The Power of Emotional Sales

Intentionally Inspirational
5 min readNov 15, 2020


Recently, I wrote a post that looked at three different sales tactics: emotional, logical, and scarcity/urgency. The post examines the three different sales tactics and how they could apply in a sales situation.

In this post, I want to focus down on emotional sales, what they do, and how they can be beneficial or detrimental to a business.

What is emotional selling?

Emotional selling is when you use a person’s emotions to drive a sale.

As Forbes explains, emotional selling is about much more than the product.

“Emotions play a role in almost everything we do and every decision we make. And when a marketing campaign captures an emotion, making consumers feel a deeper connection to the product or service the brand is selling, the purchase is more than just a box arriving on their doorstep — it is unboxing a feeling of understanding and community.”

What are the most powerful emotions in emotional selling?

As with most things, some emotions are more powerful than others. Geoffrey James wrote in Inc. that the best emotional sales come down to a mixture of six emotions.

· Greed — “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”

· Fear — “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”

· Altruism — “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”

· Envy — “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”

· Pride — “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”

· Shame — “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”

James believes that every sale you make plays off of one or more of these emotions.

What are the positives and negatives of emotional selling?

There are good points and bad points with all sales strategies.

Customer Can Easily Justify the Purchase

On the positive side of things, there’s a lot less buyer’s remorse when it comes to emotional selling. If you have made the sale, that’s because the customer understands that he or she needs the item or service in some way. That purchase is justified by one of the six emotions above. Therefore, a customer may feel like he or she has accomplished something or made a good choice by making the purchase. That person is less likely to doubt their purchase once it is made.

Your Content Will be Shared

People who feel a strong emotion about something will want to share that emotion with other people, especially their friends and family. For instance, they may share their excitement about a new purchase with a friend. “I’m very excited because my new set of golf clubs just arrived. It has a patented driver head that’s going to get me at least 10 yards more off the tee.” The person is excited and they want to share that excitement with the people they love.

When you use emotional selling, it can be the perfect way to spread your product via word of mouth. Customers aren’t just willing to share the story on social media, they’re excited to do it.

You Can’t Make Someone Feel Something They Don’t Already Feel

In the negative column, you want to remember that emotions aren’t something that you can make someone feel. A person will only form an emotional connection to an ad campaign if they already feel that emotion deep down. You cannot force someone to feel fear about something if they don’t already fear. You can make a case for why they should feel that fear, but that doesn’t mean that he or she will be scared.

Remember, when you focus on emotional sales you may not get everyone to feel the way you want them to.

Keys to emotional selling

If you plan to go the emotional sales route, here are some things to keep in mind.

Be Sincere

One of the major keys to emotional sales is that you must always be genuine and sincere. People are smart. Even if they don’t name it, they can feel when someone is being disingenuous. They know when someone is lying to them and as a result, they do not trust them.

Trust is key when forming an emotional connection with your customer. The customer must trust you. They must believe you and believe that you have their best interest at heart.

Create a Sense of Community

Whenever possible, you want to create a sense of community. This is something that has triggered a strong emotion within a person for whatever reason, they want the ability to share that emotion with likeminded people and possibly help other people feel this emotion. That’s why a sense of community is so important.

Consider the brand Apple. They have created a brand entirely around emotion. You don’t need a new iPhone or the latest iPad, but you buy one. People line up outside of Apple stores on the day of the release to make sure they are one of the first people to get the newest and latest piece of technology. They know they can just as easily get it online or preorder it, but they line up because they want to be a part of that community.

Use Science

When you’re creating your marketing materials, don’t forget the science. Things like color schemes and proper word usage can make a customer feel the emotions you’re trying to induce more intensely. For example, the color yellow makes you feel youthful and happy, while the color purple triggers feelings of superiority. You need to choose a color scheme that enhances your marketing materials.

For a look at how the psychology of colors affects marketing, check out this HubSpot post.


When used properly, emotional selling can trigger intense loyalty from customers. When you create a sense of community and a shared goal, customers tend to stick around longer and return more often.

On the flip side, not everyone is going to react the same way to an emotional sales campaign. While some customers will have strong positive reactions, others may have equally as strong negative reactions.

There is nothing wrong with using an emotional sales tactic to hone in on your most loyal customers, but know that you may lose some of those outlying customers in the process.

Good luck.

Written by Erika Towne



Intentionally Inspirational

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