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6 Ways I Use Psychology To Sell (with examples)

<1% use these tricks well

Chris Ritson

24 Nov 2023

3.5 mins

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Everyone I know says their degree is useless for their Sales career. 

Personally, mine isn’t. It’s actually been a god send. 

In 2009, I spent £12k on my Psychology degree (cheap compared to most people). 

But still, it was an investment in myself at the time and continues to be one of the best investments I ever made. 

I believe, most people overcomplicate sales. 

But for me, sales is (and always has been) ‘‘Applied Psychology’’. 

Everyone will tell you things like ‘all prospects are different’ but let me remind you they are all human (including me and you) and they are all fallible to the way the human mind works. 

Over the years, I’ve found a reps ability to understand and leverage their prospects Psychology is what sets them apart from the rest. 

In this weeks newsletter I’ll go into 6 Psychological concepts you can use in your day-to-day with your prospects. 

Unless, of course, you’re prospects aren’t human. 

Lets dive in. 

Number 1: The Bandwagon Effect 

The Bandwagon Phenomenon simply states that people will do something primarily because other people are doing. 

Think of it as a ‘quantity based form of social proof’. For example, if I said 5 SDRs are using my cold call script to book meetings it isn’t particularly persuasive. But if I said 5000+ SDRs are using my script to book meetings it’s considerably more powerful. 

One way I use this is when I have lots of signups to my webinars. I don’t say ‘‘sign-up to my webinar’’. I say 200+ people have signed up. Simple but effective. 

Note, this is slightly different to ‘quality based social proof’ which is more focused on 1 highly specific story at a time. 

If you’d like to go a bit deeper on The Bandwagon Effect, google ‘The Majority Influence’. 

Number 2: The Scarcity Theory 

The Scarcity Theory explains the relationship between supply and demand. Simply put scarcity is ALL about available quantity. 

If something is available in high quantities its easy to get hold of which will drive the price down but when it’s becomes harder to acquire it will in turn drive the price up (Economics 101). 

Controlling the quantity available is therefore highly impactful to driving up the price. For example, think about when you book a flight, there are only ever ‘2/3 seats left available at that price’. How many times have you unconsciously gone and booked that flight? 

Note, scarcity is often abused by sales people using it incorrectly. For example using price increases is not a scarcity tactic. 

Instead, saying something like ‘the first 5 people’ to sign up get an extra X is an example of how you could use this. 

Number 3: The Commitment Bias 

Commitment Bias states that if someone publicly ‘commits’ to taking an action they are much more likely to do it. 

For example, if I tell my friends I’m not drinking for a month the chances of me not drinking considerably increase. 

This is extremely powerful in sales not only with your prospects but also with yourself. 

I used to use this with my teams every morning. I’d ask them to give me their daily commits in front of the team (in person or online). Reps rarely missed those commits. 

Another example comes from with prospects. If a prospects commits to a next step the likelihood of them turning up is much higher when other people are cc’d on the email or on the call. 

However you use The Commitment Bias, make sure you it’s public. 

Number 4: Authority Bias: 

Popularised by S. Milgram, Authority bias is defined by having an unreasonably high confidence in the belief that the information verified by someone with formal authority is correct. 

For example, think about the last time you went to the Doctors. You probably just took their word for it right? 

This is also why your case studies and quotes from your top accounts are considerably more impactful than from people no-one has ever heard of. 

Even if what they’ve said is better. 

For example which one hits home better: 

‘‘We got good results using XYZ’ - Jeff Bezos, Amazon. 

‘‘We could not live with this, the ROI is 100x’’ - Bob Smith, 123 Accounting. 

Authority is powerful when you’re selling. Leverage your authority figures as much as possible. 

Number 5: Loss Aversion Bias: 

This is a cognitive bias that outlines the psychological pain of losing something is twice as powerful as the pleasure from gaining something. 

In Sales we love to give more and more and more. 

What about is your either took something away or showed your prospect what they’re set to lose by not acting. 

You’ll likely have seen the concept of ‘‘Cost of Inaction’’ thrown around a lot but it’s simply The Loss Aversion Bias. 

Number 6: The Halo Effect: 

This is another cognitive bias in which our overall impression of them is influenced by how we feel and think about their character. 

For example, if someone thinks you’re ‘‘nice’’ or a ‘‘good egg’’ they will also likely think you are ‘‘trustworthy’’ and ‘‘smart’’ and therefore be more likely to listen to you and want to do business with you. 

The perfect example of this is when you’re making cold calls. If someone is rude to you, the likelihood of you viewing them as smart (even if they were a CEO), is unlikely. Now apply this to how prospects feel about you. 

I use this a lot to go ‘‘above and beyond’’ with prospects. The action of effort is interpreted as Chris is a nice guy which the Halo Effect takes further to Chris is trustworthy and a good person to do business with. 

By knowing this I’m a step ahead of my competitors who are too busy focused on doing a demo. I’m focused on winning the minds and therefore hearts of my prospects.

Quick Summary: 

Psychology is a significant advantage in Sales if you understand it and know how to apply it to everyday scenarios with customers and prospects. 

The 6 concepts above are a great place to start but remember being able to leverage them is a skill and will take deliberate practice. 

This Week’s Action Step: 

Pick one of the concepts we have covered in this newsletter and try it out this week. 

If you’re not ready for that do some extra reading to help you understand each of them in more detail. 

Master Psychology → Master Selling.

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Weekly Send-Off:

I hope you all have a great weekend and remember:

Until next Friday at 1.05pm, au revoir from me, Bridge, and Isaac 🙂  

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© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.

© 2024 Chris Ritson. All right reserved.