Psychology – the Magic Selling Ingredient

    June 4, 2000

Basic psychology is about people’s needs and their need to fulfil them. Most of us have a distinct priority at any given time, one problem that must be solved before all others, a “one thing at a time” mentality.

You will be unlikely to interest a homeless man in a new car, until he’s fulfilled his basic need for shelter first – unless he plans to live in the vehicle, I suppose.

Understanding this principle and seeing how it applies to selling, will enhance your sales performance zillion-fold. Sell one thing at a time and concentrate on that. Sell other things as “back-end” once the immediate need is fulfilled. Don’t confuse, don’t stray from the point, do stick on the blinkers and keep to the target and the matter in hand.

Don’t overlook the obvious.

Make sure you put the words “Click Here” on a banner. People respond to simple commands. Serve up testimonials next to your products or your newsletter sign-up form. People want to belong to groups: they’ll want to belong to your “club” if it is seen to be a good one and endorsed by others.

Use colours that convey the right image and incite the right actions. Want to be seen as an authority? Use black and yellow. Conservative and business-like? Dark blue, maybe a bit of grey. Business-like and money-orientated? Blue and green – which so many large corporate sites have adopted.

Positioning of elements on a web page also makes a big difference. Apparently, whatever is at the top-right of the screen is what’s most likely to get clicked. The average eye is drawn to that position – nothing to do with Windows’ exit button being up there, I’m sure! This and 90% of the population being right-handed, to me, makes a strong case for right-hand navigation, with your best offer in pole position.

Words: I could write tomes on what you can do with them! But I won’t make an idiot of myself, instead read what great copywriters like David Garfinkel, who is the author of Killer Copy Tactics and widely acclaimed as “The World’s Greatest Copywriting Coach” says. He uses psychology to great effect:

The main point with words is to get to the emotions of your visitors. It has been said time and time again, but all anyone is interested in, is what your product or service will do for them. They do not care who you are or how many bells your widget has: they want to know if it will save them time or money, make them more desirable to the opposite sex or solve some problem they have. You need to show them the problem and how your offer solves it for them.

Some of these things are seemingly very small, simple and insignificant, which is the beauty of them and, at the same time, the very reason why most people will overlook them. Using the right format in terms of colour, design and wording will have psychological influence on your visitors, which turns them into subscribers, buyers or whatever it is you desire.

Great to have power, isn’t it?

I know, I know, it all sounds awfully manipulative and in the wrong hands, I’d tend to agree with you. But I am not talking about making people do something against their will. I am saying that this is nature and harnessing it: guiding people in the direction that they would naturally go, is a far more logical way of obtaining the result you require.

Think about the rules of Judo or Karate, where you utilise your opponent’s own strength to gain advantage. Pushing them further in the direction that they were already going will have them over a lot easier than it would have if you’d struggled to use your strength against them in the opposite direction.

The same goes for mental engagements. People – that includes you and me, whether we wish to admit it or not – do react in almost predictable ways to these stimuli. It is our nature: instinct and it surely makes sense to work with that, rather than against it.

Otherwise, you are fighting against people and nature: giving yourself an uphill struggle, creating an unnecessary battle and a hurdle to be overcome. Don’t make it hard for yourself or your prospective clients. Know who they are and what they need, fulfil that and you are well on your way to success.

Copyright 2003 Pamela Heywood
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