Though it’s not the first thing that might come to mind, psychology and sales techniques often go hand in hand. Effective salespeople know how to speak their customer’s language to build rapport and connect to what motivates them, and, for them to do that, they must understand the basics of what drives people to do what they do. Here are strategies to convince customers what you’re offering is in their best interests using the tenets of psychology.
In psychology, priming means offering a stimulus that influences someone’s future actions or thoughts – even when the stimulus seems unconnected from that action. When you prime a prospective client, you introduce something new or resurface older ideas from the subconscious. That way, what you’ve introduced is more accessible to that person’s mind. To use this technique, know that it comes with an expiration date. The thoughts you are priming them to keep at the front of their minds tend to recess into their subconscious, so primed ideas have about a 24-hour life cycle.
The pitfall to priming is when a salesperson is too obvious. For instance, if you’re selling grills, don’t ask how a client likes their meat cooked. Instead, ask questions about family get-togethers or holidays often celebrated outdoors, like the Fourth of July. The client’s mind will connect the dots between grills and family functions – without the salesperson having to do a hard sell.
The psychological response to scarcity is obvious any time there’s an impending natural disaster – grocery shelves stocked with water and bread suddenly become empty. In these situations, people often take much more than they need to survive the hurricane or tornado. But, since they are concerned about these items becoming scarce – even though it’s unlikely – they still over-purchase.
In sales, you can use this to your advantage. If prospects think a solution is in short supply, they’re motivated to act before they miss out. When something is rare, its perceived value goes up. Use these two types of scarcities to increase sales:
- Time-related scarcity – Prospects must commit by a specific date or they will miss a rare-opportunity.
- Quantity-related scarcity – There are only so many items currently available at a certain price, and, unless they purchase now, they won’t be able to purchase them again.
The human mind is created to consider details, and, the more precise a description is, the more likely it is to be perceived as trustworthy. According to this tenet of psychology, arguments become more believable by being precise. Numbers may seem easier to retain when they’re approximate, but giving precise amounts increases your credibility. For example, saying your solution more than doubled productivity is not as effective as saying it increased productivity by 57 percent.
Precise details reinforce your authority and show your attention to detail, which the mind perceives as more trustworthy.
People are strongly influenced both by what others are doing and by how they view their relationship with the influencer, which makes social media such a goldmine for some industries.
To leverage this kind of influence, use information you already have to inject elements of social proof into your persuasive technique. Let prospects know how many people have used your product or services. Link them to positive feedback and case studies that show your organization’s strength. Find the people who interact most with your brand and use common characteristics to drive sales.
Getting people through the sales funnel takes time, in part because of how the mind works. When you are considering how to drive conversions, dust off your Psy 101 textbook – you may be surprised how much it will help you win a sale.