Selling Psych

Psychological Selling means you deliver your information in the way the customer needs to receive it. You sell the way he/she wants to buy. Stimulate the Brain. In order to succeed at that you need to learn how to make a connection. Then, satisfy both the rational and emotional parts of the brain. Think in terms of “buying cycle,” rather than selling cycle.

Learn how to read people, communicate in their style, and present in a way that makes it easy for them to say yes. Even better, learn how to get customers to sell themselves.

The Science of Persuasion

Thanks to copywriter Erica Bernhard and graphic designer Michelle Calderon for this fabulous infographic on the science of persuasion. Included courtesy of Impact Learning.




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    Meet the “Oh” Rating of Your Presentations

    Picture yourself talking to a small audience.  That could be anywhere from three people to a hundred.  As you deliver your words of wisdom, you see someone's head lean back and the person's mouth form the word, "Oh."  Bing!   That person "got it."  You now have an "Oh" Rating of one.

    Teachers look for those lights to go on in their students' faces.  But, professionals who deliver group presentations are often ambivalent or unaware of the "Oh" experience in their audiences.  If you can't recall seeing the Oh face in your audiences, you could be batting zero.  Meaning, you might be reaching zero people.

    If you do not know how to structure your information so people can easily understand the points and catalog them in their minds, you are most likely confusing your audience, rather than teaching them.  Confusion means death to the Oh. 

    Want to know how to eliminate the confusion, just ask.

    — Mike

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      The value of money – It’s not what you think

      For many years, Pam and I have been fascinated with personal values as behavioral motivators.  Since many of our clients are in the financial industry, we've done a lot of research into money as a motivational value.  Contrary to what many financial advisors think, money is not a top motivator. 

      The following comes from a survey carried out by Institute de Impresa in Spain and Manchester Business School.  They researched final year MBA students from 25 countries. One would think that MBA students are keenly laser-like in their focus on money.  One would be wrong:

      "Asked what factors would influence their choice of a career after graduation, respondents rated job satisfaction number one, followed by the opportunity to spend adequate time with their family and friends. Next most important was the corporate culture and the ethics of the organisation they worked for. Money ranked fourth on their priority list."

      That finding matches what we've uncovered in other studies and research.  So, what's important about money to you?  Not as much as you might think.

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        How conscious are your values and motivations?

        Ever hear anyone tell you their values?  "Oh, my values are honesty and family."  Really?  One of our favorite experts is Roger Dooley.  He says, "Our behavior as humans is influenced by many, many factors, most of which aren’t conscious or rational."

        According to Neuro-linguists, it IS possible to entice someone to name or describe his/her values.  But it can't be approach head-on.  It must be approached indirectly. 

        The reason – while we might name a few values, we likely can't then easily define them.  However, the real values are imbedded in our attempts to define the values we initially listed.  They peek out when we have gone inside our heads to extract out thoughts. 

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          Top 8 Words that Sell

          1. You/Your

          “You” is the most powerful word in the English language. It’s more powerful than the word “money”; it’s more powerful than the word “sex.” Prospects want to feel as if you’re talking to them directly, and the word “you” accomplishes just that. So instead of writing, “Our clients report increased productivity as a result of using the Widget 2100,” write, “You will experience increased productivity as a result of using the Widget 2100.” Keep every sentence in your prospect’s perspective.

          2. Money

          Ask people what they wish they had more of, and chances are they’ll say “money.” People love to save money just as much as the love to earn it. So if a benefit of your product or service is that it saves people money or helps them earn more money, state it along with a monetary figure people can grasp. For example: “Using the Widget 2100 saves you money – over $5000 per year!”

          3. Guarantee/Guaranteed

          By nature, most people are not risk takers. They want assurance that they’re not wasting their money and that your product or service can live up to its claims. By giving some sort of guarantee, you put prospects at ease and make them trust you. For example: “We’re so confident the Widget 2100 will work for you that we offer a full money-back guarantee.”

          4. Easy/Easily

          Between 40+ hour workweeks and increasing demands at home, people want things that are easy. They don’t want products or services that are going to make their life more difficult. So always state how easy your company makes things. For example: “The Widget 2100 makes it easy for you to…” Or, “With the Widget 2100, you can easily remove spots from your carpet once and for all.”

          5. Free

          Everyone loves getting something for nothing. That’s why the word “free” continues to be one of the top selling words of all time. Realize that the free offer doesn’t have to have a high monetary value, just a high perceived value. Some freebies that work include: “Free consultation,” “Free estimate,” “Free report,” “Free shipping,” and “Buy one get one free.”

          6. Yes

          Face it, you love being told “yes,” don’t you? “Yes” means you have permission, you were right, or you can get what you want. “Yes” is one of the most pleasing words to the human ear. So tell your prospects “yes” often. For example, in your marketing materials, you can ask a series of positive yes/no questions, and then write, “If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the Widget 2100 is what you’ve been searching for.”

          7. Quick/Quickly

          In today’s microwave age society, people want things quickly. They don’t want to wait weeks or even days for the results you promote. They want to know they’ll see a quick return for their investment now. So while the perception of quick results may vary from person to person, as long as you know that your product or service is quicker than something else, state it. For example: “Lose weight quickly,” “Make money quickly,” and “Quick and tasty meals from your own kitchen.”

          8. Sale

          We’ve found that using Sale, Save, Price Reduction or Discount activate the prospect’s fantasies of gain.

          To learn how to to be more influential with your clients and prospects, read Words that Sell. 


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            How Much Product Information Do Consumers Want?

            An article in ScienceDaily carries that headline. To those of us who work in/with psychology in our businesses, the idea that some people want lots of detail and others want less is a no-brainer. However…

            I think we gain a chance to up-date our knowledge any time an academic study releases findings that substantiate what we already believe.

            I hesitate to add the subject of social styles and personality types to this discussion, but hear me out. The Type that revels in detail tends to be the Analytical. The Type that backs away from detail is the Expressive. If your product or service is appropriate for both, wouldn't you provide two different levels of explanation?

            When we work with sales reps, we teach them to ask the prospect if he/she wants just the most important points or greater detail. This is a simple way to provide the most appropriate amount of detail and avoid info overload.

            You can find the article at:


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              How to match your selling process to the prospect’s buying process

              Most sellers use the same approach with just about every prospect.  Unfortunately, most of those approaches have no relevance to how people buy.  Both parties are looking for different things and have totally different objectives.  Let’s look first at the typical sales process:  


              Sales Process


              1. Talk about yourself
              2. Explain how you got into the business
              3. Tell a story about a business success
              4. Tell your company’s story
              5. Expound on your values

              If you were the prospect, how enthusiastic would you be about a representative who did that to you?  Not very.  Now, let's look at the typical buying process:


              Buying Process


              1. Prospect explains his problem
              2. Prospect asks the rep if he can help
              3. Prospect determines if the rep's experience/solution is relevant


              See the disconnect?  The prospect is NOT there to be sold, he’s there to solve a problem or gain something.  So, how can you solve your own problem of talking too much?  Follow this process:

              Resource Process


              1. Put the prospect in charge of the conversation. 
              2. Ask him to share what’s on his mind. 
              3. Be quiet and let him talk!
              4. Ask follow-up questions
              5. Demonstrate that you are relevant to him


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                Do consumers want more choices – or fewer?

                Situation: You rep a product whose benefit will come to life in the future.  Does your prospect want more choices or fewer?  Survey says – fewer!

                ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2012) — Consumers generally prefer having more options when choosing among products but not when making choices involving the distant future, according to a study from Washington University in St. Louis.

                "The lure of assortment may not be as universal as previously thought. Consumers' preferences for large assortments can decrease due to a key psychological factor — psychological distance," write authors Joseph K. Goodman, PhD, and Selin A. Malkoc, PhD, both assistant professors of marketing at Olin Business School.

                "Psychological distance is common concern when consumers are making decisions related to the future such as a vacation, insurance or retirement planning," Malkoc says. "In such instances, consumers tend to focus on the end goal and less about how to get there and this leads to predictable changes in consumer behavior," she says.

                "I'm constantly amazed by the massive amount of choice we have in the marketplace, and it just keeps expanding, making it even more difficult for consumers to make a choice," Goodman says. "I'm very excited about finding instances when consumers might not want so much choice, and can thus avoid some of the difficulty of choosing."

                To see the full article:

                — Mike


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                  Is it better to present first or last?

                  Here's the situation:  you are in competition for a big account against three other firms.  What is the best position in the order of the presentations?  Should you lobby for first, last, or one of the middle slots? And, why would one be better than another?  What we're dealing with here are concepts in Social Psychology called The Primacy Effect and the Recency Effect. Pay attention  because it could change the way you approach your work.

                  Primacy and recency are terms used in psychology to describe the effect of order of presentation on MEMORY. The primacy effect results in information presented earlier being better remembered than information presented later on. The recency effect results in better recall of the most recent information presented. Together, they result in the earliest and latest information in a given presentation being recalled best, with information in the middle being least remembered. The best approach for your presentation is to go first.  That way you have an opportunity to anchor the "bar" or standard against which all other presentations will be measured. It's typically easier for people to assess content to be worse than better, so by going first, you gain a great chance to stay on top of the list!  

                  Taking this concept a step further, organize the content of your presentation using the same structure, with the most relevant and powerful information delivered at the beginning and at the end.

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                    Mental Marketing – how NOT to engage Boomers

                    Let’s look at some effective ways you can engage Boomers with your marketing.  First, their financial behavior:               

                    • “44% of Americans born between 1946 and 1965 are not confident that they'll have enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
                    • More than half (57%) say they lost money during the recent economic downturn and many who were affected (42%) say that's why they're delaying their retirement.
                    • It’s easy to assume that Boomers are just selfish and they got themselves into financial trouble.  But, isn’t it possible that the financial industry has failed them by attempting to use outdated and inappropriate sales strategies on Boomers.”
                      Source: Associated poll

                    Armed with that information, the typical advisor would attempt to scare Boomer prospects into taking financial action.  For example, Met Life relies on three points to nudge Boomer prospects into action:  Fears, Uncertainties and Doubts.  We think that approach is a mistake and apt to backfire.  Let’s look at the main psychological mistakes:

                    Mistake #1 – Fear.  “If you don’t take action right now, you’re going to end up homeless!”  They logic might have worked on Boomers’ parents, but Boomers are polar opposites of their parents.  In other words, advisors need to develop an appeal that is more appropriate for Boomers.   They exhibit two responses to fear: 

                    • Boomers have a belief that it will all work out OK in the end. So, you will have a hard time convincing them that they need to change their lifestyles and beliefs. 
                    • “Why bother?”  This is a typical response when Boomers see the news telling them how ill-prepared they are to pay for retirement.  Those numbers produce a serious state of confusion because Boomers don’t know how to solve the problem. 

                    In subsequent posts, we'll look into other big blunders.

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