Everyone in sales is looking for an advantage. Whether it’s a new untapped source of leads or some inside information that can give you an edge over the competition, you do what you can to close the deal. But what if there is an obvious, though often overlooked, way to give yourself a competitive advantage?
There is, and it is something that advertisers, authors, and even casinos already use to make you think and behave in a certain way: human psychology. Admittedly, human psychology is complex, and often our understanding of it is profoundly limited and constantly evolving. But the good news is that you don’t need a PhD to use this to your advantage in sales.
Here are some ways to use human psychology to benefit you in your next sales pitch:
In cognitive psychology and decision theory, loss aversion is when people would rather avoid losses than acquire equivalent gains. In other words, most people would rather not lose $5 than gain $5. In sales, you can leverage loss aversion by letting your prospect know that they are likely to lose money on a deal by putting off a decision, or perhaps going with your competitor. Focus on what they will lose to clarify the point. It may be what puts them over the edge and turns them into customers.
Focus on speed and convenience
We are programmed to expect quick gratification and instant results. No one wants to wait weeks for their Internet purchases to arrive, and no one loves the idea of working out for months just to lose a few pounds. This is why you should always emphasize the ability of you and your company to solve the potential customer’s problem quickly and with as little hassle as possible. Write this on a post-it note so that you can include it in each of your arguments. Convenience and speed tend to be a big consideration in marketing, but can sometimes be missed during sales presentations.
Studies on human psychology have shown that companies that admit some “strategic failures” are able to gain the customer’s trust more easily than those that blame their mistakes on external forces. This is why you should not shy away from admitting where you and your company may not be so strong, rather than denying or deflecting from your weaknesses. That said, remember to provide unnecessary information in an effort to build trust.
Humans tend to trust people they consider to be an authority on a particular subject. Therefore, if you are able to present yourself as an authority in your respective space or industry, you will have a huge advantage when it comes to closing a deal. Of course, you should try to become an authority in an honest way; learning your products and the industry inside and out, including understanding the entire competitive landscape. But it never hurts to write about your industry and publicly showcase your expertise, if possible.
Provide fewer options
If you haven’t noticed, there has been a growing trend among all companies, from restaurants to software companies, to simplify offerings and provide people with fewer high-quality options. There is a good reason for this; reducing the number of options helps people make decisions. If you are offering your potential customer too many options, they will likely become confused and overwhelmed. Instead, use your qualification questions and research the prospect to narrow down the options you present to him. You will make their decision-making process (and your life) easier and will likely see a more positive response.
People love surprises. Think of the rare occasions when you ended up paying less (or getting more) than you expected. You can use this strategically during your sales arguments and presentations by withholding extra benefits and presenting them as a bonus on top of everything you are already offering. Not only will it help create value in the potential customer’s mind, but it will also delight them and make them feel special, which is exactly how everyone wants to feel.