Sometimes it’s easy to make a sale other times it seems the hardest thing in the world to achieve, anyone who sells things for a living, online or offline should know the psychological triggers of selling.
It can be suggested that people make decisions emotionally, i.e. they base a decision on their mood, feeling, need or emotions and not through a well thought out logical process. In some respects, you could say this is a form of impulse purchasing which used in the correct circumstances can be incredibly powerful tool.
For generations, marketers, sales people and business owners have attempted to gauge people’s thoughts and feelings to sell more products and services to them, a great example of this is “social proof” or “friend proof”. This principle concept is connected to the notion of liking and being liked. As humans, we’re very sociable creatures we naturally have a tendency in wanting to be liked by our peers, we also tend to like things just because other people do as well, even if we don’t like it.
We do this because we’re programmed to generally gain acceptance from society, that’s why large companies use celebrities in their marketing campaigns to influence and encourage the consumers perception of their brand. Companies are psychologically triggering our minds through the celebrity whose worth has already been proven on a worldwide scale, thus re-enforcing the encapsulation of both national and universal values.
For example, a sporting star may represent elements such as performance, power, strength and style, which could also be shared with a luxury car manufacturer or an international clothing brand.
This shared crossover within cultures is certainly a form of psychological currency in which anybody can tap into, be it large or small. It can be stated that the methods behind this strategy is actually a form of risk removal, from a multinational company to a small-town coffee shop, if you can reduce risks then you immediately have a psychological edge.
This is a great trick in influencing your client or customer in a non-obvious way, by using something which is familiar to them you’re adding rationalisation to their thinking, thus they perceive your product as “safe” and make a purchase. It’s very like social networking, the pages with no fans or followers are deemed “rubbish” and therefore unpopular, the pages with thousands or even millions of followers are perceived as “good” because a lot of people want to be associated with them.
In our ever-changing world we’re often looking for opinions of others to evaluate our own potential purchases, as a sales person or business owner this is something you should be extremely aware of, if you aren’t already.
I was recently reading an online study that highlighted over 70% of Americans say they read product reviews before they make a purchase. It also highlighted that over 60% of consumers are more likely to purchase if a product has reviews or a rating attached to it. It can be argued that the “new” online system of ratings and reviews is simply the “old school” testimonial system but in a modern format. Once again this is clearly a form of social proofing which influences your customers buying habits on a daily basis.
Generating a positive review or testimonial is highlighting three important elements, firstly your authenticity, your credibility and the fact you’re trustworthy. It cannot be under estimated how crucial these factors are in closing any sale or creating a successful business. When using testimonials in promotional literature, a lot of people make the mistake of not including enough information about the person who has given the review. Have you ever seen a testimonial like this: –
Mark, London – “I really loved the product and service, thanks !”
It doesn’t exactly jump out as being the real deal does it? This the challenge you have to face up to, making a testimonial appear credible in the eyes of your customers is vital, some people fake reviews, others are genuine, but how is a potential customer meant to know the different between the two?
It’s highly recommended that with any testimonial you include the customer’s name, a clear head shot and a website or location when possible. It definitely goes without saying that “higher profile” customers you can use, the better your credibility will be. However, this doesn’t have to be a pop star or movie star, it can be a community leader or a respected figure within your local region. For example:
Equally the format in which you present the testimonial or review can either help or hinder you, a nice clean layout like the example above with the text placed on the left-hand side and an image on the right can portray a professional image that your customers can believe in.
A customer shouldn’t have to “dig” for testimonials or lack of information about how you handle your business transactions, you need to clearly portray that praise and recognition is a continuous part of your business.
Only recently I was reading a testimonial on a promotional brochure, which was out dated (by several years) and I ended up questioning whether I wanted to spend my money or not. As crazy as it sounds it gave me the impression that either, the company hadn’t received any positive feedback for years, thus their product wasn’t very good or they were so lazy they couldn’t be bothered to update their PROMOTIONAL literature.
The whole point of the brochure was to excite me into forming a commercial relationship, I ended up feeling rather underwhelmed and disappointed. Ultimately the whole point to a testimonial or review is to overcome any doubt a potential client may have before they commit to a sale with you, even bad reviews (particularly online) can help in you some circumstances. This gives you the perfect opportunity to solve the issue present and winning potential customers from your exceptional customer service.
Under-promise and Over-deliver
The most successful salespeople constantly build trust, they do this by outperforming their own promises, in other words they WOW the customer or client, one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was to under-promise and over-deliver, it’s a powerful approach that certainly works, if you promise the world and fall short, a customer will never forget, if you promise as little as possible and deliver the world, the customer will be coming back time and time again.
Generally, a beginners mistake is to over promise something they simply cannot deliver, if you have been a sales professional for an extended period of time, you simply should not be making this basic error, by over delivering you’re enforcing an idea in THEIR MIND that you’re going above and beyond what’s expected for them.
Many of the salespeople I have spoken to always recommended to under promise nine times out of ten, because you simply can’t foresee any future problems arising.
A few years ago one sales professional I know told me a story about how he over-promised on one of his first sales, a customer walked into the shop and wanted a new television as a present for their son.
He asked what they required and explained all the product
specifications in detail, he then asked about delivery, when and where they
would like the TV to be delivered. ‘We need it for the weekend, it’s our son’s
birthday!’ they said! The sales professional rang the manufacturer and they
said the TV would arrive to the store within a few days, he told the customer
and the deal was completed.
A few days later the TV was delivered to the shop and it was DAMAGED on arrival, ‘oh no, this is no good’ he said, the television was sent back to the manufacturer and he had to ring the customer up to apologise for the delay in delivering their goods. Obviously, the customer wasn’t happy but he assured them the television would be delivered swiftly in the next coming days ready for their sons birthday.
Fast forward a few days and the television arrived from the manufacturer for a second time, the TV was inspected and once again they’re was a fault with it’s construction, ‘Oh no’ he repeated again, the TV was sent back to the manufacturer while he rang the customer to explain the situation once again.
Ultimately the customer wasn’t happy with the service they received and decided to ask for a refund on their purchase, the sales professional attempted to sell them an alternative television they had in stock, but the customers didn’t want to operate with the shop any longer and went to a competitor who could supply them with the television they wanted.
As you can see if the sales professional hadn’t of over-promised in the first place this situation would have never occurred, it can be argued that the problem which did occur was ‘out’ of the salespersons control however that isn’t the customers problem, the fact of the matter is, the sales professional promised a new television by a set date and failed to deliver.
This story is a good example of how no matter what unique set of circumstances occur, you will always be the person to blame if something does go wrong, the famous proverb ‘the customer is always right’ is correct for one sole reason, they are giving YOU money, if you want their money, you will make sure you go out of your way to please them.