Facts Can’t Sell Anything Without Feelings (Doot Doo Doot)

George MacDonald

“Attitudes are more important than facts.” – George MacDonald, Born Dec. 10, 1824

I can't persuade anyone with JUST the facts. Facts are boring. Static. Motionless. Some dummies keep saying we live in a post-fact age. I think that's dangerously untrue. But I digress.

If facts alone could close the sale, I’d still be a librarian or theater usher. Not a guy who writes about sales every day. And you wouldn’t be reading these words.

The problem with facts is that they’re not flexible. I can’t bend them. I can’t lie about them in ads because that’s illegal.

Facts are facts. I can't change them…

…But I can change your attitude about them.

I can alter your perception and massage the context and meaning of a fact – if I mess with your mood before I give you the data or proof or evidence.

I can agitate your pain and stoke your indignation: How do you feel about this? How can I guide those feelings?

I can stir your longing and make your desire bloom: How do you want this to affect your future? How can I make your choice to buy or not buy have an impact on that?

And THEN we give a little sprinkling of additional supporting facts (or things that FEEL like facts).

This will make it seem justified and valid to feel the way that you do.

The facts support the emotions, and then the emotions come to the forefront. And emotions are WAY easier to manipulate to elicit behavior.


If we were scientists, facts would rule above all.

But we are not scientists.

We are all apes in shoes pretending not to be apes.

We are not logical, despite having invented the idea of logic. Logic is a fantasy.

We are driven by belief and fear. We use facts AFTER the reptile brain chooses for us. We use them to justify and validate and explain WHY we did what we already did.

What we can do as persuaders is provide that factual validation AND tell people what feelings they should have – and from their point of view, it’s just natural and automatic.

Maybe this feels a little woo woo.

Think of movies – Oscar bait movies, specifically. The ones that maybe try to educate viewers about social issues. They frame the facts of their target issue with EMOTION. They make you FEEL the injustice (or whatever) of true life events through DRAMA, lol.

Let’s sum it up for today.

Facts can ONLY be used to persuade when we connect them with the EMOTIONAL states that will drive clicking or commenting or buying.

You set up the emotion first, so the facts will be interpreted the way we want.

And you use the facts to reinforce the emotion.

It goes both ways.

Do you get it? I hope so.

2 thoughts on “Facts Can’t Sell Anything Without Feelings (Doot Doo Doot)”

    1. Was a cinema usher for a summer while still in high school. Was not strictly a “librarian” but was a “stacks worker” at LSU’s Middleton library for the majority of the time I was in school, except for when I shifted to running the digital edition of the school’s newspaper – which was the beginning of my web design career. Which lasted until I was doing web design for the company that StomperNet started at and they needed help with the writing.

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