Perhaps the answer to this question can be found from Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., a research psychologist at the University of Michigan, and a vanguard in the field of Positive Psychology.
According to Fredrickson negative emotions get people to act in particular ways or what she calls “specific action tendencies.” Most of us know this as fight or flight. In essence, we have been biologically programmed by evolution to take action when we perceive danger or feel threatened. “Positive emotions don’t necessarily narrow people toward a specific action like negative emotions do,” says Fredrickson.
What does this have to do with selling? If you want to get a prospect to take action and buy your product or service you are more likely to succeed if you find a prospect that is experiencing a negative emotion. Negative emotions include things like losing money or time, loss of productivity, high employee turnover, etc.
The one thing that all of these have in common is that they all relate to loss of something. Fear of loss (negative emotion) is a more powerful short-term motivator of human behavior than is the desire (positive emotion) for gain.
Think about it. When do people go to a physician? When they feel great and want to learn how to enhance (positive) their health or when they are in “pain” (negative) and want to get rid of their “pain.” Same thing when it comes to filing income tax returns. Over one million taxpayers wait until April 14th to file their taxes. Why? Fear of having to pay a penalty if they don’t?
Learn to become a heat-seeking missile for “pain.” If you do you will increase your income, shorten your sales cycle and have more fun selling.