Using The 7 Basic Human Emotions in Your Sales Funnel: Contempt

There are 7 basic human emotions: Anger, Fear, Disgust, Contempt, Joy, Sadness, Surprise.

These are root emotions from which all other emotions spring. (Read more about them here). These 7 emotions are at the core of what drives our decision-making.

If you understand these emotions and build your sales funnel around them, you can sell more.


Yes, it is possible to use contempt in your sales funnel. It’s a powerful emotion and it’s one of the more difficult emotions to use, in my opinion.

Leveraging contempt works when you can align yourself with your audience against a third party. The purchase motivated by contempt becomes a purchase that is made to feel like you are taking revenge. It’s cathartic. In that way, it’s similar to using anger in your sales funnel or disgust in your sales funnel but there’s a feeling of superiority that comes with contempt, which isn’t shared with the feelings of anger or disgust.

I wonder if a lot of fundraising, particularly in the political sphere is motivated by contempt of the party, group, or organization you are fundraising against!

Here are some ways to use contempt in your sales funnel:

  • Focus your content on why your “opponent” (for lack of a better word) is wrong. Obviously you need to avoid libel so make sure you back up everything you say with fact. (Factual statements sell better anyway).
  • The main benefit of the contempt-driven sale is catharsis. There might be other benefits but those are a bonus compared to the feeling that your buyers have against the third party.
  • Before setting up your sales funnel, carefully consider how you’ll communicate your message and how much time you want to spend dealing with controversy. A blog, for example, might end up taking a lot of your time dealing with comments from supporters of people who are opposed to your cause. This might not be a bad thing (controversy can equal traffic and attention!) but it also be time consuming. If you don’t want to get drawn into a debate, use a sales funnel that doesn’t require a lot of interaction — such as AdWords driving people to a sales page.
  • Cultivate your language. Your audience might hate the thing they feel contempt about but they might not express it as hatred. They might articulate their hatred in different ways — righteous indignation, balanced debate, stunned silence. In other they might feel contempt but would never call it contempt.

Published by Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and other books.

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