Buying is a Sensual Activity

Doug Robinson

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

I once heard Ken Blanchard (the One Minute Manager author) tell a story about Sheldon Bowles, a Canadian entrepreneur who decided to go against the self service gas trend back in 1970 by creating a full service franchise in western Canada called Domo Gas.

He envisioned customers enjoying an Indy 500 pit stop type experience when they stopped at his stations, complete with attendants in red jumpsuits that would run to your car when you pulled in there.

One guy would begin checking under the hood, another would pump the gas, and a third would offer you a cup of coffee and a newspaper, as he provided a quick vacuuming of your vehicle.

Bowles did extremely well and was able to really shake up the competition. His customers became raving fans and good will ambassadors for his brand. By the same token if you wow your customers and buyers so that they see themselves in the picture by doing something equally unique with your product or service, you will develop lots of customers who will act like indirect members of your sales force, due to their high level of satisfaction.

I shared that story in order to get you thinking about your five senses and their relationship to buying. As you can readily see from the percentages below, the senses are very instrumental to consumers as they make buying decisions. 

Sight                                           83%

Hearing                                        11%

Smell                                           3%

Touch                                          2%

Taste                                           1%

BOOM! More than 9 of every 10 sales take place because of what your prospect sees and hears!

Additionally, you should be aware that your prospects won’t buy as often, nor will they buy as much when they can’t remember or recall the information you provide to them. The byproduct of that is a lower level of satisfaction from your customers, as well.

With those facts in hand, if you think you will be totally successful in your sales efforts by simply sitting across from a buyer and “presenting,” look at the following buyer retention percentages. They skyrocket as the prospects involvement in the process increases. Their speaking and doing is critical to your success. The stats say that buyers remember:

              10% of what they read                   50% of what they see & hear

              20% of what they hear                   70% of what they see & say

              30% of what they see                     90% of what they say & do

From these numbers it should be evident that sales professionals should do everything possible to encourage their prospects to be actively involved in every sales conversation. Additionally, sellers should go out of their way to conduct interactive demonstrations with buyers of what they are offering, insuring maximum buyer involvement.

Finally, in order to tie these stats together to maximize sales results, let’s look at buyer recall at two different time intervals from three delivery methods. The reason this is important is that the majority of sales presentations aren’t closed on the initial appointment.

        Delivery Method             Recall after 3 Hours              Recall after 3 Days

            Presenting                            70%                                    10%

            Showing                               72%                                    20%                                       

            Presenting & Showing            85%                                    65%

So as you conduct your daily sales appointments, think back to Sheldon Bowles and his Indy 500 style gas stations. He succeeded because he was able to touch his customer’s senses. Just remember it’s not called show & tell simply for grins and giggles. The senses sell!

How about sharing a comment below about your thoughts and experiences with sensual selling?

If you found this piece to be informative and helpful, my book, Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word, is comprised of 116 short segments like this on every aspect of selling, whether you conduct business face-to-face or over the phone, business-to-business or person-to-person. Check it out HERE