Recently we talked about using behavioral economics to improve the way we present benefits to employees in the enrollment process. Now, let's dig into another side of behavioral science: the study of emotional responses in marketing and sales messaging.

To start thinking about how emotions play an important role in purchasing decisions, think of buying a car. The salesperson might bore you with information about horsepower and safety features, but the part of car buying that's most effective is when you're handed the keys for a test drive.

Your analytical centers shut down a bit, and you decide whether you like the fit and feel of the car as you drive. By the time you circle back to the dealer, you've formed an opinion of the car. And if you're anything like me, you compare your impression—not the horsepower or the air bags—with others you've tested. If you really like a car, you probably will pay more to own it.

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