to ‘find the point of pain’ or ‘selling the benefits or features’. If you take this approach to your marketing you’ll probably end up with a list of all the very valid reasons why the buyer should buy – but in all likelihood they won’t actually do so. That’s because buyers are people – and people are primarily driven by their emotions – at least at first.

If your messages are too factual or logical, your buyer won’t start the journey, as you won’t have struck an emotional chord. They are too busy to interpret all your information and why should they? You haven’t touched the raw nerve that matters to them. There is a time for logic – but we need to start by making our messages relate to them as human beings – and there’s much more driving our needs than a list of the benefits. Hey, we all know the logic and benefits of drinking less and doing more exercise… does that mean we all do it?!

Messages to start the sales process

If emotion is the key to starting the engagement with your buyer, how do you use it to your advantage? The answer again is to think about your buyer as a person. Most of the time, we don’t buy a product or service because we want it – we buy because of how it will make us feel (even if we don’t realise it). And most people want to feel better – better about how they look, about how they do their job, or to move away from the level of stress they are under or the risk (or fear) of failure.

Therefore, although it might be tempting to paint a rosy picture of life with your product or service – first you want to get them to do something and start that journey – and this starts with tapping into these deeper desires to get away from how they might be feeling now. That’s why negative emotions are best for initiating action.

For example:

Let’s say there is a service that aims to save busy people time and make them more productive. Both are valuable benefits but would they be attractive enough on their own? They sound interesting, but how do they relate to the buyer? If we think about the deeper and often negative issues that might be going on in the lives of potential buyers, you start to see potential emotional triggers.

They could have:

  • Missed an important deadline or hit the deadline but missed something important at home in the process – like a child’s birthday party. Real trigger: Unhappy child, unhappy partner = real need for more time.
  • Got to the point where they see their doctor for stress, or where they think they probably should. Real trigger: Their health is at risk = real need for more time.
  • Got to the end of another 70 hour week, but feel that there still aren’t enough hours in the day. Real trigger: Not getting enough done in the time = real need for time and productivity help.

Can you think of the negative triggers that might prompt someone to need what you offer?

Messages in the middle (The Logic Sandwich)

Although this article is about the top and tail of the sales process – the bit in the middle has an important part to play. We’ve touched on the danger of being too logical too soon and why it’s so often an emotional trigger that sets the customer off on that buying journey. But, there is a time to be logical.

You need to satisfy the different types of need in a particular order: start with emotion, move on to logic (where the facts and figures will be used to substantiate the emotional triggers at the start), and then return to emotion. It’s what we call The Logic Sandwich and Bryony covers it in more depth in her article Are you serving a Logic Sandwich?

Messages to end the sales process

After the negative triggers that started the messaging and the logical facts that give reassurance, it’s time to go back to emotional messaging – but this time in a positive way.

If everything has checked out in their mind as they consider the logic, they will be feeling a sense of relief that they have found what they are looking for. That’s why you need to find a way of ending the journey on a high – with the buyer picturing themselves as better off being your customer. This is what people want to feel, it’s the emotional state they’ll want to move towards and it’ll keep them moving in the right direction towards the sale.

For example, going back to that time saving service, they might feel like this:

  • Relief! Having someone to take some of the stuff off their list. Real trigger: Can now spend more time with family = feel the personal benefits of the service.
  • Excitement that they might actually get a bit of time for themselves. Real trigger: They could plan a daily walk, go to the gym = benefits in terms of being able to focus on important things that indirectly will make them better at their work.
  • Renewed energy for the job they now remember why they worked so hard to get in the first place. Real trigger: Enabling themselves to re-discover their drive and the space to think clearly to take it forward = the service is the key to achieving this.

Can you think of the positive emotions they might feel once they’ve bought what you offer?

Finally, there is one huge reason why emotional messaging is so important. Human instinct – or ‘gut feel’. If a buyer has done their research and several options look about the same on paper, they are more likely to go with the solution that ‘feels right’. Remember, we are people first, it’s what we do.

Once you have thought about the negative and then positive emotions your buyer might feel, keep the strongest from each in mind when writing your messaging.

© Watertight Marketing Ltd

Ben Wheeler

Ben Wheeler

Watertight Marketing Certified Practitioner

Ben is a freelance marketing consultant, based in Bristol. If you want to reach new customers and need help with your marketing content and communications, you’ll enjoy Ben’s ideas and enthusiasm.

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