We were always known as a pretty dull, phlegmatic bunch, compared to the excitable French, the fiery Spanish and the sexy Italians.
Well, something strange seems to be happening in business.
Across the road from our offices a building firm says it's passionate about whatever it does. Pret-a-Manger is passionate about food. The North East is full of passionate people — and passionate country, too, so their posters claim. And Churchill are passionate about insurance.
Do these people have no sex lives, I sometimes wonder. (Though it certainly proves that many agencies are pretty passionate about copying each other.)
More to the point, all this passion reminds me of a big mistake many who sell to businesses make. That is to assume that business decisions are made on rational grounds and emotion doesn't come into it.
This is nonsense — and to prove it I often ask audiences whether they can think of anyone they work with that they hate. It never fails to raise a laugh of recognition.
Don't you agree that the way we love to label things often does more to confuse than help?
We talk of above the line and below, of b2c and b2b, consumers and business people. Is that how our customers see themselves? Do they have lines running through their brains?
They are all human beings. And we know perfectly well what things motivate people when we sell make-up, a car or even a hair-remover. People want to be looked at, admired — and definitely not shunned.
In business they want what? To be looked up to, admired -— and definitely not shunned. They want to be successful, quoted as examples for other people to emulate and not seen as losers — in life or business.
Pretty similar, right?
So we repeatedly find when selling to business that if something isn't doing well, a dash of passion makes all the difference.
The truth is that you don't grow a second head on your way to the office; and you may spend more waking hours there than anywhere else. It's not necessarily less interesting or emotional a life than the one you spend at home. It is often more so.
People lie, cheat and finagle their way to whatever business goal they may have. And they kill for money — which is what most business revolves around.
Man is not a rational animal at work any more than anywhere else. He (or she) makes decisions on emotional grounds then tries to find logical arguments to explain them away.
So — if you want better results when selling to business, look in your heart — then use your head to find a way of explaining why the emotional argument makes sense.
Drayton Bird is a renowned direct marketing teacher, speaker and author. Find out more about him on his profile.