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The Psychology of Sales

The Psychology of Sales

The brain is a fascinating and little understood organ, but when it comes to sales, getting your head around sales psychology could be your greatest asset. Sales psychology is the study of how potential clients’ psychological state influences their buying patterns.

One of the biggest mistakes marketers often make is trying to replicate other successful sales campaigns and people without factoring in the differences in the psyche of their own target market. Psychology of sales says that instead of convincing customers to buy your goods and services, you present them with what they already believe they need or want. A one-size-fits-all sale approach won’t work if you are after big sales and repeat customers.

Sales is a functioning part of business because people are diverse. Tapping into this diversity is where your strength lies. Before spending money on expensive sales plans that might not even work, consider the psychology of your target market. Although everyone falls on a scale and will rarely be polarised in their buying decisions and habits, they will also stick to their psychological buying style. Take these dichotomies for example:

  • Impulse buyers or planned and carefully considered shoppers
  • Deal seekers or brand seekers
  • Influenced by marketing or influenced by friends
  • Easily swayed by emotions or only swayed by reason
  • Traditional habits and tastes or trend followers

These are just a few examples of how shopper’s minds differ. Understanding your target market and applying your sales strategy to their psyche can make all the difference in your sales plan.


What are five basic principles of selling?

Experts have been trying for years to figure out the best principles for sales, and all of them come back to understanding the psychology of selling. Simply put, the five basic principles are:

  • Build rapport
  • Be consumer focused
  • Understand the correlation between value and cost
  • Gain credibility
  • Be generous

Build Rapport

It’s one thing knowing your target market and demographic, but when it comes to individual sales you need to build a relationship with each client. The more you listen, the more you understand their needs, and the better equipped you are to meet those needs. As you listen proactively, you will also build trust with your client.

Psychologically, people have a need to be known and understood. Building rapport can take a few minutes – or it can take years with long-standing and big clients. That extra touch of knowing your customer is what will push your sale through and give you the competitive edge.

Be Consumer Focused

When you market your product or service remember that it’s not about the product, it’s about the consumer. Putting them at the centre of your sales approach by addressing their needs is far more likely to succeed than boasting about how wonderful your products or services are.

Most consumers see boastful sales as disingenuous. However, if you take the time to know the consumer needs and sell your product into that space, sales will be far easier to close.

Understand the Correlation between Value and Cost

People innately understand that value comes with a price-tag. If your would-be customers think your products are too expensive, then there is a good chance you haven’t created enough value for it. The value of an item is something you can manufacture through both production and inventive advertising.

Every industry has competition and wide price-points. You will notice that good businesses manage to maintain sales no matter how much they charge, as long as their price stays in line with the perceived value of what they offer. Consider if your customer is more focused on a bargain or  on finding something of value and balance the cost to value ratio carefully.

Gain Credibility

Credibility is achieved when you have the customer’s trust and can speak with authority or expertise. If you have enough knowledge and speak with enough confidence, and if you have already followed step one and built rapport with your customer, then trust will naturally lead to closed sales.

If you are selling something highly technical, get advice or testimonials from people who are already influencers in that field. Or if you are selling something that has a niche market, get as informed as you can about that area of interest. The more you know, the more credible your pitch, and the stronger your sale.

Be Generous

Making the sale is only a small part of sales. Ideally, you want your customers to return and to recommend your business. The best way to do this is to be generous. That might mean being generous with the time you spend with a client. It could mean adding a personalised gift or special touch. Make sure whatever it is stays in line with your business’s and your client’s values to ensure you don’t contradict all the hard work you put into your sale.

It may seem counterintuitive to give things away, but the pay-out will be much larger in the long-term.


What is the golden rule of selling?

“Treat the customer the way you would want to be treated”.

This is the golden rule of selling and although it seems simple, it all comes back to sales psychology. Your job as a salesperson is to put yourself into your customers’ shoes and see life and the product or service you are trying to sell in the same way they will. This is a skill that you will need to learn and hone as you become a better salesperson.

Remember that people rarely care how much you know until they know how much you care. By putting the customer first and trying to understand their needs, you are already pushing out competitors who simply want to be heard, but won’t engage with their target market in a real way.

We live in an age of authenticity and staying true to yourself and your beliefs. The best way to make a sale is to know your customers’ thoughts and allow them to stay true to their values by showing an equal care for their principles.


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