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Psychological Sales and Marketing
July 05, 2011

Psychological Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing is as much about the mental game between yourself and customers as anything else!


Have you noticed that customers who want to buy do not have to be sold? Beyond that, there is the art and science of sales and marketing in engaging and persuading everyone else who is not at the opposite end of the spectrum, which are those folks who are not the right fit for you. How do you go about reaching the most people and generating the most interest? If you think about it, it boils down to psychology: it is rarely the best product or service that wins the day but the business that serves the customer at the right place and time and in the right way.

The right way to treat your customer is a psychological approach based on their personality more than anything else. If you have had any length of experience in sales and marketing you will have realized that, just as there is no one right product or service for everybody, so there is no one right way to treat customers. Saying you should treat your customers right does not even do it and may end up losing you sales, unfortunately. My belief is that customers want to be treated with respect and as responsible people more than being treated nicely.

Treating someone right is often taken to mean that you should be nice and agreeable to people all the time, but have you noticed that you have to be strict with customers sometimes? That is what it means to treat people responsibly: to give them the facts, agree on the process and call them out if they go against common sense or what they said they would do. Customers – especially at the highest level in six and seven figure deals - love sales and marketing that is straight shooting and without the fluff. They want the honest and brutal truth and they want guidance.

I am not saying that you should not be polite and professional at all times, because you should! Your sales and marketing messages should not smack of arrogance. You should not get into heated arguments and the like with your customer, even if you are good friends with them. You should do your homework, respect their time and live up to your end of the bargain by approaching your work with honesty, accountability and intelligence. Now that you have permission to be real with customers, here are some common psychological approaches to winning deals:

The Deal

When you make a deal with your child, there is an explicit understanding that it is a two-way street: you do this and I will do that. Even kids get it but with customers, we often forgo this fundamental bargaining process which is intrinsic to human nature. What we should do is say, “If I show you this, then what?” and agree on next steps until you have a deal. What many sales and marketing professionals do is sell and market and hope a deal will magically appear without ever studying the customer and engaging them in the process.

The Bait

Talking about how good your product or service is does not work until you have your customer's interest and one way to do this is by baiting their curiosity and intelligence. There are many ways to do this but what it boils down to is resisting the urge to talk about your product or service and to talk about something else instead. Sounds counter-productive? It is not, really. What you are doing is building your brand and image through quality discussions and communications so that the customer finally thinks: “Hmm, their product must be good too!”

The Hero

Everyone likes to be a hero and if you are in a position to make your customer a hero, then this can become a central piece of your sales and marketing strategy for those customers. Being a hero essentially describes someone who puts others before themselves. In the case of your customers, this might mean putting their family or company first (by buying your product or service!) or even by being responsible enough to take care of themselves as they should do and as they deserve. Sometimes we need to remind customers of these things and you will find they respond.

The Egoist

Everyone also likes to be praised and I would be ill-advised not to let you know how powerful a sales and marketing tool stroking someone's ego is. In fact, I would say that in the majority of cases, deals happen because you make someone feel good about themselves, it's as simple as that. Bear in mind that the difference between sincere and genuine appreciation of someone and their qualities is very different from self-serving flattery which may get you the deal but will not take you to ultimate success in the long term. Appreciate your customers and they will buy from you.

The Wait

This last one is the staple of seasoned sales and marketing professionals and the goal here is, once again, not to ferociously sell and market to your customers but rather just stay engaged and patiently wait. You are sending out useful information, connecting to say “Hi”, being consummately personable and professional and doing all of those things that we are taught to do but sometimes forget because of our pressing schedules. This sowing mentality will bear a lifetime of fruit because customers will warm up to you eventually. Remember not just to touch base trying to sell but to actually care.

Forget about your product or service for a while and just tune into your customer's mindset to figure out what game they are playing!


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