8 years ago
April 13, 2016

The Psychology of Selling

The psychology of selling will help you understand what moves prospects to buy so that you can become more effective in sales.

Rhys Metler

Many sales training materials focus on the personal communications in sales, which are important to master for sales success. However, any training that is not supplemented by psychology of selling may not have the desired results. Briefly, the psychology of selling is the practice of understanding how and why sales prospects make buying decisions. Broken out into its component parts, the psychology of selling is actually quite simple. The following overview of the psychology of selling will help you understand what moves prospects to buy so that you can become more effective in sales.

Sales Prospects Need Justification for Their Decisions

Although the psychology of selling is based in part on emotion, it is also analytical. A sales prospect in a position to authorize a major contract did not achieve his or her position without demonstrating the ability to think critically. Mastering the psychology of selling requires the ability to provide sales prospects with the information they need to justify a purchase decision. Justifications include:

  • A deal that will differentiate the prospect’s organization in the marketplace.
  • A product or service that will increase efficiency over all other alternatives.
  • A contract that reduces risk for the prospect’s organization as far as possible.

Sales Prospects Need a Human Connection

Sales prospects will rarely buy if a human connection is not formed first. A human connection provides sales prospects with the assurance that their needs and goals are understood and will be treated as important throughout the sales process. In the psychology of selling, the human connection can come from:

  • Client testimonials and referrals that the sales prospect can relate to, which make it easier for the sales prospect to understand the buying process and commit.
  • You as the sales person, by forming a strong relationship that is based on common interests rather than just selling.
  • Your organization. People like to assign human attributes to abstract concepts and with the right approach and branding you can form an emotional connection between the sales prospect and your organization.

Top sales people are masters at forming the human connections that support the psychology of selling, and will often have sales prospects feeling connected at all three of the above levels. This is one reason why top sales people rarely lose a major sale.

Sales Prospects Require Solutions to Their Emotional Needs

While emotional buying may seem to conflict with the psychology of selling that indicates people need reasons to act, in fact it does not: You can give a sales prospect all of the justification for making a purchase at your disposal, but that sales prospect will not make a move if his or her emotions are not involved in the deal. Sales prospects know that they have needs but are often unclear on what would fulfill those needs – and those needs can be almost anything: Ways to increase quarterly production, better methods of reaching out to clients and customers, or reduced day-to-day workloads are just a few examples.

The notion to understand in the psychology of selling is that sales prospects want to fulfill these needs for a greater future goal, such as company recognition, a raise or promotion, or improved team morale. As a sales person using the psychology of selling, ask searching questions of your sales prospects to find these supporting goals and the approach you need to make sales.

Sales Prospects Like to Experience Before Buying

The final base aspect of the psychology of selling is that sales prospects like to have a glimpse of the future by experiencing a product or service before agreeing to a deal. This helps the prospect see how an offering will eliminate points of pain and perform in real-world scenarios. Always try to integrate a demonstration of your offering in action as part of the psychology of selling after you have begun to address the rational and emotional needs of the sales prospect.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.