How Emotion-Based Selling Can Boost Your MSP Sales

Posted by Eric Sokolowski  /  May 10, 2019  /  MSP   —   No Comments ↓

Man with many emotionsThe machine-based world of technology can appear void of human touch to many outside of it. Which can make selling technology services to living, breathing humans even more of a challenge.

One method for adding a dash of humanity is incorporating emotion-based selling techniques – a powerful (and proven) weapon used by salespeople around the world.

Hit ‘em in the feels

It’s not uncommon for MSPs to weigh down an MSP sales pitch with promises of the best product/service quality or pricing to appeal to their clients. Many sales pros would shake their heads. Why? Because they know the real route to Yes! is through a potential client’s motivating feelings and emotions.

In Emotions Are the Key to Sales Success, Larry Pinci and Phil Glosserman, outline three feelings closely linked to business transactions:


People feel they can depend on you—that you mean what you say and you’ll do what you say.


They feel you have the goods, the know-how, the competence, and expertise to meet their needs.

A feeling of being taken care of

They feel you have their interests at heart, and that you’ll take care of them throughout the transaction, and beyond, if necessary.

If you’re new to the idea of emotion-based selling, you’re probably asking yourself where to start and how it's relevant to MSP sales specifically. Fortunately, Pinci and Glosserman devised a question format you could begin using today.

Unlocking your buyer’s emotional needs

When we talk about emotion-based selling, we’re talking about identifying your lead’s emotional needs. Uncovering that need (or combination of needs) opens a world of high-impact pitching potential. Simply ask your leads:

What’s important to you in (or about) an MSP?

Pinci and Glosserman add, “Since you’re looking to evoke positive feelings…tag on some language about the product or service that will trigger a more emotional response.” As discussed in their article, What’s important to you in (or about) an MSP expands to:

  • What’s important to you in (or about) an MSP that you would absolutely love?
  • What’s important to you in (or about) an MSP that would be ideal for your company’s needs?
  • What’s important to you in (or about) an MSP who would be your first choice to work with?

Be mindful of when you inject these questions into conversation. Pinci and Glosserman warn that such probing inquiries must be asked before you begin any detailed product or service explanations. When you do describe the offer, echo the emotional needs your lead communicated using the same words they used in their answers.

Psychology as a sales tool

Deeper exploration into your leads’ emotional motivators unlocks even greater potential for MSP sales success. In a post for Inc., Geoffrey James illustrates how buyer decisions link to a mix of six additional emotions:

  • Greed - If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.
  • Fear - If I don't make a decision now, I'm toast.
  • Altruism - If I make a decision now, I will help others.
  • Envy - If I don't make a decision now, my competition will win.
  • Pride - If I make a decision now, I will look smart.
  • Shame - If I don't make a decision now, I will look stupid.

Obviously, you’d never hear a lead say, “My greed is motivating me to buy.” Their individual motivators to shop for solutions are likely buried in their explanations and inquiries. Active listening is critical to discover which emotions fuel their interest in your organization and services.

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Once identified, you can craft your pitches so they resonate at an emotional level. HubSpot recently expanded upon James’ article with suggestions for appealing to the emotional motivators you uncover.

If it’s greed

  • Emphasize the personal benefit
  • Point out the hard ROI
  • Tell stories of customers who earned professional consideration
  • Use words like: reward, valuable, exclusive, all yours, distinguished, profitable, gain

If it’s fear

  • Help them realize the cost of inaction
  • Tell stories of prospects gone astray
  • Emphasize the personal consequences
  • Play up what they stand to lose
  • Use words like: consequence, lose, worsen, degrade, suffer, cost, harm

If it’s altruism

  • Emphasize the benefits for employees, customers, partners, etc.
  • Talk about what the offering will enable
  • Talk in terms of teams
  • Use words like: benefits, widespread, give, help, make better, improve

If it’s envy

  • Name drop the competition
  • Frame benefits in terms of competitors
  • Share industry reports
  • Use words like: competition, best in class, lagging, leading, edge out

If it’s pride

  • Frame outcomes in terms of self-image
  • Display the awards your clients have won
  • Offer to feature the company
  • Use words like: image, respect, powerful, reputation, prominence, influence, prestige

If it’s shame

  • Allude to past mistakes
  • Drop hints about a sad future
  • Talk about how they might let others down
  • Use words like: mistake, avoid, inertia, disappoint, remorse, fail

Consider, too, other elements in your marketing content that could be revised to be more appealing to buyer emotions. Review your current sales strategies and look for opportunities to inject ways to hit at an emotional level in: buyer personas, sales collateral, web copy, even in the way you explain your service offerings in person.

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Much of the IT world anchors its sales strategies on obvious angles - like service quality and pricing. By appealing to your buyers’ emotional motivators, you stand to gain more wins. You’ll also develop a powerful differentiator between you and the competition. Not only does it humanize your sales process, it gives you a greater glimpse into what your future clients really need.

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Topics: MSP