To be successful at sales, you really need to understand the way your prospects’ minds work. You need to understand what psychological triggers influence people and persuade them to act in a desired way. An understanding of this will allow you to write more effective sales copy that reaches your audience, and actually converts them into customers. So, let’s take a look at 10 psychological triggers and discuss how you can use them to increase your sales.
If you give someone something valuable, or for free, they feel obligated to return the favour. We hate to feel like we owe something. In the real world, this could be as simple as your friend buying you dinner – you’d feel like it’s your turn to buy them dinner next time.
In terms of sales and marketing, you could provide an amazing lead magnet or tons of valuable content. The more valuable the free content is, the more likely prospects will feel that obligation to reciprocate. Now its time to ask for a favour. This could be to provide their email address, share your article on social media or refer you to a friend. It’s important to directly remind them of the value you provided them with – you could say something like: “as I’ve given you this amazing ebook for free, I’d love for you to share it with your friends.”
There’s a reason TV dramas will end on a cliff hanger. To draw people back next week.
You want to create mystery throughout your copy to keep the reader hooked and wanting to find out more. When it comes to selling your product, curiosity can entice them to make a purchase in order to uncover the mystery. An eBook titled “How To Make More Sales Online” for example, could tease prospects with “5 secrets which boosted my conversions by 204%.” People are going to want to know what those 5 secrets are. We’re just inherently curious like that.
People can be sceptical when it comes to advertising or sales copy – bold claims can be hard to believe. To alleviate this scepticism, it helps to be specific about the claims you’re making. By this, I mean use specific numbers to instil trust in your prospects.
Let’s say you’re a personal trainer who helps people lose weight.
Consider the phrases “Jan lost 20lbs” and “Jan lost 23lbs.”
Which is more believable? The latter, right? It’s unlikely that Jan would have lost exactly 20lbs.
Prospects will always come up with objections as to why they shouldn’t buy something. It’s your job to address these objections before they can even be thought of.
“It’s too expensive” – It’s likely that the prospect simply can’t see the value the product or service provides. Clearly demonstrate the value by sharing the benefits it will provide to the prospect. Justify the high price tag around your unique selling point and prove that, actually, its not expensive for the value you get with it.
“It won’t work for me” – Some people are hesitant to try anything new. You can overcome this by offering a free trial, or perhaps a 100% money back guarantee. This gives the prospect the opportunity to see that it does indeed work for them, with nothing to lose.
You need to give prospects a reason to listen to you. Why should they trust you? We tend to feel more trust towards people of authority, so be sure to include brands you’ve worked with, awards you’ve earned and your qualifications in your sales pitch. This will show that you know what you’re talking about and are a credible source.
Experience and results can prove that you’re worth listening to, as well. Statements such as “last year, I generated £170,096 in online sales” can be powerful in proving that you not only know your stuff, but can implement it to get results, too.
Another good way of proving your credibility is by positioning yourself as an authority in your niche. Write tons of content, write guest posts, publish eBooks and give talks. The more your name is seen against a particular topic, the more you’ll be seen as an authoritative figure in that niche.
As social animals, we look to others for confirmation. It makes us feel more comfortable if we go along with what everyone else is doing – this is why people conform and succumb to peer pressure. You can apply this social pressure to your sales process by showing that lots of people have bought and enjoyed your product. After all, popularity implies value.
If lots of people are saying that something is good, then chances are, it probably is. This is why testimonials are so powerful. It’s social proof, and makes us feel more comfortable in going through with that particular purchase. Be sure to use testimonials to assure your prospects with that social proof.
The Goldilocks effect
Take a look at the image below. You’ve seen this style of pricing grid a lot, right?
There’s a reason you’ve seen it a lot – because it works. This layout is successful because of what’s known as The Goldilocks Effect. The middle package is the one the business aims to sell the most of. The lower and higher offers are decoys, in a way, as they make the middle offer seem like the best option. The higher price will make the middle one seem like better value, and the lower price will make it seem better quality.
The price isn’t too low, it isn’t too high – it’s just right. Many businesses even make the middle offer larger (as they’ve done here) or add a banner that says “most popular” next to it, to really hammer home that its the best option.
People make purchases based on their feelings. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “retail therapy is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” So, try to work emotion into your copy.
Fear is particularly powerful. I don’t mean you should frighten your prospects, but you can create a fear of missing out. Use phrases such as “last chance to buy,” “limited stock” or “7 people have booked this in the last hour.” These phrases make us worried that we could miss out and, as a result, are more likely to buy there and then. This tactic also incorporates social proof as well, as it suggests that your product or service is at risk of running out due to high demand.
Foot in the door technique
Psychology has shown time and time again how powerful the foot in the door technique can be. It’s essentially a compliance tactic that aims to encourage people to fulfil a large request by having them complete a small request first. When it comes to sales, start by asking a small favour of your prospects. This could be asking them to provide an email address or purchase an inexpensive product. Later, when you ask them to purchase your expensive product, they’ll be more likely to go through with it than if they hadn’t done the smaller favour.
Storytelling can capture the audience’s attention, generate more interest in your brand and make data more meaningful by connecting it to real-world examples. As such, brands with stories behind them are generally much more powerful and memorable, and, as a result, more trustworthy.
Applying storytelling to sales can simply be sharing a relatable customer success story. This can help prospects to connect with and relate more to your brand, rather than you listing the benefits of the product. Stories have characters, whom prospects can relate to and envision themselves as.
What do you think of these psychological triggers? Do you have any more techniques that you use?