Sales Scape

Bringing you the latest insights from the inside sales, customer care, and account management subject matter experts here at Salelytics.
Want to be kept up to date on the latest Sales Scape news?

Sales Scape

Bringing you the latest insights from the inside sales, customer care, and account management subject matter experts here at Salelytics.
Want to be kept up to date on the latest Sales Scape news?

Sales Scape

The Psychology of Sales

by Christian Schommer
May 31, 2023
A deep dive into the psychology of selling, and how it can improve your sales pitch!

In a recent blog article, I interviewed some of our sales executives and experts to learn some of their favorite sales tips. One that really caught my eye was when one of our executives mentioned leveraging “social proof". The term set off a lightbulb somewhere in the back of my brain from a psychology class in school, and I was intrigued. From there, I went on a deep dive to figure out the psychology of sales, and how it can help you sell more efficiently. Here’s a quick guide to what I found!

Social proof: 
Social proof refers to the psychological phenomenon where individuals are influenced by the actions and behaviors of others when making decisions. You can unlock this principle in the sales process by telling the stories of customers who faced similar challenges, and the change they noticed when they bought your product/service. Utilizing testimonials, reviews, endorsements, and case studies can help make that connection for potential clients while showcasing positive experiences and validating the value of a product or service. By demonstrating that others have had positive results or experiences with your offering, social proof creates a sense of trust, credibility, and reliability. It helps potential customers overcome skepticism and make more informed purchase decisions. Think of it this way, if you were looking at hiring a new employee, what is more convincing? The candidate saying, “just trust me”, or showing examples of their work and how they’ve impacted other companies. Incorporating social proof into sales strategies is a potent way to build customer confidence, inspire trust, and ultimately increase conversions and revenue.

Liking refers to the innate human tendency to be more receptive to individuals or products that we find attractive, relatable, or similar to ourselves. Put simply, if people like you they are more apt to listen to what you have to say. That’s why building rapport is so essential. By genuinely showing interest, listening attentively, and finding shared interests or experiences, sales professionals can foster positive relationships and connect with potential clients on a deeper level. Research from multiple disciplines shows that people engage and consume information that affirms their beliefs and aligns with their values and worldview, and avoid or reject information that challenges or threatens them (it’s called Confirmation Bias). We see this all the time when it comes to politics, and the same can be true with sales. Want to avoid an immediate rejection? Make the prospect like you. Make sure they know you’re on their side and are trying to reach the same goals. Avoid the used car salesman approach and treat them as a partner in finding a solution that works for both of you. This will help you establish trust and ultimately increase the likelihood of making a successful sale.

Even in a virtual environment, body language is an important part of communication. Mirroring refers to the natural tendency of individuals to mimic the behavior and body language of those they’re with. This isn’t in the traditional “cartoony” sense where “they crossed their legs I’ll cross my legs”, but in the matching of intensity, energy, and communication style. Mirroring helps to establish a connection and fosters a subconscious sense of similarity, which can be instrumental when presenting a value proposition to a customer. However, it is important to exercise tact and authenticity when applying mirroring techniques to ensure a genuine connection rather than manipulation. People intrinsically are more comfortable with those who are like them, and with mirroring, you’re able to reach the potential client where they are most comfortable. Not only does this better communicate your message, but it also puts you in a better position to ultimately succeed.

Echoing is essentially verbal mirroring, where either side starts copying the phrases/words from the other person. Verbal mimicking happens almost innately, and it's a signal that you and the person you are speaking to are on the same wavelength. Using the same terminology as a prospect can show empathy, and that you understand them and their needs. This makes communication far more efficient, allowing you and the prospect to understand each other better, creating a better environment for a mutually beneficial decision.

Reference Points:
Everyone makes comparisons, they are how we create our perception of value. However, that also means that everything is relative. Lean into it. Reference points refer to the benchmarks or standards that individuals evaluate and make decisions against. By strategically positioning products or services relative to other options, sales professionals can highlight exactly those areas where their product is unique or outperforms others. This can be achieved by displaying unique features, superior quality, competitive pricing, or even by providing compelling comparisons with competitors. By framing the customer's perception around these reference points, salespeople can effectively show the true value of their offering, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and sales success. However, that doesn’t mean you should lie, in fact, that’s the quickest way to lose a customer. Transparency and providing accurate information to maintain trust and build long-term relationships with customers is essential.

Commitment and consistency:
This principle proposed by Dr. Robert Cialdini, revolves around the theory that people like to be consistent with the things they have done or said. Once a person makes a commitment or takes a stance on something, they have a natural tendency to remain consistent with that commitment in their future actions and decisions. By seeking small initial commitments, such as requesting potential customers to provide their preferences, share feedback, or participate in a trial, sales professionals can establish a foundation of commitment. Once the initial commitment is made, they are more likely to stick to their initial choice and align their future actions with their previous decisions. This is also known as the Foot In The Door technique, where a small acceptance can lead to a bigger yes.

Understanding the power of emotions:
While B2B sales may seem more logical and data-driven, emotions still play a significant role in decision-making. By tapping into the emotions of the customer, such as their fears or desires, you can create a more compelling sales pitch. For example, by using

Authority. Humans are more likely to say yes to others who are seen as authoritative. If you have great expertise, knowledge, or experience, the prospect will be more inclined to believe the information you give them.

Scarcity. The principle of scarcity states that we always want more of what is less available or shrinking in availability. That’s why sales are always prefaced “for a limited time only”, to spark the panic center of your brain and trigger the implication of loss.

Recognizing the influence of cognitive biases:
Cognitive biases are flaws in human reasoning that can affect the decision-making process. By being aware of common biases such as confirmation bias or the sunk cost fallacy, you can address them in your sales pitch and provide solutions that overcome them.

Confirmation bias causes people to seek information to confirm existing beliefs, rather than challenging them This bias can manifest in various ways, such as favoring testimonials or reviews that support their existing opinions or selectively interpreting product features to fit their desired outcome. By empathetically acknowledging the customer's existing beliefs and gently introducing new perspectives or information, you can help customers overcome this bias and make more informed decisions. Building trust, providing accurate information, and offering personalized solutions that challenge confirmation bias can be instrumental in guiding customers toward the best choice for their needs.

The Sunk Cost Fallacy is when you continue investing resources (time, money, effort) into something simply because they have already invested heavily in it, regardless of its actual value or potential returns. For example, choosing to finish a boring movie because you already paid for the ticket or keeping an unreliable car because so much money has gone into fixing it. In sales, the sunk cost fallacy can present challenges when potential customers have already invested significant resources in a particular solution or approach that may not be delivering the desired results. Due to their emotional attachment and the fear of "wasting" their previous investment, they may be hesitant to consider alternative options or switch providers. As sales professionals, it is crucial to address this fallacy by objectively highlighting the potential benefits and superior value of alternative solutions. By reframing the conversation around future opportunities and the potential positive outcomes of making a change, we can help customers overcome the sunk cost fallacy and make more rational decisions that align with their current needs and goals. Ultimately, by guiding customers to focus on the future rather than dwelling on past investments, we can steer them toward more advantageous outcomes.

Christian Schommer, Content Marketing Specialist
I fell in love with Marketing and Sales back when I was in middle school and haven't looked back since! As a Content Marketing Specialist here at Salelytics I've been able to create content for various digital mediums that highlight my passions while developing my creativity and professional skills.

Recommended Posts


Share Your Thoughts
Captcha field is required.
No comments posted on this article.
It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you are using the most recent version of your browser or try using one of these supported browsers.