The Psychology of Sales

All human behavior is driven by one of two factors: the desire for pleasure or the need to avoid pain. If you can show a prospective customer how your product will help them perform either of those functions, you’ll have a buyer.

Here’s how to incorporate the psychology of sales into your marketing efforts.

Fear of Missing Out

People love to feel as if they are part of the “in” crowd. They derive pleasure from feeling they are privy to something others can’t get, or they got a special deal where most people had to pay more. When presented with such an opportunity—on a limited basis—shoppers will be motivated to make a purchase decision.  They don’t want to endure the pain of having missed out on a good thing. This fear of missing out is why car salespeople always “have a few other people calling about this car”. The implication is simple.  You’d better buy it before one of those other callers gets there and scoops up this “one of a kind” great deal causing you to miss out.

The Power of Anticipation

It has been the said the secret to a happy life is having something to which one can look forward. In many cases, the feelings of pleasure people derive from the anticipation of an event far outstrips the actual pleasure they experience. By way of illustration, let’s say you sell ebooks online. When you have a new title coming up, you can tout it heavily in all of your social feeds, through your content marketing efforts and with teaser ads on your site—building it up as the ultimate volume on whatever subject it happens to cover. If you can create a buzz and get others talking about it as well, the anticipation among the targeted reader base will be very high and so will sales—as long as the book continues to live up to the hype when it’s published.

Defeating a Common Enemy

People love to win. This behavior underpins all of professional sports and yes, even war. Thing is, for us to win, someone (or something) has to lose. If you can show them how your product helps them win, you’ll have a sale. As an example, cold commercials often pit the virus as an animated character wreaking mayhem on the respiratory system. The cold remedy is then presented as the solution to defeat a common enemy—the cold virus, which in turn both creates pleasure (the cold is gone) and eliminates pain (the cold is gone).

Satisfaction of Curiosity

When people discover a hole in their knowledge, the need to fill it can be quite compelling. Ever been driving along in your car and heard an unfamiliar rattle? The noise irritates you something fierce until you know where t’s coming from. One you do, even if you can’t fix it, you feel better about it, because your curiosity has been satisfied. This incites a feeling of pleasure in the brain. Your marketing campaigns can benefit tremendously from this. Crafting subject lines designed to specifically pique the curiosity of your ideal customer drives open rates through the ceiling. You can also leverage this in your product descriptions.  Do this by giving shoppers just enough information to make them want to try the product and satisfy their need to know.

These are just four examples of how the desire for pleasure and the need to avoid pain can manifest themselves in the marketplace. Having a solid understanding of the psychology of sales will help you in your marketing efforts as you present your products and services.

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