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7 Psychological Strategies That Can Boost Your Sales

Psychology gives us a lot of insight into how people think and behave. Often, this insight is exactly the opposite of what common sense might tell us.

But either way, the results are the same: when psychological principles are in the hands of a salesperson, they can use this information to increase sales.

Take a look at 7 psychological experiments and how the results of these studies can be applied to sales.

1. Give Your Customers Fewer Choices

It may seem counter-intuitive, but giving your customers more choices leads to a psychological phenomenon called action paralysis. People are unable to make a decision because they are so overwhelmed with all of the choices they have at their fingertips.

They would rather make no decision at all than have to make a tough one (even if the decision is merely deciding what kind of jam to purchase).

Consider the famous jam experiment as one example.

Essentially, the results went like this: when shoppers were given the choice to try a sample from a selection of 24 jams, only 3% bought a jar. But when shoppers were able to choose from a much smaller selection of only 6 jams, 30% of shoppers bought a jar.

Put another way, that’s a ten-fold difference in terms of conversions.

How to Apply Action Paralysis To Sales:

As you can see, you want to give your customers fewer options so that they don’t get overwhelmed. Take a look at your sales page – how many products, services or plans are you offering your customers?

Quick Sprout suggests that between 3 and 5 products is an optimal number as far as your sales page goes. Any more than this and you can quickly paralyze your customers from taking any action at all.

2. Make The Third Option Unattractive

Psychology experiments have shown that people will change their preference between two products when presented with a third unattractive option. This is known as the “Decoy Effect.”

When choosing between two products, people will normally choose based on their own personal preference. But when given a third, unattractive option, they will be more likely to choose the most expensive option.

Consider this psych study:

First, the researcher asks participants to choose between two options: a five-star restaurant that was 25 minutes away or a three-star restaurant that was only 5 minutes away.

People chose based on their own personal preference.

But when the researcher added a third option into the mix (the decoy), which was a four-star restaurant that was 35 minutes away, what do you think they picked?

If you said the five-star restaurant, you are right.

This is why you will often see Apple offering three different products to choose from.

How to Apply The Decoy Effect To Sales:

This one is an easy one to apply. Give your customers a third, unattractive option to choose from and chances are, you will steer them in the right option.

3. Price Your Products Differently

Give shoppers a choice between buying two packages of gum that are priced the same and they will be much less likely to purchase any. But give shoppers the choice between two packages of gum that are only 2 cents different in price and more than 77% will choose to buy a pack.

Those were the results of this study coming out of Yale. When both packages of gum were priced the same (63 cents), only 46% of participants chose to buy a pack.

How to  Apply This Study To Sales:

In short, avoid pricing your products at the same price. It’s as simple as that.

4. Play Upon Our Aversion to Losing

Loss aversion is a well-known psychological principle. In short, it is the idea that we hate losing.

(This likely isn’t that hard to believe).

Consider the following study. In this experiment, participants were given $50 to begin with. They were then told to choose between the option to:

  1. Keep the $30
  2. Gamble with a 50/50 chance of keeping or losing the entire $50

The results?

43% decided to gamble.

But there’s more.

They did the exact same experiment again except they framed it differently in the second experiment. Now, participants could choose to:

  1. Lose $20
  2. Gamble with a 50/50 chance of keeping or losing the entire $50

Keep in mind that framing the experiment as “losing” is what is key here.

In the second experiment, 61% then decided to gamble.

In other words, people were more willing to gamble so that they at least wouldn’t lose the $20 for sure.

How to  Apply Loss Aversion to Sales

Essentially, you want to frame your sales in a way where you pit your product up against a definite loss.

One way to do this is by saying something like ‘Don’t lose $500 every month on paper appointment books. Buy X.’

Again, people hate losing.

Adding this kind of copy to your website will result in a boost in sales.

5. Take Into Consideration Inattentional Blindness

You may already be familiar with the famous (and very fascinating) invisible gorilla experiment, which was a study about selective attention.

If not, it goes something like this:

In the experiment, researchers asked participants to watch a video of people passing a basketball around. They were asked to count how many passes the people wearing the white shirts made.

If you aren’t familiar with this experiment, you should test your own selective attention here.

The results?

An incredible half of the participants did not see the gorilla. Their selective attention essentially led to what has been coined as “inattentional blindness” – an effect that has important implications for those trying to sell.

How to  Apply The Invisible Gorilla Experiment to Sales:

To leverage the results of the invisible gorilla experiment in order to sell more, focus on your landing pages. There’s a reason why website design often emphasizes making your landing pages as clutter free as possible.

Landing pages are designed with a particular goal in mind. So those pages should be as simple and as clutter-free as possible so that people don’t get distracted by superfluous things like GIFs and crazy colours.

6. Emphasize Time Over Cost

If you’re going on and on about how good of a bargain your product or service is, you might want to reconsider.

Studies continue to find that emphasizing time over money is much more powerful. The reason is that people value their time much more than money.

One study, which came out of Stanford Graduate School of Business, went like this:

The researchers set up a lemonade stand with three different signs: one that emphasized time, one that emphasized the cost and one that emphasized neither.

The sign that emphasized time brought in twice as many people as the sign that emphasized the cost. Moreover, people also paid twice as much for a glass of lemonade.

This principle is exactly why Kit Kat has been able to sell so many Kit Kats (have a break, have a Kit Kat) or how Miller Lite has been able to sell so many beers (It’s Miller Time).

How to  Apply This Study To Sales:

Whether you are a front-line sales rep or a copywriter, framing prices in a way that emphasizes the value of your product from a time perspective is much more effective than emphasizing the price of your product.

One such example is by saying “Save Time with X.” Not only will you attract twice as many leads but those leads will be willing to spend twice as much.

7. Appeal to Authority

Another famous experiment that you may be familiar with, the Milgram experiments, has some useful implications for increasing sales.

If you’re not familiar with the Milgram experiment, essentially the study was designed to see how far people would go when it came to being obedient to authority versus listening to their own conscience.

The results?

People will basically listen to authority regardless of what it is you’re asking them to do – even if it means using an electric shock to shock people (keep in mind, of course, that people in the study were only pretending to have been shocked).

Indeed, the experimenter was able to get participants to continue delivering painful electric shocks to others, even though the heard screaming – all because the person telling them what to do was an authority figure.

How to  Apply The Milgram Experiment to Sales

Leverage authority anyway you can. Skincare brand Kiehl’s goes so far as to have their sales reps wear white lab coats.

Add trust seals and industry certifications to your website and landing pages. Add customer logos (logos of companies you’ve been featured in).

When it comes to leveraging authority, the results are endless.

The Bottom Line

The psychological concept of social proof is another way you can leverage psychology to increase conversions.

Indeed, psychology is the every salesperson’s best weapon.

If you’re looking to take your sales team to the next level then applying these 7 psychological sales principles is a great start! Also taking advantage of tools like Yocale online booking software for sales individuals and teams can help keep your calendar in order, allow for an easy to book schedule for prospects and can integrate to hundreds of other softwares.

Yocale is the top scheduling software on the market today. We also offer a free suite of business management and marketing tools.

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