Why Spock Would be the Worst Salesman in the World

You know Spock from Star Trek?

He’s the (mostly) levelheaded first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

If you don’t know anything about the series, Spock is from the planet Vulcan. Vulcans are known as the preeminent logicians in the Star Trek universe.  They view emotions as a weakness, and their lives resemble a series of deliberate “chess moves.”

Each move is calculated six or seven steps in advance; each decision is mulled over to make sure it’s the most rational one.

It’s cool to watch Spock calculate the statistical probability of different possible outcomes in his mind.  The dude is a like a living, breathing computer.

I’m not sure how I would handle so much mental horsepower.  In fact, if people walked around processing that amount of information I’m sure we’d see a few heads explode.

Anyways, it’s a nice ability that balances out Captain Kirk’s more impulsive side.

But it would make Spock an atrocious salesman because:

People Decide to Buy Things Based on Emotional Reasons, and Then Justify Their Decisions Using the Rational Part of Their Brains!

People make most of their decisions for emotional reasons.  Then they go back and rationalize the decision they already made to satisfy their rational minds.

Think about it.  If you wanted to buy a new spaceship in the Star Trek universe, you know Spock would jump right in and tell you all about how much the ship weighs, its storage capacity, and the power of its onboard navigation system.

If you let him ramble on long enough, he’d practically recite the owner’s manual (do they have owner’s manuals?) verbatim.

Absent the influence of a steady stream of alcohol, you’d lose your lose patience about 20 seconds into his pitch and move on.

You don’t care about “the facts.”  At least not yet.  You want to know what that ship can do for you.  How can it make your life better in exchange for your hard-earned Federation Credits?

You need:

The Lethal Combination of an Emotional/Rational One-Two Punch!

The problem with Spock’s approach is that he completely ignores the emotional aspect of selling.  The emotional part – the one that fills young Spock with disgust – is precisely the element you need to hammer first in your pitch.

Why’s that?  Because the “emotional stuff” is where you can tell your prospects what your product or service can do for them.

Spock sees the potential transaction at face value.  He looks at his prospects and thinks they’re interested in buying a ship.

He couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ask yourself, “what is my prospect really buying?”  Someone in the market for a new ship could be looking for a wide variety of things.  Things like:

  • Reliable transportation
  • A status symbol to show off to their friends and neighbors
  • Something to keep them and their children safe from renegade asteroids
  • A way to indulge a midlife crisis and feel young again
  • A tool for business or pleasure, etc.

So you hit on those things first.  Your prospects are interested enough to read beyond your headline.  You have to translate their interest into desire before you launch into the details.  Paint a picture with your copy and show them how their lives would be different with your product or service in it.

Playing interpreter this way is a purely emotional thing.

Why Spock Gets it Half Right (Don’t Forget About the Details!)

Spock’s approach doesn’t get it totally wrong.  Sure, he misses the emotional element.  But his style of “robotic selling” has its place in your copy.

Hit your prospect with the emotional appeals first, but remember to follow up with cold, hard facts.

Once you have your prospects emotionally invested, they are already 90% of the way to buying.  You just need to put a few factual “pegs” into your copy so they can grab onto one of them.  This helps them justify an emotional decision in the logical part of their minds.

Picture your prospects flailing around in the ocean.  They want (emotionally) to swim on over to your private island.  It looks like a cool place; it’s warm and inviting.  When you add factual details to your copy, you’re offering up pieces of driftwood to help them float on over right where you want them.

Forget to do this, and you’ll only score the most impulsive of buyers, many of whom will return the product after they realize they have no way to justify it on a logical level.

Remember: they’re almost there.  They’re looking for an excuse to pull our their credit cards and close the deal.  You just have to give them one.

Emotional decision + Rational justification = Money in your pocket


P.S.  Want to know how to “translate” the features of your product or service into benefits that carry an emotional charge to your prospects?  Just enter your email address at the top right of the site to get your free Advertising Casanova Report.  It talks about how to leverage “boring” facts into more sales.