Do you target your customer’s emotional side, or their rational side?

There is a well known phrase: “You buy on emotion, then rationalise your decision with logic.”

Whilst this may sound plausible, it isn’t actually accurate. Emotion and logic generally work in tandem, influencing us to differing degrees, at different stages of our decision making process.

Here’s a good example.

Last year I turned 40 – not something I was keen to celebrate. In the run up to the inauspicious occasion, I received several invites from my doctor’s surgery to attend a “Men’s Health Check”.

I have to admit, I didn’t go. Not because I didn’t think it was important, but because I wasn’t feeling very unhealthy at the time – and nothing that was said in the literature made me feel terribly uneasy either.

True, I could do with losing a bit of weight, but I exercise a bit and I’m not too tubby, just yet. True, as well, that I could cut down on the booze, but I’m not at the stage where I need an “eye-opener” to get out of bed, and I have days when I don’t drink … occasionally.

All in all, I can’t really see that there’s anything else wrong with me physically, so why should I go?

It was a classic example of my emotion overruling the rational, logical perspective.

But, let’s say the free health check had been couched in a more emotive language. If it had said, “Do you get back aches?” Well, yes, I do, especially when I slouch over my desk. Or “Do you get headaches?” Again, I do, especially when I don’t drink enough, or drink too much of the wrong stuff. If it had said anything that appealed to the middle aged male’s sense of hypochondria, it might very well have elicited an emotional response and a more positive reaction.

But, even so, would I still have gone? Maybe, maybe not. The decision isn’t a simple one – there are plenty of stages along the way, and plenty of opportunity for me to duck out of the commitment.

Getting someone interested in the free health check takes an emotional response, but getting them to commit to booking more likely needs a rational commitment – a knowledge that this is the logical thing to be doing for a man my age.

But, then, on the day itself, what about the moment of walking through the door? Perhaps it would have been an emotional reaction taking over again – the feeling of not wanting to let myself down, or be seen to break a commitment.

What we have, here, are stages of a decision making process.

For anyone selling anything, it’s important to understand what thought processes your customers go through when they are getting ready to buy from you.

Knowing your customers, and knowing which rational will hold sway over them at which stage of their buying process, is vital if you are going to get the right message to them at the right time.

The classic process for understanding a sale is usually classed as AIDA – Awareness, Interest, Decision, Action.

These are the fundamental stages your customers work through, and the emotions that come to play along the way can be mapped, if you take some time to understand your customer and how your product is used by them.

Then you can work out what content and what messages you need to use to nurture your potential customers along this process.

As you will see in the table below, you need to be thinking about different influences to bring your customers to the decision you want them to make.

AWARENESS High Low Attention grabbing messages work best.

Emotive and short, designed to make the customer want it now.


(but decreasing)


(but increasing)

The customer is looking for reasons to justify their initial interest.

Give some details of outcomes, and appeal to their curiosity.


Can be used to back up the rational


The longer the potential customer spends here the greater their need

Customers are looking for a reason to pull out, so need solid arguments to back up their initial emotional response.

Provide a depth of information that will answer their questions.

ACTION High Varies, depending on the type of customer/decision The customer might start to fear that they have made the wrong decision, particularly at the point of handing over money.

Reinforce the emotional feelings you used to gain their attention and allay any fears so that they can make a smooth, worry-free decision.



Taking some time to think about your customers, about their individual decision making process, is a very valuable exercise when starting to build a proper lead generation system for your business.

If you understand what drives your customers, you can begin to create the right messages that they will relate to, helping them to make a worry free decision that will be of lasting benefit to them, and you.


To learn more about creating a focussed view of your customers for the purposes of lead generation see our InboundON training packages. Designed specifically to help small business grow through simple techniques and a solid foundation.