Basics – Psychology in Selling

As there are basic reasons people buy or don’t buy, there are also psychological factors that will influence the sales effort.  Since a salesperson needs every advantage in working to gain commitment from the prospect, the following psychological rules should be observed:

  1. Maintain a positive attitude at all times; it will rub off.

If anyone asks you how things are going, tell them everything is great!  It will create a better atmosphere for sales.  You can’t afford to be sick or sad, because you must always project a positive attitude.

  1. Success breeds success.

Nothing makes you feel better than a sale.  You may have a million problems, but one sale can work wonders.  And you can build on that success, as can your fellow workers.

  1. Never wear or use the color red.

Red is associated with danger, and the color triggers the subconscious to say “stop.”  So, do not wear red clothing.  Do not use red markings on your sales material.  And for heaven’s sake, never use a red pen.  The colors green and blue are more relaxing and positive for both you and your prospects.

  1. Never wear sunglasses.

Don’t wear sunglasses either outside or inside when talking to a prospect.  The prospect must be able to see your eyes to know that you are sincere.  If the prospect can’t see your eyes, he can’t judge your facial expressions, and he may think you are hiding something.  Your eyes can also be used at times to provide a degree of intimidation, so don’t hide your eyes.

  1. Make sure the prospect gets accustomed to seeing your pen.

The prospect is afraid of your pen because it can cost him a lot of money and cause him to go back on the commitment he has made to buy.  A salesperson must get the prospect comfortable with the pen.  Lay it on the desk early in the meeting.  Use it as a pointer when you show visuals.  Some salespeople even drop then pen on the floor next to the prospect, so he will have to pick it up and hand it back to the salesperson.  I know one salesperson who is a magician.  He does a great little magic trick in which he breaks a pen in two and then makes it reappear in one piece in the customer’s hand!

  1. Don’t choose one person as most important when you give a presentation.

Sooner or later, a salesperson will be able to determine who makes the decisions in the company.  But do not make the assumption either way when you give a presentation. 

  1. Don’t ignore the ladies when you talk.

Women actually control most of the money in this country.  Don’t forget that.

  1. If you confuse them, you lose them.

Confused people just can’t make a decision.  It’s that simple.  Keep the sales presentation simple.

  1. Never touch a customer, but use your hands and fingers for emphasizing points, directing attention, etc.

Never touch a customer unless you are shaking hands.  Most people resent having someone “in their space.”  (There is another school of thought on this subject, with salespeople who feel that touching people makes them more attentive and draws them closer to you. I disagree.)  The use of gestures and pointing to direct attention are definitely needed, however.

  1. Always nod your head affirmatively.

During your sales presentation, always nod your head in the affirmative.  Convey a positive “yes” attitude to your prospect.  The prospect will often react subconsciously by nodding yes also.

  1. Always sit higher than your prospect.

When you are above your prospect, you assume a superior position.  If your eyes are higher than the prospect’s, this causes the prospect to look up to you.  Subconsciously, the prospect will be more attentive to your words. 

  1. Don’t ever complain about your prospect.

Always keep positive thoughts about your prospect.  Always assume you are going to get the sale.

  1. Bad weather means good sales.

Many people think you need beautiful weather to sell, to get the prospects into a good frame of mind.  But on a bad day, the prospect will have little else to do, so he’ll spend more time with a salesperson.  And, there will be less distractions, so the prospect will be more attentive.

  1. Don’t let the prospect get nervous during or after the sales presentation.

It’s only natural that the prospect will be nervous when you first meet.  One of a salesperson’s jobs is to gain the customer’s trust and put him at ease.  If something is said or done that makes the prospect feel nervous later – during or after the presentation, trust and the sale may be lost.

  1. Answer questions before they are asked.

Prospects are suspicious.  If they don’t understand something, there is a good chance they won’t mention it to you.  But a prospect will think about it in some negative way, and it will become an unseen obstacle to you.  To avoid this, answer everything that you feel might be a question up front or during the presentation.  Explain anything that might be a question, such as your position in the company, how merchandising services can be offered for free, etc.

  1. Never argue with a customer.

Win an argument and lose a sale.  It doesn’t matter if you are right.  Besides, if you lose the argument and get the sale, who is the winner?

  1. When selling to more than one person, stack the odds in your favor by winning over one prospect at a time.

When you are selling to a team, it’s you against them; one against two.  But when you win over one of the prospects, it becomes two against one in your favor, and the sale becomes just that much closer.

  1. Emphasize and de-emphasize monetary amounts to make your points.

For example, when you want an amount of money to sound like a lot, say “Six thousand five hundred dollars,” and write it $6,500.00.  When you want it to sound like less, say “sixty-five hundred,” and write it 6500.

  1. Never say “I’m sorry.”

Rather than say “I’m sorry,” say “I apologize,” or “Excuse me.”  You aren’t a sorry person, and you don’t want to convey that to your customer or to your subconscious mind.  Keep a positive attitude at all times, even in little things that you say and do.

  1. People like to be flattered.

Express sincere compliments.

  1. Relate to the prospect in some way.

A salesperson must get on common ground with the prospect in some way, so he will feel comfortable.  Do or say something the prospect can relate to.  It might be the type of car the prospect drives, where he is from, the number of children, where he goes to church – anything positive.  Just find something and relate it.

  1. Make the prospect feel special.

Always try to tell the prospect a secret or some new information that no one else knows.  We all like to think we know something that no one else knows.

  1. Make the prospect say “Yes.”

When you are making the sales presentation, and the customer answers questions with grunts or “uh huh’s” or with a nod of the head, stop.  Try to get the customer to say “Yes” aloud.  The prospect can then hear himself respond and his subconscious mind will be more alert to what is going on.  This can be accomplished by politely saying, “Pardon me, I didn’t hear you” or “Excuse me, what did you say?”

  1. Let the prospect know you are good at your job.

We would all rather deal with someone who is a winner, and with someone who is experienced. 

  1. Let the prospect feel like he is in control to a degree.

If the prospect feels you have had complete control, he may feel resentful.  Let him believe he is in the driver’s seat some of the time.

  1. Never ignore a negative.

Should something unpleasant happen while you are with a prospect (such as someone saying something rude), do not ignore it.  Comment to the customer; attempt to explain what happened; apologize for the rudeness.  This action will bring the prospect closer to you.

  1. Make the prospect feel special.

Build up the prospect, making him feel special and proud.  People love to be special.  Some salespeople even make fun of themselves a bit to get the prospect on the level they want.  They try to make the prospect feel superior.  Then when they ask the prospect to buy, he can’t say “No” without getting down off the pedestal the salesperson put him on.  This is a means of allowing a customer to trap himself with his own ego.

  1. Use the “mirror technique.”

When you look in the mirror and smile, the mirror smiles back.  If you frown, the reflection in the mirror is a frown.  The same thing happens with people.  A salesperson must always have a good attitude, and must convey that to his prospect.  And with practice and concentration, a salesperson can look many prospects straight in the eye and produce any expression he wants on the prospect’s face.

  1. Look out for the “hot button.”

Every prospect has a weakness.  He is well aware of it, so he will be overly protective in this area.  A sudden increase in objections or excuses from the prospect is an indication that the salesperson is about to touch on that spot.  Find the hot button, and work on it.

  1. Show friendliness to everyone you meet.

When a salesperson is with a prospect, he should be friendly to everyone he meets.  Not only is this good manners, good sense, and good business, but this will at least make the prospect feel that the salesperson is well-known and well-liked.

  1. Replace rejection words with go-ahead terms.

Use the word “when,” not “if.”

Use “total investment” rather than “cost” or “price.” Other terms that can be used in the place of “cost” and “price” are “value,” “valued at,” “available for,” “available at,” “offered for,” “offered at,” and “worth.”

Use “initial investment” rather than “downpayment.”

Use “monthly investment” rather than “monthly payment.”

Use “agreement” or “paperwork” rather than “contract.”

Use “own” rather than “buy.”

Use “acquired” rather than “sold.”

Use “consulted” or “worked out the details” rather than “sell.”

Use “presentation” or “opportunity” rather than “pitch” or “deal.”

Use “authorize the agreement” or “okay the paperwork” rather than “sign.”

  1. Prospects want what they can’t have.

The salesperson must be aware of a basic purchasing phenomenon that is true of all prospects: All prospects want what they can’t have or get.  Some salespeople set “traps” or use negative psychology to take advantage of this phenomenon.

  1. Gear the sales presentation to control your prospect.

When a salesperson talks to a prospect, he has to gear his pitch at a sharp, clear, crisp pace.  If he talks slowly and draws his words out, the prospect has to listen in a slow, relaxed manner.  While this might seem acceptable, when the salesperson asks the prospect to buy, he will automatically say, “I have to think about it.”  This happens because the salesperson unwittingly geared the prospect for a slow and relaxed decision.

  1. Be prepared when the prospect is ready to buy.

When the prospect is ready to buy, the salesperson had better have his pen and working papers at hand.  If he has to hunt for these items, this wasted time could be all that is necessary for the prospect to cool off and change his mind.  The prospect will think to himself, “If he is that unorganized about his paper work, how in the world can he possibly be organized and dependable for me as a customer?”

  1. Tell the prospect you have learned something from him.

If the prospect believes the salesperson has genuinely gained some new knowledge from him, and feels that the information is sincerely appreciated, this will build up confidence in the prospect by flattering his ego.  This will make the prospect more attentive.

  1. Go “the extra mile.”

A trick used by some salespeople when they give their presentation is to bump their head, spill ink on their shirt, or do something which will get the sympathetic attention of the prospect.  Most customers will feel sorry for the salesperson because of the misfortune and become more involved with the salesperson because of the concern.

  1. Positive emotions trigger sales; negative emotions destroy sales.

While emphasizing benefits rather than features, it is important to realize that appealing to the wrong emotions can destroy sales.  The power of the negative is enormous.  One negative can wipe out many positives.

  1. Use the senses to sell.

In addition to hearing, try to involve your prospects’ senses of sight, touch, taste, and smell.  The more senses you involve, the better your odds of making the sale.

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