Sales Psychology
  • Copied

Sales Psychology: Understanding How to Use Human Behavior to Drive Sales Success

Human psychology plays an integral part in influencing buyer’s decisions and a good understanding of this can give you a significant advantage in sales.

To increase sales success, it is not only enough to understand your customer’s demographics but you have to understand what motivates them to make a buying decision. When you are making sales calls or pitching your product or service to your prospects or customers, an important factor critical to achieving this success is understanding why they need the products and the ways your products or service can fill this gap.

The concept of sales psychology is understanding customers’ emotional needs and putting yourself in your customer’s shoes to pitch the product value to them to increase sales success. This is because in most cases, people generally buy based on their emotions over logic. While it’s impossible to read people’s minds to encourage sales, sales reps can leverage sales psychology to increase sales success.

In this article, we will take you through the complete overview of sales psychology, its definition, how it can be used to boost sales performance, and sales psychology techniques you should know.

Table of Contents

  • What is Sales Psychology?
  • How to Use Sales Psychology for Sales?
  • 3 Human Factors About Sales Psychology
  • 4 Pillars of Successful Sales Psychology
  • How to Use DISC Assessment to Sell?
  • Sales Psychology Techniques You Should Know
  • Sales Psychology Principles
  • Sales Psychology Tips to Win More Sales

What is Sales Psychology?

psychology of sales

Sales psychology otherwise known as the psychology of selling is the understanding and use of buyer psychology in the sales process. The idea behind sales psychology is understanding how buyers think, what influences them to make the decision, and their emotional needs to help you understand how to present your products to them.

Although we humans generally perceive ourselves as logical beings, which we are to an extent, many times, we don’t get to make decisions driven by mere logic. As emotional beings, people generally get attached to things, people, and issues that they feel emotionally connected to – one of which sales is part.

In sales, to better understand customers beyond the physical, it is important to understand human logic and emotions both come together to influence buyer decisions. The underlying concept of sales psychology is understanding your target market to better understand how you can sell to them.

Usually in sales, salespeople always feel the need to convince customers or prospects that the product or service is for them by focusing the sales pitch on the product value, however with the understanding of sales psychology, sales reps can better understand their client’s emotional needs and put themselves in the customer’s shoes.

When you understand your target audience and the driving force or emotional reason behind their decision-making, you can better position your product or service to connect with them emotionally to drive sales.

How to Use Sales Psychology for Sales?

Sales psychology is a selling tactic that involves understanding the psychology behind sales and the buying decisions of the target audience to sell your products and services. Understanding sales psychology can help you develop an effective strategy to target customers and present the product or service in a way that they can form an emotional connection with the product to achieve sales.

Considering that people buy products for various reasons – while some buy impulsively at first and only rationalize their decision after; whereas others use logic and reason with their emotions when purchasing new products.

Sales professionals can tap into customers’ emotions as a way to close a sale. If the sales team understands the values important to the clients and their pain points, interests, and needs that relate to your business help you develop strategies that can help you showcase and pitch your products or service in a way that can drive sales.

Several other factors matter when using sales psychology to encourage sales in B2B firms. For instance, sympathy and charisma are two interestingly important elements that B2B salespeople can leverage to not only keep the sales conversation engaging but to build your prospect or customer’s confidence in you – both of which can enormously drive sales. Check out the guide about sales prospecting.

Compared to B2C where sales reps get a bit personal when pitching the products, features, and benefits to their customers/prospects, B2B focuses more on product value by extensively talking about the reason for the product, its features that can help the prospect, and benefits that can enhance their business growth.

However, things B2B sales reps fail to realize is that sometimes, the potential customer wants to be listened to, understood, and possibly entertained. So the idea of using sales psychology in B2B sales is by offering excellent customer service and understanding the circumstances around sales to build an emotional connection with them to boost sales.

3 Human Factors About Sales Psychology

Here are three (3) different psychological tactics that can be useful in your sales negotiation.

1. Research on the brain has shown that shopping is 95% unconscious

 the psychology of sales

Research by Max Planck Institute in 2008 found that during sales, people naturally believe that they use their rational thinking to make buying decisions, the reality is that people make buying decisions unconsciously – which means they are usually unaware of the fact that they have made a choice, even when they think in the process.

The unconscious decision made by people when making buying decisions makes it imperative for salespeople to understand a critical sales question “what is it that unconsciously drives my buyer’s purchase decision.”

Understanding the psychology of selling and some of the key drivers of sales can positively impact sales and give you answer to all your sales questions.

2. Humans are social creatures, and the whole sales situation is driven by the social framework

Naturally, people are social beings that are influenced by the concept of societal validation and togetherness. People are driven by the concept of family, friends, and social connections. Humans generally share mirror neurons that enable us to connect with each other’s emotions unconsciously.

To leverage this in the sales process, salespeople must build and efficiently manage their relationships with customers/prospects and be able to show them that you can solve their needs with your product or service.

Sometimes it goes beyond just pitching your product or service value to your prospects but also showing them how reliable you are as a sales professional.

3. Discover what drives people unconsciously

Concerning the first point above, salespeople need to identify what drives their prospect’s purchase decision beyond just their emotions. You need to look into their values, beliefs, and goals are driven by their imagination.

According to the psychology of selling, the belief is that emotions alone are not the driving force to sales, but the imagination of what the product or service will do for them that mostly influences their purchase decision.

As a result, sales reps must focus on what unconsciously motivates their customers by determining the type of questions to ask, the sequence, and the information-gathering strategy.

4 Pillars of Successful Sales Psychology

The following are the pillars of successful sales psychology that every sales team should enforce.

1. Be Reliable

 psychology of sales book

This point is pretty self-explanatory, one of the key principles of a successful sales process is by positioning yourself as a reliable sales rep that prospects and customers can take seriously. Beyond just selling to them, you need to show your prospects that their problems or pain points are important to you and take them very seriously.

Irrespective of the way or channel your prospect reaches out to you, via phone calls, marketing campaigns on social media, efforts of influencer marketing, or digital ads, you must give them the ultimate attention and help they need.

To be recognized as a reliable and competent sales professional, you must respond quickly to inquiries, emails, phone calls, and so on

2. Make Good Use of Non-verbal Cues

 sales psychology book

Are you aware that your body language, your choice of words, and your manner of speaking can play a big role in convincing customers to consider your pitch and significantly increase your sales success?

When pitching to your prospects and customers, sales professionals must understand that non-verbal gestures, facial expressions, and positive body language can have a positive impact on the mindset of people/persons at the receiving end.

The general belief in sales psychology is that with the use of the right words, a strong voice, and an open body posture, you can significantly influence the decision-making process of a prospective customer.

3. Make People Feel Good

With the belief that positive language shapes our thinking, you must take extra care in the way you talk to your prospects during your sales call or certain things you say in a bid to get your prospect to choose you over your competitors.

Desist from bad-mouthing your competitors or treating people poorly as this can impact the way they perceive you during sales. Aside from the use of negative or derogatory words during sales conversations, it is also generally advised that you use words that convey either pressure or ignorance to the prospect/customer.

For example, instead of using words like buy/sell, price/cost, sales number, probably, etc., consider more positive words like new chance, opportunity, solution, etc.

4. Strengthen your appearance

 sales psychology tips

Judging by the popular sales saying that people do not buy a product but buy a feeling. This is pretty evident when you look at the concept of influencer marketing and how it works, you would understand sometimes faces and personality influences people more than impressive features and benefits.

Successful companies understand how personality and charisma influence buyer decisions which is why so many of them use influencer marketing to promote their products to their target audience and increase their sales success. If a sales associate understands this and takes advantage of a strong personality and charisma to tap into a person’s psychological responses.

How to Use DISC Assessment to Sell?

If you have been very conversant with sales and marketing terms, then you would understand how the DISC color model or assessment methods for personality assessment can be used to enhance sales success.

Here’s what the DISC model stands for:

 best book on sales psychology
  • D – Dominant (Red) – represents people who make decisions quickly, aren’t afraid of risks or conflicts, like a competitive atmosphere, and love to set their own rules.
  • I – Inducement (Yellow) – represents people who make connections with others quickly, easily express their feelings, forms connection between people and enjoys the spotlight.
  • S – Submission (Green) – represents people who like familiar processes, listen carefully and show understanding, want to be supportive, and want to maintain peace.
  • C – Compliance (Blue) – represents people who complete tasks accurately, plan things carefully, expect a lot from themselves, and have an analytical mindset.

Understanding your personality in the DISC model can help you learn how best to approach your prospects based on their personality and present your products or services for sale.

Sales Psychology Techniques You Should Know

Here are some of the important sales psychology techniques you should know if you are looking to boost sales.

1. Create a Meaningful Human Connection

 psychology sales

To increase sales success, sales reps must learn to build positive relationships and emotional connections with their prospects and customers to take the sales conversation beyond just buying and selling to solving a need.

Build a relationship based on trust by showing them that you care about them and are passionate about helping them find lasting solutions to their pain points/problems. Also, by being available and responsive to your prospects, you show them how serious and devoted you are as a salesperson.

2. Show them that their competitors/peers have the solution

As emphasized earlier, people are generally influenced by social proof and recognition. It’s not new that people regardless of their career, societal value, and status love to be on par with their mates or competitors when it comes to investing in certain things or making a purchase.

Using recommendations and social proof from friends, family, and colleagues is one of the best sales strategies that successful salespeople use to tap into the emotional needs of their prospects or customers to encourage them to make sales.

3. Prove your expertise in the field

Why do you think content marketing has grown among companies in recent years? That is mainly because it provides these companies an avenue to showcase their expertise in the field and share valuable knowledge and insight with their customers.

As a sales rep looking to increase your revenue, it is not only important for you to understand and learn all you can about your products and company, you must have up-to-date knowledge about your business industry to be seen as an expert in the field and help you gain the trust of people you contact for sales.

4. Change your approach to pitching to your prospects

Problem identification and solving are critical to the success of your sales presentation. Consider using the psychology of sales to restructure your prospect’s pain points and how they think about their problem to efficiently show them the value of your business offerings.

The underlying goal with this is not to just identify their problem but to help them see their problem a little differently. For example, if you notice your prospect struggles with getting a good email open rate, instead of just admitting that they are bad with email marketing, you could take a closer look at the issue and show them what they are doing wrong e.g. boring subject lines or no personalization. This way you help them see their problem in a different light.

5. Offer less than more

To leverage the psychology of sales in your sales process, instead of offering your prospects and customers more options, consider keeping the options short to help them make better decisions. Too many options can be counterproductive to your sales goals.

Most times, people have a clear idea of what they want and what they need to do to make that happen, what you can do as a sales rep, is offer professional guidance to your prospects to help them make better and fast decisions.

6. Give them something first

The reciprocity principle in sales states that if you give your prospect or customer something, they are most likely to reciprocate and offer you something positive in return. In a practical scenario, when you offer your prospects a discount, coupon, or incentive, you can influence their purchase decision.

7. Create a sense of scarcity

It is common knowledge that when people are informed about the scarcity of a product or service, they are driven by the need to get the products before its finished. Using the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) principles in sales can help you create the needed urgency for your product or service and drive them to make a quicker purchase decision.

8. Let them experience the benefits

Making sales is important for every business to grow and maximize its revenue. Even without sales, even the most sophisticated companies shut done. This is why instead of constantly talking to prospects about the benefits of your products and their distinct features, you should let them experience this by giving them a free trial to use the product.

9. Stay at the top of their minds

Being the first person your prospects or customers think of when they decide to make a purchase can be a huge advantage to them. By constantly promoting your product or service and showcasing its features to your prospects and customers by maintaining an omnichannel approach in your sales strategy to build your brand, and help you stay on top of their minds to make more sales.

Sales Psychology Principles

 psychology in sales

According to the psychology of selling outlined by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his best-selling book, Influencer, he identified seven key principles – reciprocity, commitment, liking, authority, social, scarcity, unity -which delves into a person’s psychological response during a sales setting.

1. Reciprocity principle

The reciprocity principle focuses more on the emotional need to give something in return after receiving a favor or something. This is more like returning a favor for goodwill. This principle believes that if a salesperson goes out of their way to do something nice for a customer, the customer may feel compelled to purchase in return. For example, offer free samples or discounts, with the hope that they buy more.

2. Commitment Principle

The commitment principle focuses on the need to make a change in your life – more like influencing them to commit to change such as losing weight or stopping smoking. The marketing efforts and campaigns in this commitment principle taps into a person’s desire or need to convince them that they can remain committed to their goals.

This approach is usually effective because it makes people believe they need to consistently use your product to stay committed and encourage repeat purchases.

3. Liking Principle

This principle states that people purchase a product due to a positive emotional response to the seller – which explains why a lot of marketing campaigns use celebrities in their ads. When people like some people or belief in their ideology, it influences their opinions about the products and their purchase decision.

4. Authority Principle

The Authority principle states that a buyer is persuaded by individuals who are regarded as experts in the field or by industry authorities. For instance, many diets or household product advertisements often state that the product is endorsed by the industry association or endorsement body to drive more sales.

5. Social Principle

The social principle states that people are naturally driven by the innate need to like or use things as their peers. As a result, a large percentage of buyers greatly rely on recommendations from their friends and family before making a purchase decision. This explains why influencer marketing and the use of testimonials, and reviews on website or social media page provides buyers with the social proof needed to make a purchase.

6. Scarcity Principle

Scarcity like the FOMO principle is driven by making the buyers feel that they are going to miss out on a unique opportunity. This explains why salespeople use phrases like “limited time offer”, “last day discount” etc., to make them feel like they could be missing out on something they can regret losing later.

7. Unity Principle

The unity principle focuses on fulfilling the need for a community. Ads or marketing campaigns using this principle targets a group of people rather than individuals. For example, a gym ad can advertise its group classes rather than just individual gym classes.

Sales Psychology Tips to Win More Sales

 psychology and sales

Here are some of the powerful tips you can implement to win more sales.

1. Use the power of FOMO: The concept of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is based on the principle of scarcity. It uses the concept of urgency to make people feel that they are missing out. For B2B sales success, highlight the scarcity of your products or services with conditions to drive more sales.

2. Use social proof with a strategy: People generally love to buy things when they get positive reviews or recommendations from their close ones or buyers generally. Find more client testimonials and add this to your website, social media channels, or other digital platforms that they can see to influence their purchase decision.

3. Offer discounts when appropriate: With the belief that people generally love to repay a favor or give something back in return for the good things done to them. Consider offering your prospects or customers free trials, discounts, or extension of their test accounts to possibly influence them to repay the favor.

4. Be well positioned as an expert: No one will buy or even care to listen to someone who is inexperienced and has very little knowledge about the product or business industry. This is why you must enhance your knowledge of your product and business industry to be seen as an expert who customers can trust and rely on.

Sales Psychology: The Conclusion

Psychology plays a critical role in every decision that a person takes. The concept of sales psychology dwells on the belief that people are mostly driven by their emotions and certain intrinsic values that they hold dear to them. A good understanding of these values, beliefs and other underlying reasons for making sales can help salespeople drive more sales.