What wins in a battle between your customer’s heart and mind?

Quick… Which is longer, the vertical length of the table on the left or the horizontal length of the one on the right? Well, the table on the left of course, don’t you agree?

Wrong! They are the exact same length. You can print the drawing and measure it, but I assure you they’re the same length.

Notice that something interesting happens even when you can prove they are identical. You still don’t really believe it. You want to believe that the left table is longer, don’t you?

This silly illustration demonstrates something interesting about human decision making. Your logical mind knows they are the same length, but you still WANT to believe that the left table is longer. It just seems right. It’s an example of the emotion attached to beliefs being so strong that they override the reasoning side of our minds. If I told you that you HAD to choose one of the tables in order to place gold bars end to end, and the more you fit, the more you could keep… Quick, which table would you just feel better selecting? I’d go with the one on the left!

For someone in sales or marketing, this idea has huge implications. People choose things based upon what FEELS right to them. We go with decisions that confirm our personal beliefs, and those beliefs are founded upon what feels right. So why are so many products and services being sold based upon details, facts and features?

At Evergreen Trading, we wrestle with this constantly. We happen to provide a service that is steeped in details. After all, it’s a financial service, not cosmetics, shoes or fast food. We work initially with financial people who tend to be analytical. And to determine if a corporate trade transaction makes sense, numbers must be crunched, excess inventories must be counted, corporate real estate must be analyzed, returns on investment must be calculated. Not a lot of emotion going on is there?

Or is there? Even in something as seemingly analytical as corporate trade, there can be a strong appeal to emotion. No different from a corporate real estate broker, commercial bank or a freight forwarder. For Evergreen Trading, we have used an image on our home page of a man standing, arms outstretched, blissfully on top of a beautiful mountain range. The tie in to corporate trade is that by doing business with Evergreen Trading, you will feel on top of the world!

Just like the table example, associating Evergreen Trading with feelings of power and bliss, we are riding on a belief. A feeling. It’s subtle, but the power of marketing messages are often found in these tiny details.

Now, this is not to say that we eschew financial accounting details or logistic distribution elements in crafting our transaction. It means that our presentations contains imagery and design elements that get the viewer imagining the huge gain of corporate trade. Our videos have elements of humor and entertainment, and our identity materials contain rich appealing imagery. In fact, we often like to remind people that bringing in corporate trade can make them a hero within their organization. It’s both true and steeped in emotional imagery.

Are you doing these things in your marketing and presentations or are you taking your audience through pure text, math and boring details? For an example of a company that could easily have a boring, emotion-less web site, check out Goldman Sachs. They get it. LOTS of emotional imagery. And they’ve been good at it for a long time.

So, remember the two tables when you create your next sales presentation or collateral material. You can educate people till you’re blue in the face that you are the biggest, best capitalized and have been around the longest – in other words, that the tables are the same length. Instead, give them something compelling they can believe in – something they just feel is right. Be the choice like the table on the left if it just feels longer to them. Let your competition try to convince them they are equal!

About Mike Lake

Mike is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Evergreen Trading. When not playing jazz trombone he is probably obsessing about writing content that will capture the attention and interest of business people and fellow learning junkies everywhere.

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