It's hard to get people's attention these days, isn't it? Whether you run a staffing agency and want in front of new clients, or you're a recruiter trying to get access to the top of the talent pool, or perhaps are an HR pro trying to sell your company, culture or a job opening, it's tough. The good news is it has never been easier to reach large numbers of people with your messages…the bad news is it has never been more difficult to actually connect with them. And connecting with them is exactly what you need to do to progress down the path of moving, persuading, convincing – and eventually - selling.

For the past year-and-a-half I have been working on a training, speaking and consulting platform of my own authorship called 3 Second Selling™. It teaches people how to quickly create those emotional connections so you can cut through today’s buying clutter, earn someone's time and attention, and lay a sales-forward foundation, whatever it is you are selling.

I am also writing a book. And when I shared some of my takes and insights and research with Gregg Dourgarian over a lovely lunch yesterday, he suggested I share some of this information - and my platform -  with you via Staffing Talk. He thinks the material has implications for staffing, recruiting and HR pros. So I will be doing that on occasion, beginning with this primer post.

Listen to yourself, or your colleagues, as you try to sell a new customer on using your services or a candidate on a new job. It is likely you will hear lots of reasons. Here's the thing though. You cannot reason your way to a sale!

You cannot reason your way to a sale!

You see reasons lead to conclusions, while emotions lead to actions. And every single decision we make, including every buying decision certainly, is rooted in – and driven by – emotion.

This reasons>conclusions/emotions>actions categorization isn’t my take, and it isn’t new. It comes from the Taxonomy of Learning Domains formulated by a group of researchers led by Benjamin Bloom in 1956.

You see reasons lead to conclusions, while emotions lead to actions. And every single decision we make, including every buying decision certainly, is rooted in – and driven by – emotion.

However, it is new, and original, and my take, to apply these learning domains, particularly the affective domain, involving our feelings, emotions, attitudes and decisions, to a selling context.

We learn mental skills, acquire new physical skills and develop our attitudes as we perform the activities of our daily living. These domains of learning can be categorized as cognitive domain (knowledge), psychomotor domain (skills) and affective domain (attitudes).

The affective domain is categorized into five subdomains, which include:

  • Receiving Phenomena: the awareness of feelings and emotions as well as the ability to utilize selected attention.
  • Responding to Phenomena: active participation of the learner.
  • Valuing: the ability to see the worth of something and express it.
  • Organization: ability to prioritize one value over another and create a unique value system.
  • Characterization: the ability to internalize values and let them control our behavior and actions, including buying decisions.

Let's drill down now and look at how you might use this.

A couple of years ago a friend of mine, who was a senior partner at one of the former "Big Four" accounting firms, was having a very difficult time attracting candidates for a CPA consulting position that required copious amounts of worldwide travel. The job description said something along the lines of "Wanted: Certified CPA for global consulting practice. Constant travel." It doesn't pique your curiosity, arouse your brain, create an emotional connection, and it was not compelling the right people to apply.

I didn't have much experience with writing job descriptions, but I know how to tell a story, and when he called looking for help, I did some wordsmithing. "Wanted: World traveler who loves adventure. And numbers. Experience different cultures and customs and get paid well for it. CPA certification required." That nuanced change not only exponentially increased the number of candidates who applied, but more importantly, positively impacted the quality of candidates.

I recently went to a national recruiting site and typed in "java developer." Obviously those candidates have lots of choices, and they likely won't be choosing the company who posted this.

Description: We are looking for a Java developer to help with websites.

• 3-5 years of Web development experience

• Java 1.5, Tomcat, Spring

• Javascript, HTML, CSS

• Oracle 10g

• Linux

Now, one more. I set aside this job description from a year ago because I thought it aptly demonstrated what I am talking about. Check it out.

Director of Public Relations for Vonage

Mother’s Day is only a couple of weeks away. Wouldn’t it be nice to call home on one of the busiest phone holidays on the planet with news of a fresh job prospect?

Not only can Vonage help you with that call, but also it might help you with the job. The telecommunications provider is hiring a director of public relations to assist in any day-to-day media management and lend a hand with internal communications.

Although you’ll certainly be up against a number of other qualified candidates, don’t worry about getting a busy signal when you apply—which you can do online here.

It does a nice job of cutting through the clutter, right? Very few actual facts and bullet points about the job (a candidate can fill in those blanks, literally and figuratively), but instead, a simple attempt to establish an emotional connection.

That is no easy feat. We are subject to between 3,000 and 5,000 marketing messages a day, and read and write some 100,000 words a day. Our audiences are time-starved and in control as never before. And we must work harder - and smarter - to reach them and break through the clutter.

Help them down the path. Arouse their brain, Pique their curiosity. Create an emotional connection. Do that in the first few seconds of an interaction, and you’ll earn the opportunity to move, persuade, convince – and eventually - sell. That’s 3 Second Selling. And I look forward to sharing more.

Tags: Advice, 3 Second Selling, Job Descriptions, Job candidates, Job Listings, Qualified job candidates, Selling job candidates