You know those little moron shoes with the holes in them? Those plastic clog looking things that look like the most repulsive foot trend known to man?
I’ve always been shocked those shoes gained any footing in the marketplace. *Insert shit-eating grin*
But, really. If you’re spending good money to put this neon green bucket on your foot, for example, they must be doing something right. (Though I have a very hard time believing this trend would have ever caught on in Europe. Can you imagine French chicks walking around in these things? It would ruin everyone's sexual fantasy.)
These shoes serve as testament that you can really sell anything—because it’s far less about the product itself than how someone feels about it. Crocs didn’t sell because they were the best product (ask any podiatrist); they sold because they were the best at helping the practical people of the world embrace their practicality, and feel good about being practical—maybe for the first time ever, in a world dominated by high heels, kitten heels, wedge heels, chunky heels, sling backs, open toes, platforms and stripper shoes. It helped them feel like it wasn’t just okay to wear functional footwear, but it was—dare I say—cool to do so.
Notice I just said the word “feelings” about a hundred times in that last paragraph.
Feelings, on its face, is such a sissy word, isn’t it? You hear phrases like “get in touch with your feelings” and you either want to hurl a house or vomit all over your lap.
So I can only imagine that every time you hear me say that it’s not what you’re selling, it’s how people feel about what you’re selling, the same rule applies. (Please don’t throw an actual house on me. You can vomit into your lap all you'd like.)
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less true. Because people are screwy creatures. And betting on a population of smokers, drinkers and people that order Big Macs with Diet Cokes to actually be logical and buy your stuff because logically it seems like a good deal, well, you’d better pack up shop while you’re ahead.
The truth is, nothing is logical. Not about life and not about the humans that perpetuate it. So if humans are largely illogical, then it follows that their purchasing decisions are largely illogical, too. …Precisely why making a perfectly logical case for buying your stuff doesn’t always work—and you pound your head against the table over and over. You think to yourself:
“But mine is the best!”
“But mine is the cheapest!”
“But mine is the fastest!”
“But mine is the newest!”
“But mine is the nicest!”
…or even just “But mine is as good as everybody else’s.”
But, nobody cares.
You can make every logical argument in the book and still not get a logical outcome.
Most people hate that because it means they’re then tasked with figuring out the alternative—and that’s scary, because if logic doesn’t compel, then what does?
The answer is always feelings. Also known as that pesky little thing called emotions. And the way you control how someone feels about what you're selling—especially in a world dominated by an online shopping experience—is with your words.
What you say about it. How you position its use. How you describe something. The picture you splash into their brain. The word choice you employ. The associations you deliberately (or indeliberately) evoke. The curiosity, the anticipation, the desire you create. Whether someone views what you’re selling as a part of their identity…or not. All of these factors play a crucial role—if not THE most crucial—in whether someone decides to buy something…or not. And make no mistake—what you say about something isn’t just a description; it IS the product. Because your words co-create a reality for the buyer. The question becomes: Is it the right reality?
You should have complete command over the experience you’re engineering for them; you must have control over the way they feel from the minute they arrive on your website, to the moment they’re pushing the “buy” button. While there’s a lot about entrepreneurship you don’t have control over, this is one of the things you should. And you must.
Scientists now know that people always feel first, and think second, and in fact, the emotional side of our brain processes information in one-fifth the time that our cognitive, rational brain does.
And that means your words need to hit them there in one-fifth of the time, too.