Sensory Ways to Help You Sell and Serve in Your Business

04/30/2013 05:38 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2013
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1. Adopt the Counter-intuitive Approach to Becoming Well-Liked
Legend has it that British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and his political rival William Gladstone had a date with the same woman on different nights. When asked her impression of the two men, she said, "When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England." Disraeli's talent is echoed in what Jack Nicholson's character famously said to Helen Hunt's character in the movie, As Good as it Gets: "You make me want to be a better man."

Hint: People are more drawn to you and will act admirably when they like how they feel and act when around you. That's even more vital than how they first perceive you.

2. Craft Scenes That Make Us Feel important and Cared for
Was it the butterscotch-colored walls, light coconut scent wafting through the front door of the boutique hotel as I opened it or the cushy island of azure blue carpet under my feet as I stepped into the boutique hotel? I don't know yet I instinctively sighed with relief. And that was before I saw the smiling doorman walking towards me, saying, "We're glad that you're safely out of that storm. Let me help you with your coat, if you like, and your bag." The lobby was light with the soft, full-spectrum lights that store make-up counters have, making us all look and feel our best.

In fact, without my knowing it at the time, that doorman looked more handsome and caring than I would have experienced him if the entry to that hotel had shiny metal railings, an elaborately patterned carpet and/or a dark colored wall.

Hint: Positive multi-sensory cues multiply their emotional impact when we feel three cues in quick succession.

3. The Most Neglected "Scene" Has the Biggest Impact on How We Feel About Our Experience
Since the last "scene" when I left the hotel the next morning was as a positive as the opening one, I tended to forget the cramped bathroom, according to research on the power of the sequence of events within an experience -- from a vacation to a colonscopy. Yet that last scene we have in a hotel, hospital, restaurant, store or conference is often the most neglected. No small farewell gift? No smiling staff saying "We look forward to seeing you again." These "peak end" moments have the most impact on how we recall the whole experience.

Hint: The last thing you remember is often the most memorable.

4. Get Us Motion Together to Feel Togetherness
Children "are better at math when using their hands while thinking," found to Josh Ackerman, a MIT psychologist. Further, the weight, texture and hardness of objects we touch affects our opinion of the people and the situation. Actors recall lines better when moving and we remember more when walking, gesturing, eating or physically working on something together.

Hint: Get people in convivial motion together, walking down a hall or dining at round tables.

5. Literally Warm Us Up
"People are more generous after holding a warm cup of coffee and more callous after hold a cold drink," discovered Yale University psychologist John Bargh. Offer a warm cup of something when they enter?

Hint: When they see you or your product after feeling something warm in their hands or on their body they are more likely to like you and what you offer.

6. Patterns Can Disrupt Our Attention and Conviviality
Patterns, whether on the walls or floor or upper part of one's clothing, break up the observers' attention span and, like ambient noise in a room from the heating or air conditioning system, make us more agitated and inclined to become irritated by each other's behavior.

Hint: When selling or serving, make the scene behind you uncluttered and clear.

7. Avoid Face-Offs
Encourage guests, colleagues or customers to stand and walk side-by-side with those you serve this "sidling" is more likely to evoke a convivial "us" feeling.

Hint: Get and stay connected with others by standing or sitting at a slight angle to them or facing something together that matters to you both.

What multi-sensory cues have you used to involve people in your place, event or other experience?