[Editor’s note: This is the sixth article in an eight-part series on selling to Baby Boomers.]

Baby Boomers have always craved emotional stimulation. The movie industry made fortunes elevating our emotions with chainsaws, horse heads, and hockey masks. Amusement parks prospered by maximizing the number of G-forces our bodies could endure. Bungee jumping, mountain biking, and shark feeding are activities born to meet Boomers ever-present need for positive emotional stimulation. Unfortunately, when Boomers start to replace their homes’ comfort systems, just the opposite of positive happens.

Most Boomers believe our heating and cooling equipment should last just about forever. The first time we seriously consider replacing this out-of-sight, out-of-mind, hard-to-understand conglomeration of sheet metal, pipes, and wires is when faced with an expensive repair. Not a great time to make a multithousand dollar decision that will affect our lifestyle and energy bills for the next 20 years. Our home is hot, our day is planned, our income is allocated, and you want two hours of our hard-to-find time to sell us something we’ve never considered buying. If you can’t help swing our attitude from negative to positive, we’ll probably buy the lowest-cost minimum solution, if we buy anything from you at all.


Our enthusiasm will never be higher than yours.

One of the biggest reasons Boomers don’t buy more top-tier customized comfort isn’t lack of money, it’s lack of interest and excitement. The comfort consultants’ enthusiasm has a direct and immediate influence on our level of excitement and desire to own what they’re selling. The more we have to listen to a monotone voice drone out uninteresting features, facts, and figures, the less we listen and the less likely we are to buy. On the other hand, consultants who are excited about solving our problems, make the information we want interesting, and make it easy to understand all the benefits they’re offering will elevate our emotions every time they open their mouths.


Boomers get emotional about benefits, not the equipment that provides them.

Emotions, not logic, drive Boomer HVAC replacement buying decisions. Our level of emotional involvement determines what we buy, who we buy it from, and how much of our hard-earned money we’ll spend. Emotional benefits come from logical benefits and logical benefits come from product features. For instance:

Product feature:Variable-speed fan

Logical benefit:Is whisper quiet

Emotional benefit:Which eliminates the frustration of raising the volume on your television every time the indoor fan starts.

Logical benefits include better air filtration, improved moisture control, longer warranty, and lower energy cost. Logical benefits can be instantly transformed into emotional benefits when the right emotional words are added.


“If you wish to persuade me, you must speak my words, think my thoughts, feel my feelings.”
- Cicero, Roman statesman

Certain words can immediately produce positive feeling, which create desire, which drives action. Examples of language a salesperson could use to elicit emotion in customers and propel them to act include:

• There’s a special peace of mind knowing the air purification system is safeguarding the health of your entire family.

• Precise moisture control can protect the furniture your grandmother brought from the old country.

• With the equipment’s proven reliability, there’s no need to be apprehensive about breakdowns when you need it most.

• The attractive design and professional appearance of our installation can make you proud whenever friends gather in your backyard.

• The extended warranty eliminates the fear of paying for unplanned repairs for the next 10 years.

• We’ve never had a customer regret buying the highest SEER rating they could afford.

Emotional words are like electrical switches on the circuit leading to the sale. Every time a switch closes, you instantly move closer to success.


The depth of our emotional involvement is limited by our level of understanding. The older we get, the more data we have etched on our emotional hard drives. Every time we’re faced with making a decision, we instantly search our mental storage system for information to help us make the right one. Nothing aids in the process better than metaphors. Well-chosen metaphors, such as the following, can make new information familiar and complex details understandable:

• One Btu is the amount of heat in a kitchen match; 80,000 Btu is a lot of heat.

• A two-stage furnace is like a car with a passing gear.

• Your new comfort system will give you the same feeling as a warm sweater on a cool night.

• A poor installation is like driving a car with tires that are almost flat. This is a great way to plug the holes in your checkbook.


Unlike features, facts, and figures, stories connect emotionally.

Throughout history, stories have been one of the most powerful ways to build rapport, create understanding, and get people emotionally involved. Good stories allow you to:

• Eliminate resistance by allowing buyers to draw their own conclusions;

• Reveal past accomplishments without bragging;

• Provide facts in an interesting manner;

• Help Boomers remember key points and critical information; and

• Warn of serious problems that wait if we take the wrong course of action.

Boomers love stories about peoples’ experiences. We want to see ourselves in your stories and benefit from the past mistakes and positive actions of others.


Most Boomers don’t have enough money to buy the best of everything or everything we want. Every buying decision comes down to a choice. The choice we make is determined by three things: how well you’ll solve our problems, how good you make us feel, and how many emotional benefits you provide.

When you do the best job of elevating our emotions, we’ll spend less in other areas so we can afford to buy from you.

Sidebar: Creating the Fantasy

To elevate emotions, help Boomers:

• Dream

• Fantasize

• Escape

• Envision the future

• Visualize happiness

• Feel new ideas

• Do something they couldn’t do before

• Be proud

• Gain prestige

• Enhance protection

• Reduce frustration

Publication Date:10/06/2008