Ask any business owner, contractor, or entrepreneur you know, and they’ll 100% agree that it’s facts, figures, and logic that matters when running a company. They’re absolutely right. Analytical thinking is a predominant driver in business, but what they might not realize is that magical thinking is a powerful tool for business growth, too. Wait, what?
Allow me to retort. Businesses want consumers to believe that their products or services will make them happier. That means soothing a pain point or caressing a pleasure point. This is what magical thinking is all about. It’s a form of psychological persuasion aimed at transforming externally motivated, grudge-driven buyers into happy customers. Intrigued?
Let’s take a closer look into magical thinking and how you can implement the mental game for your business.
Win the Heart, the Mind will Follow
Magical thinking is the belief that our thoughts, words, and actions can influence the world around us in ways that are seemingly unrelated or illogical. This type of thinking has been linked to success in various areas of life, including business. Come to think of it, people see something they want and they buy it, believing that it will improve their lives one way or another. In Roy H. Williams’ Monday morning memo, he said: “The mind will always create logic to justify what the heart has already decided.”
That’s a universal truth of business. Everyone who steps foot into a store already harbors internally motivated perceptual reality. In a customer’s mind, they may be looking for products that make them look pretty, or fidgeting through the latest and greatest tech, or embodying that beach body just in time for summer. Like waving the red cape on a raging bull, there’s no stopping a customer once their heart latches onto the desired outcome. The aim of magical thinking is to relate to your client’s perceptual reality. By infiltrating their thoughts, illustrating how your products or services will have their felt needs MET (money, energy, and time), and satisfying their pain and pleasure points, you will have better odds of selling your solution.
Documentation of Brain Lateralization
The concept of magical thinking follows closely the theory of brain lateralization, introduced by Dr. Roger Sperry. According to the Nobel Prize winner, the brain isn’t simply divided into two hemispheres but is composed of two competing and practically independent minds. Below we’ll explain how brain lateralization works and describe how they relate to marketing and business.
The Left Brain
The left hemisphere, otherwise known as the digital brain, houses the human ability to be verbal, analytical, factual, and orderly. Based on Sperry’s research, the left brain helps people with:
- Logic or deductive reasoning
- Linear or systematic thinking
The left hemisphere understands fact from fiction. What’s real and what’s fake. It’s the part of the brain that links people to the real world and leans towards suspicion and doubt. In business, the left brain is the part that rationalizes every purchase decision that customers make. This is more evident during grudge purchases like in residential home services. Your customers don’t find pleasure in hiring you. They simply want a contractor that will help have their felt needs MET (money, energy, and time). We’ll use that familiar industry for our examples moving forward.
The Right Brain
The right hemisphere, also known as the analog brain, is the part believed to be more visual and intuitive than the left hemisphere. Unlike, its counterpart, the right brain is less orderly but more creative. Sperry suggests it helps people with:
- Holistic thinking
Revisiting Roy H. Williams’ quote earlier, you may imagine the right hemisphere functioning as the heart. It harbors every desire, dream, and yearning of a person. Unlike the left brain, the right hemisphere connects you to a desirable world where a customer’s perceptual reality comes to life.
Here’s the rub. Despite any customer attempt to rationalize their purchase decision, a business owner who masters the craft of magical thinking can guide prospects into a desirable mindset – from an externally triggered cause to an internally motivated purchase decision. You’ll learn how below.
How to Use Magical Thinking
Magical thinking is a useful skill to learn for all types of businesses, but most especially, those that belong to the types of industries like residential home services. As opposed to conventional businesses like health and beauty where people WANT what they sell, you’re selling an externally triggered grudge purchase.
In other words, people don’t want to avail your products or services, they have to. Unlike new bling, it’s hard to imagine a customer flaunting her new unclogged toilet. These ‘unsexy necessities’ are the reason why selling home services is more challenging. People would rather spend on things that align with their innate impulses. They want things they can show off.
Even if internally motivated and externally triggered purchases have their differences, they share one thing in common: desirable outcomes. Customers may not obtain instant gratification from a grudge purchase, but underneath their annoyed exterior, they’re still after an advantageous perceptual reality. Whether that’s the kiss of cold air of a new HVAC system or the shimmer of a well-illuminated room.
This is where magical thinking shines through. Another word for magical thinking is cognitive distortion because you want to distort customers’ cognitive motivations away from the angle of necessity (why they need the solution) into the angle of advantage (how the solution will make them feel). In magical thinking, it’s not enough to give your prospects a detailed list of your product features and benefits.
Your task is to identify the features that make them FEEL, walk them through the benefits they will reap, and link their feelings to their desired perceptual reality. Once they feel the advantages of having your product or service, they’ll be more inclined to choose your solution. Why? Because people’s decision-making is anchored in the part of their brain that HOPES and EXCLUSIVELY FEELS (right brain). You can incite that emotion through magical thinking.
You Need A Frustration-Free Solution
In any case, there are perks to selling home services that other industries don’t offer. For example, if a prospect experiences a breakdown, they don’t have to be convinced to take action. Anyone in need is already highly motivated to purchase from people who can help them — that’s you. All you have to do is persuade them to choose YOU. What makes your solutions better than your competitors?
Even with all the social psychology magical thinking you employ, unless your products or services don’t ease their pain points or satisfy their pleasure points, don’t expect a sale. You can’t sell something that doesn’t solve their felt needs. At the core of your competitive advantage is an irresistible value proposition. This is not merely a feature or a benefit that makes your products attractive to consumers. Your value proposition embodies that value you promise to deliver, the pain and pleasure points you aim to please, and the positive impact your solution has on their money, energy, and time if they decide to buy your solutions. What is your value proposition, then?
In a grudge-purchase-battlefield like the residential home service industry, most customers seek affordability. All things being equal, customers will gravitate toward companies that charge cheaply. A lower price for your home services is a low bar to entry in a saturated market and you’ll be forced to compete in the market share with countless others like you. In that case, a lower price as your value proposition isn’t ideal, whereas, if you bump up the price tag in exchange for a tremendously huge value, you will influence the demand in a much more powerful way than by selling cheap. I call this your perfectly fair competitive advantage.
A lifetime non-prorated service warranty? Waiving the diagnostic fee if they decide to hire your services? Free unlimited drain cleaning if they sign up for your club membership? A 10-year no-risk lemon replacement guarantee if the same thing breaks 3 times?
Whatever it is, your value proposition should set you apart from the competition. You need to make them think that they’re getting more value from the sale than what you are willing to offer. When you create a unique offer that your competitors refuse to do, you establish a perfectly fair competitive advantage. Craft a unique value proposition combined with genuine self-imposed punishment should you fail to deliver on your promises, woven in a magical thinking offer — you become the front runner among your competitors for a sale.
Want to employ the Power of Magical Thinking?
Magical thinking is a fancy word to describe sales psychology, which is a skill every entrepreneur must be comfortable employing. But even the best negotiators pale in comparison to businesses that are willing to offer immense value at reasonable prices. To be the leader in your community, create a tremendously irresistible value that’s easy to say “yes” to. Drizzle psychological persuasion over, and the market is yours for the taking.
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