You do not need a degree to utilise some key aspects of sales psychology which can really help you nail that next pitch. People are highly complex and often mysterious, so we all struggle to understand our fellow humans. Humans are emotional, social, egocentric and value driven. Using these key points, there are core pillars which, when pitching, you should always keep in mind so as to cut through the psychological buying barrier of your potential buyer.
- People make decisions emotionally.
People decide based on a feeling, need, or emotion, not through a logical thought process. Letting your prospect envisage the outcome, and visualising the benefits and positive results, you have already psychologically moved them to a point of accepting that this may be a good opportunity.
That is why intangible benefits are the keys to persuasion. When you want to sell, you should ask yourself, “What is the emotional hot button here?”
- People justify decisions with facts.
Example: a woman sees an advertisement with a photo of a gas cooker and instantly falls in love. However, she can’t bring herself to buy the gas cooker based on a feeling, so she reads the seller for technical details about the powerful engine, safety features, and low maintenance. She wants the cooker because it makes her feel good. But she buys it only when she can justify the purchase rationally.
- People are egocentric.
The word “egocentric” means centred around the ego or self. We all see the world in terms of how it relates to us personally. One must also answer the unspoken question, “What’s in it for me?” On a deeper level, the question might be “How does this give me feelings of personal worth?”
- People look for value.
Value is not a fixed number. Value is relative to what you are selling, what others charge, what the prospect is used to paying, how badly the prospect wants it, and how the prospect perceives the difference between your offer and others. You must demonstrate a value that seems to be equal to or greater than the asking price. The greater the values relative to the price, the more likely people are to buy.
- People think in terms of people.
The human brain is not a computer, calculator, or information processor. Scientists have shown that its primary function is to deal with social interactions. Remember how some mathematical questions in high school were stated as real-life situations? They were always easier to understand and solve than abstract problems. Photos, quotes, testimonials, stories, etc. of satisfied customers should be featured
- You can’t force people to do anything.
When people buy, it’s not because you wield some magical power over them. You can urge. You can push. You can entice. But ultimately, people do what they want to do. This means your job is to show how what you’re offering meets your prospect’s needs.
- People love to buy.
Some say people do not like to be “sold.” Not true. People love to be sold. They love to discover wonderful new products and experiences. What people do not love is to be cheated or tricked. Therefore, it can be helpful to change your analogy of the marketing process. Instead of “selling” to people, try to “help” them. Sell good products, make appealing offers, and treat people fairly. That’s a sure fire formula for success.
- People are naturally suspicious.
It is true that there is a sucker born every minute, but most people are moderately sceptical of any offer. They seek to avoid risk. You can never predict the level of suspicion any particular person has, so it is usually best to back up all claims with evidence, such as testimonials, survey results, authoritative endorsements, test results, and scientific data.
- People are always looking for something.
People are naturally dissatisfied and spend their lives searching for intangibles Love, Wealth, Glory, Comfort, Safety etc. At its simplest, selling is a matter of showing people how a particular product, service, or cause fulfils one or more of their needs
- People buy “direct” because of convenience and exclusivity.
If people could easily find the things you offer at a nearby store, that’s probably where many would buy them. So if they are not buying from you directly for sheer convenience, they’re doing it because they can’t find the item elsewhere (or just don’t know where to look). That’s why it’s wise to emphasize the convenience and exclusivity of what you wish to sell.
- People like to see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it before they buy it.
Some people never buy online because they can’t examine the merchandise. Some items, such as books and phones, are tangible and familiar enough to sell easily online because there is little doubt about the physical quality. Other items, such as clothing or food, may be a harder sell at least until people have a satisfactory buying experience because quality may be variable. Think about how people buy things in stores and ask yourself if there is some element of that sensory experience that is missing from your sales message.
- Most people follow the crowd.
Most of us are imitators. We look to others for guidance, especially when we are uncertain about something. We ask, “What do others think about this? What do others feel? What do others do?” Then we act accordingly. This is why testimonials and case histories are so influential.
Of course, this barely scratches the surface. Psychology is a deep and eternally revealing line of study. And while I don’t believe in making things more complicated than they have to be, I think there is great benefit in knowing not only what people do, but also why they do it.
In all the key pillars to psychological selling are behaviour driven. In order to be successful you need to work them into your process in a way that feels right at the right time. These principles need to be woven into your research, approach and pitch process in order to get cut-through.