Success in sales is not just about getting the other person to like you, and trust you, although that helps.
It is about how you employ human psychology.
Imagine you gave someone $30 for completing a task, and then because it was completed satisfactorily, you gave them another $20. Compare that to someone to whom you offered $70 to complete a task with an impossible deadline, and then took $20 away because they missed the deadline, although completing the task satisfactorily in all other aspects.
Which of the two would be happier? In this case, you have framed the situation to ensure that one saw the outcome in a positive light, rather than a negative one.
This sort of basic psychology is at work every time you negotiate in any way, it just happens. Thinking about the process with a little sensitivity the basic psychology can make you considerably more successful.
Some simple examples.
Part of a group.
Humans are herd animals. We tend to do what those around us do, to follow the lead of the group. Suggesting that others with whom they relate are doing ‘A’ will increase the likelihood that they will do the same, as demonstrated in Cialdini’s research in 2008 articulating his 7th principal of influence, the Unity principal. This leads us to be influenced by others the more we relate to them. This was the subject of his famous towels in a hotel project, where he demonstrated that guests could be significantly influenced simply by the persuasive power of telling them what others were doing.
Foot in the door.
This is not the old fashioned door to door technique of not stopping until you call the police, it is far less intimidating, and is a widely used tactic in digital marketing. The offer to try a product free for a month before paying for it is a foot in the door, as is the one that offers a free book, you just pay for the freight, or the one-time .97 cent offer, to get to the first level of a normally more expensive course, or club. The psychology is that once your hand has gone in your pocket once, you have made the purchase decision the first time, the second time is way easier.
Create a decoy
Potential customers seek value, defined in all sorts of ways, but when making a choice, they always look at the options available and ascribe a value to each, then make the choice. By making your preferred item look great compared to the alternatives you offer, you can significantly influence the outcome, Again this is used extensively in digital sales. On almost every sales page for a software product, there will be lists of comparative tools you are given for different amounts per month. Usually it will be three options, as option overload leads to confusion, and potential customers walking away, choosing to buy none, but when there are three, there will be the first with a few tools available, for free, or a small price, then there will be the $29/month with an extensive list of options, and a third with the same extensive list and a few more that might be important to a few, for $59/month. The vast majority will look at the value delivered by the $29 option, and opt there, as it offers the best value, the few who opt for the expensive one, well, they are the cream, and those that take the freebie or very cheap version are ripe to be upsold at a later time.
We all understand the old adage, ‘Time is money’ so saving time with a purchase, time that can be used in other ways that will benefit the purchaser, is a powerful motivator. This technique is used extensively when selling services. Most of the so called ‘Business coaches’ out there use this technique, weaving pictures of how great it would be for small business owners to have the time to play golf every day, or run their businesses from the beach between diving expeditions on the reef.
It is also used in reverse, putting a time limit on the availability of a product. ‘Available only at this price until 5 pm tomorrow’ often accompanied by a clock running in reverse is similarly a strong motivator.
Quality = Price
In a market where the knowledge of many buyers is limited, like wine, consumers have over time recognised that price is a fair indicator of quality. When you understand the perception levels of a category in a consumers mind, they can be significantly influenced in a purchase decision by the ticket price.
The foundation of all this is of course that you have a very clear picture of your ideal customer, so can anticipate which of the techniques, and they are often used in tandem, will work, in your set of circumstances.
It also remains true that people love to buy, but hate to be sold to, so selling is really the wrong word, it is more about persuasion, and we all understand that psychology plays a huge role in persuasion.
PS this post was put up yesterday with a different headline, and redefined the dead cat bounce. I thought it was better than that, so polished it up a bit, to see what happens.