While everyone wants to believe they make decisions based on logic and reasoning, especially in business, our brains are naturally wired to respond to instinct and emotion. Like it or not, our choices and judgments are heavily influenced by our feelings and emotions.
When we are making pitches and sales propositions, we need to remember this, and make instinctive appeals part of our sales process. Winning pitches are sticky, or appealing in some way that may be hard to pin down - it probably wasn’t the graph you showed a team that won you the sale. It was probably something in the way you explained, or took people on a journey or tapped into natural human response.. And that’s why VR wins sales - it’s the ultimate influencer and helps you win client trust.
Virtual reality is a tool that establishes an emotional connection to an experience more than any other media. To uncover why, we’ll review some key findings from a psychological study from Stanford University.
Stanford University Study - VR as Influence Engine
In 2018, a group of researchers from Stanford University published their longitudinal study on whether VR affects a person’s level of empathy. To study this phenomenon, the researchers showed participants some steps in a person’s life that led to homelessness. They showed everyone the same scenarios but changed the medium in which they experienced it.
Some participants were shown a VR experience called “Becoming Homeless”, a 7-minute interactive VR experience. A narrator guides participants through a series of virtual scenarios that would happen during the budding stages before becoming homeless. Participants that were not assigned to the virtual experience would read a narrative or run through the scenario in 2D on a desktop computer.
Researchers found that those who experienced the virtual reality scenarios were more likely to have “enduring positive attitudes” towards the homeless. Compared to those who were assigned static mediums, VR was able to create a way for participants to build their own lived experiences of what it would be like transitioning into homelessness. The experience secured a lasting impression on the participants.
VR experiences can clearly be an incredible tool for charities. Being able to immerse viewers into an emotionally powerful experience helps them understand why your organization exists and the necessity of the solutions their contributions are helping to pay for .
So - what does this empathy study, and the lasting impact of VR experiences on viewers mean for using VR in business?
Create an Instant Connection
One of the key components of the VR experience was that the participants had an instant connection to the scenario. Compared to the other mediums, VR allowed participants to experience what it was like to lose their job or be handed an eviction notice first-hand. Having the participants be immersed first-person style in a vulnerable position allowed them to fully understand the simulation, leaving a lasting impression much greater than watching a video - the difference is feeling like something is happening to you, vs. watching it unfold.
The findings from this study highlight how profound creating a connection and a perfect understanding between business and client is. One barrier that businesses face is getting clients to understand their solution or vision. Whether they can’t imagine a proposed layout for a space or a specific finish for a piece of furniture, a lack of understanding can create a disconnect between your client and your pitch.
When they strap on a VR headset, your clients go beyond speculating about what they think your vision is and step into it. Not only does it allow them to see your solution without any risk of miscommunication, but they also begin to see a vision of the future, of the problem your solution solves. Connecting to your vision through VR speeds up the buying cycle by building trust and understanding.
Make a Lasting Impression
Stanford’s VR study was one of the first to look at why VR impacts thinking and response. Plus, the majority of the studies exploring how VR affects an individual’s thoughts and attitudes had numerous limitations, including the time of influence. Since the study lasted about 2 months, researchers were able to monitor the participant’s attitudes for changes over time.
They concluded that the participant’s emotional connection and linked attitudes were consistent and endured over the 2-month period. Compared to those who experienced the VR story, those who saw the static mediums showed less emotional attachment and their attitudes changed negatively over time.
That means that VR creates an impactful experience that leaves a long-term impression. As your industry continues to become more saturated with competitors, it becomes more difficult to distinguish your company and make an impression. Plus, with more voices in the market, making your business’s presence known requires adopting more technology to continue moving forward rather than getting left behind. Using VR in business will help you be more memorable while staying one step ahead of your competition.
Create an Emotion-Driven Experience like Never Before
Like Antonio Damasio, professor and founder of the Brain and Creativity Institute in USC, argues, emotions are a crucial component of decision-making for any individual. Even in business, experts in the industry often disagree with what the “right” solution is. That’s because everyone’s decisions are manifested from their own personal experiences and emotions.
Virtual reality is one tool that can help cut the amount of time and effort to get the emotional response from your clients. This immersive technology delivers a 27% higher level of emotional engagement and 34% longer engagement than 2D content. Unlike static mediums, virtual reality engages your clients on an emotional level, making it easier to access their undivided attention and to decide quicker. Whether it be negative or positive, harnessing your client’s emotional response will help you attain more honest and immediate feedback.
Emotions unquestionably drive action and are essential to the decision-making process. The sooner you can master speaking to your client’s emotions, the sooner you could win more clients over to your business. Recognize this area of untapped potential, and see for yourself how VR wins sales.
To see the power of VR for yourself, sign up for our 30-day free trial and experience how VR can transform the way you do business. To discover the power of using VR for business, check out our Whitepaper here to get a comprehensive understanding of where the industry is currently, the difference between various VR headsets and more!