If there’s one thing manufacturers love, it’s improving on previous designs, advancing new ideas and creating something the world needs. So, of course, when a technical breakthrough happens, they want to make sure the world knows about it. They put it on their website: “Our pressure washer, but now with greater pressure control and water efficiency.”

The details go into charts. The charts go into spec sheets. The spec sheets go into four-page brochures and those brochures serve as the basis for a web page on their site.

Then, when a customer is asking about the new pressure washer and the sales person says, “All of the details of the new model can be found online,” they hear something like, “I never really read your site, it just felt too dense.”

As much as we want to deny it some days, we are all human. Humans are, first and foremost emotional creatures. Logic follows in a distant second place. If we aren’t connecting with our customers on an emotional level, we simply aren’t connecting with our customers.

Feelings versus facts.

Researchers have been looking at the connection between emotion and consumer behavior for decades and have clearly documented the connection. fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when we are considering a brand (read, your business), people primarily use their feelings and experiences rather than information (brand attributes, features, facts, etc). We know that every shareable ad on social media has one thing in common: It triggers an emotion in the viewer. In fact, the emotional response has a 3-to-1 (for television; 2-to-1 for print) influence on the viewer’s intent to buy over the content of the ad itself.

The thing is, we often think we are selling on emotion. For example, we might say we have the best customer service out there and think “See? We care about you. The emotion you should feel is one of security and being important.” That smacks of rationalization and not true insight. It’s our simplistic desired response versus what they really feel.

Tapping into emotion.

Instead, first define the four basic human emotions we all respond to, then consider how your product or service or idea will inspire one of those emotions. And I mean every product, service or idea. I don’t care how esoteric or cerebral you think what you do is, it needs to inspire an emotion at some point if someone is going to give you money for it. Because there are few things more emotional than giving away money.

The four basic emotions everyone feels are: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. That’s it. Every single thing you do or make, every single thing your company stands for, every offering you put in front of me, is going to trigger one of those four emotions within me. You don’t get to change that. What you can do, however, is try and guide that emotional response.

You have a power washer that provides better control over the intensity and also saves water? That’s nice. You’re going to help me not shred my vinyl siding, save on my water bill and make sure my kids have some water for themselves in fifty years? And laughing kids are the first thing you showed me on your website?

Now I’m listening. And that’s the key to a great and profitable relationship for both of us.