Learn about the eight key psychological concepts in sales: reciprocation, liking, social proof, authority, consistency, scarcity, contrast, and because.
- What is the best thing you can hear as a salesperson? Yes. Closing a sale ends with yes. Yes to your terms, price, conditions, or anything else in your offering. But, as I'm sure you're aware, getting that yes can be tricky. To make it easier, you need to understand some basic psychology. There are eight psychological concepts that come in the to play in most sales situations. These concepts have been studied for more than seven decades and if you use them strategically throughout the sales process, your opportunity to get yes is much greater.
So let's take a look at each. The first is reciprocity. This is the feeling of obligation we have to give back when someone first gives to us. If you think about it, we're conditioned to do this from childhood. Some of the first words children are taught are thank you in response to a kind deed. Kids learn something is expected of them after someone has done something nice for them. Reciprocity comes into play in sales because when you do something for a prospective customer, it makes it easier for them to do something for you in return.
The next concept is liking. This tells us it's easier to say yes to friends, people we know and like. Conversely, it's easier to say no to strangers, people that we don't like. Suppose someone asked you to help them move over the weekend. If it's a friend, you'd probably agree to help. If it's a stranger, it'd be much easier for you to say no. Sometimes it's not about what's being asked, but rather about who's asking. If you've taken time to get to know your prospective customers and built some rapport, it will be much easier for them to say yes to you.
Social proof is the concept that when people are not sure what to do, they often look to the behavior of others to know what actions they should take. You might be familiar with the term peer pressure when talking about teenagers. Well, social proof is the same concept applied to adults. As social creatures, we feel more comfortable being in sync with other people. So it's natural to go along with the crowd. When people just like your customers are using a product, it's easier for them to consider using your product.
Authority is a psychological concept that means we're much more comfortable when an expert or a really smart person gives us advice. In fact, we can feel so comfortable in the presence of experts, that our critical thinking is severely reduced. And that's a big reason why it's easy for us to do what experts recommend. Do your perspective clients know about your experience or expertise? Consistency, this highlights the fact that people feel internal psychological pressure as well as external social pressure to be consistent in what they and say and do.
Most people feel bad when they say one thing and do another. Well, nobody enjoys feeling bad when they can help it. So whenever we can avoid bad feelings we try to do so by living up to our commitments. Good salespeople know how to ask the right questions to engage consistency. Scarcity tells us people are more motivated by what they stand to lose, as opposed to what they might gain. Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his work in this area when he proved that human beings feel the pain of loss anywhere from two to two and a half times more than the joy of gaining the same thing.
In other words, losing 100 dollars hurts much more than the joy you might feel if you found 100 dollars. What will the prospect lose by not going with you, your company, or your recommendation? You need to highlight this potential loss if you want more people to take action. Compare and contrast. This is the term we use to describe the fact that people are always making comparisons between things. Is he tall? He might have been the tallest person in your high school but he might have been the shortest person on the college basketball team.
Is that car expensive? Yes, it's much more than I paid for my first car. But someone else might say "it's not nearly as expensive as the car I drive." You see, tall or short, expensive or inexpensive, it's all relative to some arbitrary comparison point. We don't make decisions in a vacuum. We're always comparing one thing to another. And that's especially true in sales. Good salespeople make the proper comparisons so customers see their product or service in the best light.
Because, this is the last concept and it's a magical word because when you tag a request with the word because, your odds of hearing yes can go up significantly. For example, let's say you want your daughter to empty the dishwasher. Would you please empty the dishwasher will not be nearly as effective as would you please empty the dishwasher because we have guests coming over soon. Did you notice it's the same request except the second one is tagged with because and a reason.
Whatever you suggest to a prospective customer, take one more breath and give a reason using because. Throughout this course, I will ties these concepts into the various steps of the sales cycle, so you can be more effective. For now, consider how you currently sell and how you might incorporate them into your sales process.
- Reaching out to prospects
- Developing a rapport with customers
- Making a good first impression
- Giving a successful presentation
- Providing the correct amount of options
- Handling objections
- Understanding the value equation
- Closing the sale
- Asking for referrals