World of selling can be divided into two categories – companies who sell to end customer and work in B2C (business to customer) type of industry. The second type is B2B (business to business), which means companies who sell to other companies.
When dealing with multi-billion companies, it’s easy to forget, that in fact, we are always dealing with people. Moreover, when dealing with people principles of the psychology of selling are applied.
Even though we go to space, build tremendous cities, and invent self-driving cars, we are still animals bound by the chemistry of our brains. Effective use of sales techniques derived from the psychology of selling can ensure a considerable advantage over the competition.
However, you have to remember there is no magic trick or secret formula for selling. You can find thousands of pages about selling tricks. Many sales gurus made their fortunes on a claim that they know some undisclosed truth about the sales process.
Those are only unproven claims. Proper use of sales psychology requires an understanding of human nature and rules of social persuasion that govern us all.
In the following chapters, I’m going to guide you through principles of sales psychology. You will learn how our brain works and what makes them tick. After reading, you will gain insight into the decision process that is crucial in selling-purchasing relation.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Elephant and the rider – how to harness the power of the elephant in the psychology of selling?
With sophisticated technology surrounding us, it’s easy to forget, that our brain hardly changed in the last 50000 years. Yes, we have frontal cortex that separates us from the majority of the animal world.
However, this part of the brain is relatively new and small compared to older parts of the brain, like the limbic system, which is called the lizard brain. It’s the part where emotions are processed. This part is calling the shots, whenever we want that or not.
Imagine there is an elephant, majestic, and powerful creature. It has basic needs: food, water, air, sex, and it is looking to fulfill those needs. Its basic instinct is to seek pleasure and avoid pain. This is our limbic system.
There is also a rider, small human trying to guide the elephant and make a rational decision based on facts. He is crouching on an elephant and using all his strength to keep animal in check. This is our frontal cortex. It’s not a fair fight.
Elephant wins more times then he loses.
In the psychology of selling it is essential to remember that metaphor. People buy because of emotions. They will tell you all the crafty reasons why. We will talk about this in the next section.
However, after all is said and done, it’s the mighty elephant with its hormones and neurotransmitters that is calling the shots.
How can this piece of information help you to sell? Use emotions to sell. When a customer sees your product, how does it make him/her feel?
When people buy a sports car, it’s not because they are going to take part in a race. It’s not because they are safer or more comfortable. In fact, SUV is a more secure and comfort-wise option.
However, it’s the shiny red sports car that makes you feel powerful and excited. You buy cotton candy at the fair not because it’s so tasty and hygienic, it’s the nostalgia of childhood and good emotions that makes you reach for your wallet.
The psychology of selling principle – emotions sell.
Make your customers feel something when they come in touch with your brand and product.
Bring them closer to pleasure(solution) and further away from pain(frustration)
There are six basic emotions: joy, trust, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear. Sell your product as a way to invoke the first two and avoid the rest.
If emotions govern us all, how is it that we see ourselves as rational beings? It’s all because of part of the brain called interpreter.
Since we live with other people and we often depend on them, we want to offer some explanation for our shopping spree. We can’t say “I bought these heels, because they make me feel happy,” or “I spent a lot on this ridiculous fence because I fear my neighbors.”
It doesn’t sound very rational. Also, we want to appear sensible and sane to our friends, boss, and loved ones. Being a social animal is to take other under advisement. To remain part of society and community, we have to observe a set of rules. Being rational is one of them.
So there is a part of our brain, that is solely responsible for explaining irrational and emotional things we do. “There was a huge discount, honey”, “this software will boost our effectiveness, boss” – you may have heard those before.
Of course, you didn’t spend half of your paycheck for something sweet but unnecessary. The interpreter is there to provide a reasonable explanation.
Moreover, providing an easy explanation to the interpreter is one of the most effective sales techniques in the psychology of selling.
The psychology of selling principle – customers want to think they are making a rational choice, provide an explanation (some may call it an excuse!) and make it easier on your clients.
3. Me, me, me!
Even though we live in a social world and we need others to live, we are surprisingly self-centered.
When you prepare your commercials and marketing strategies, keep in mind your customer’s ego. Customers want to know what is there for them. How can your product help them? How can it enrich their life and boost their ego?
High-quality goods producers know how to speak that language. They sell the expectation of a perfect ego.
There are three components to the ego, our actual self, real ego, our social ego, the one we present to others, and ideal ego. It’s the one we aspire to. Speak to the needs of this ego with your product, and it is sold.
The psychology of selling principle – talk to ideal ego by highlighting what you can offer it.
Principle of authority is a little similar to social proof that we will discuss later. As human beings, we are easily influenced by others. Especially if they can present some kind of authority, either by knowledge, prestige, or power.
In a famous psychology experiment, people were willing to apply a dangerous amount of electricity to a person in the next room just because the authority figure told them to. Impulse to follow authority is strong.
I think we all know these commercials with doctor or expert recommending something. However, the world has changed. Young people are less likely to follow this kind of authority. To influence young customers, you need someone who speaks to them, like social influencers and celebrities.
So not all authorities are created equal. Find who can influence your target group and use it to provide proof that your product is worth attention.
The psychology of selling principle – use authority figure to provide proof of worth for your product or service.
5. Decisions are internal
After all is said and done (planned and marketed) all you can do is allure your customer.
The decision ultimately belongs to clients and can’t be forced. The more you push, the more your customer is going to feel forced.
Your job is to show them options and ensure that yours is best for them. Your job is done. Forcing your product down someone’s throat will only result in loss of trust.
The psychology of selling principle – tempt your customers but never force them to buy.
A situation where the customer is obliged to buy something is a loss for you. He or she will never be back.
Customers are more self-aware than they have ever been. With easy access to information it is hard to sell something fake. It can be done, but only once so it’s not the best sales technique.
Focus on target groups and provide them with real value.
Of course, value is relative. The same price and offered value can be different to diverse groups of customers. That’s why it’s crucial to know your target group.
The psychology of selling principle – show that your product has greater or at least equal value to demanded price.
Following two principles of the psychology of selling are connected, and they are often used as one sales technique.
Imagine you are at a store, looking for some chocolate. There are going to be at least 50 types and 20 brands.
Let’s say you have a taste for milk chocolate with raisins, not the most popular choice. However, there are still going to be a few bars of different brands. Which one is going to be your first choice?
No surprise there, the one you know.
We prefer to come in contact with the brands we already know. It’s not in vain that we are called creatures of habit.
How to use this fact as a sales technique? Make your brand known.
Moreover, not only by advertisement and marketing. Focus on positioning your brand in some role. Assign it a personality that is aligned with your goals and values.
Make it known in communities and on events. Let it become a part of shared cultural consciousness.
The psychology of selling principle – be known not only from your commercials, take part in pop culture, be present at events and in local (real or virtual) communities.
8. Trust is earned
You don’t let strangers into your home. Simple as that. You have to know someone or this person has to possess some kind of credibility. Same applies to brands.
You have to work hard to earn customers trust.
Your product has to be at least good, and your commercials need to be adequate. Never oversell. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Sounds obvious, right?
Still, many brands make that mistake. It’s easy to lose trust.
The psychology of selling principle – deliver what you have promised. Make your brand known as a partner to be trusted. And keep it that way.
Same as above next two sales techniques work best when they are connected. They are boosting each other for the best effect.
9. We are hoarders
Humans were not the brave hunters we like to believe. We were not the top of the food chain, which is why early humans had to resort to gathering. Our species learned agriculture a few thousands of years ago, before that we had to rely on what we could find.
This is why we like to gather things.
Of course, in wealthy countries of the West and in most developing countries, food is not deficient. We don’t have to hunt for it or gather, we can find it on any grocery store. However, we still have an instinct that is telling us to gather.
How is it helpful to the psychology of selling you may ask. Well, this sales technique, when used correctly, is like a crack, but safe and legal.
Prepare your product as a part of the collection and combine it with the following principle, scarcity. There you go, a recipe for success.
There are actually two rules at play here. People love to gather and to possess more than others. They will go to extreme length to complete their collections.
The psychology of selling principle – your customers are gatherers, prepare a collection for them, and observe your growing income.
Do you know why we prefer gold over other metals? It’s not more durable; in fact, it’s pretty delicate. We like gold because it’s rare. Same goes for diamonds. Unique things we own make us feel special, and we like that.
Same goes for any other product. Time limit your offer or provide a small part of the limited product. Make your product part of an event, like a holiday edition.
Moreover, when applying this sales technique, remember to keep it actually exclusive, time-limited offer every week is not going to be tempting.
The psychology of selling principle – the more scarce the product, the more people want it.
They are also willing to pay more for limited goods.
11. Social proof
Aggressive marketing broke advertisement; people no longer believe what they see in TV commercials or banners. Lost in the world of false promises customers turned to friends and families, relying on their recommendations.
However, it’s not something new; the social proof was here since we formed the first groups. Moreover, it stayed with us through the centuries, the need to use what others are using.
When you see two food stands, you’re going to choose the one that has a long queue. Instinctively, we know that something that is more popular with other people is better for us.
This is hardwired in our brains since the times we were scavenging for food. Any new plant could be dangerous, so eating only food that others are eating was a safe option.
An option that ensures survival. Sure, right now hot dog shouldn’t kill us, but our brains prefer to be on the safe side.
The psychology of selling principle – always provide some social proof with your product or service, either in the form of case studies, testimonials or recommendation.
There is a grocery shop at every corner in most developing and developed countries. We are used to fast and comfortable buying. You can’t offer anything less, but can you provide more?
In fact, yes, you can. You can combine a product, for example, a printer with a service that provides paper and ink cartridges at a specific period. Customer doesn’t have to order; it’s your job to research appropriate time. This way, you are taking one thing off your busy client mind.
Some companies try to sell in bulk; they call it a sales technique. However, is it a sales techniques or just a way to market faster without any real plan? It’s great to buy in bulks when you need those, but the company has to be flexible, and tailor offers to current customer needs.
The psychology of selling principle – make it easy to buy: accessible, a tailored offer to not only fulfills customer needs but goes one step further and predicts new needs.
13. Sell to senses
Remember, when we were talking about the elephant and the raider in the first section?
We have established that it’s the emotional, reptilian part of the brain that makes an actual decision while the frontal cortex, our primate brain provides a neat explanation. While frontal cortex uses words to gather information, for our reptilian brain senses are an understandable language.
Why is it essential for the psychology of selling? Because you have to speak in the right language to sell. Stop using fancy words and catch phrases and switch to senses.
In your commercials show how it does feel to touch, smell, hear, see, or even taste your product.
When your product is depilatory cream, show how smoothly piece of silk moves on the skin. If you are selling soft blankets, illustrate them with fluffiest animals.
This sales technique speaks to the most primal part of our brain. It can give you the edge over competition that you need to grow your business further.
The psychology of selling principle – senses are the language emotions can understand, talk right to the reptilian part of your customer’s brain.
Whether you call it the psychology of selling, the art of selling or just plain selling techniques, it’s all based on human physiology and brain.
Even with the latest technological advancements, we can’t escape our biology and animal nature. To sell effectively is to understand those rules and apply them to product design and marketing efforts.
To sum up, there are 13 principles of the psychology of selling:
1. Emotions sell
2. Provide explanation
3. Me in the center
7. Decisions are internal
8. Earn trust
9. Gatherer at heart
11. Social proof
13. Sell to senses
Speak in the language of senses to emotions, provide a neat explanation, and keep the ego in the center. Use principles of authority and familiarity to attract customers; however, remember that trust is earned, not given.
Sell your product in a convenient way, provide values, but keep it scarce and back it up with social proof.
Finally, remember, you can’t force a product on your customer, steer your marketing efforts to the path of attraction. Obnoxious advertisement is less effective in the long run.
How can you apply principles of the psychology of selling with CrazyCall?
It’s straightforward. Our software enables you to stay in touch with your customer and potential leads, which can help you use the principle of familiarity.
You can deliver best, time-sensitive offers, and true value simply by calling at the right time.
Of course, the best way to check whether CrazyCall is the thing for you is to try it out.
Now, you can test our software during a 14-day free trial. You’ll get a free phone number, as well as, some $$ to start making calls right away.
With our software, there are no limitations. Stay in touch with your customers no matter where they are and earn their trust.
Thank you for reading, that was a long one.
Hope I was able to make you curious about the psychology of selling. Keep the above sales techniques in mind and you will outrun your competition in no time.