The Psychology of Selling

“I need it!” The urge to buy a product is a desire. Often products are not needed or necessary to our lives, but we know we need it. Why do your customers buy from you?

The customer is the lifeblood of a business. He wants your products. You are only too glad to supply products that he wants. But, what if he decides to buy from your competitor? Or she has a bad experience with customer support? In other words, how do you successfully sell your wares to people?

You can design a product. Manufacture it. Mass produce it. Ship it to retail locations where the retailer will place it on a shelf. But, the product could be left on the shelf for weeks and months. What are the operative methods for selling?

Why Do We Buy?

The reason for buying some products is to satisfy basic needs. We need food to survive. But, there are variations in the type of food we buy. Depending on your diet or culture or nationality, the staples may include bread, milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Some cultures may substitute rice for the bread or opt out of milk in favor of water. Basic food is a necessity.

The old saying goes that “Man cannot survive by bread alone.” As consumers, we crave variety. We want peanut butter for our bread. crackers with our cheese, and a variety of sauces for our meats. We’re not satisfied with the basics, are we? We want more.

From homes to cars to boats to designer duds to you-name-it, we want to buy it. With the many varieties of stuff on the market, let’s look at the psychology of selling. Why are we motivated to buy Product A rather than the equally fabulous Product B?

What Is the Psychology of Selling?

Successful selling requires four basic steps, also know as AIDA:

  1. Attention or arouse the curiosity of your customers by drawing attention to your product.
  2. Interest in doing something about it.
  3. Desire for one product or service in particular
  4. Action — your customer needs to take action to buy the product.

Customers are attracted by signs, musical jingles on the radio, a recorded message on the company’s customer service line, direct mail, pop up ads, and many more instances where a brand gets its image in front of a customer. From the company website to social media like Twitter and Facebook, to good old word-of-mouth marketing, the company’s message needs to get across to consumers.

You can attract the attention of a customer through advertising. Advertising is a method for conveying the company’s message. Never underestimate the power of an ad. The multimillion dollar Super Bowl ads and the teeny tiny ad for the oil change business in your newspaper have one thing in common: both ad attract the attention of your customer. Ads serve as a memory trigger. For instance, say you need to shop for a BBQ. As you peruse the cans, you’ll see a can of Bush’s beans and think of the dog who knows the secret recipe. The memory of the commercial gives you happy feelings. The slam dunk of the ad occurs when you places the can in the cart. The company has successfully transferred the company’s message to you, the consumer through the psychology of selling.

Once you have attracted the attention of the prospective buyer, you need to establish a level of interest for the product. What does the customer want? Why does she need it? How will you make your product become the first thing that comes to mind when she thinks of mouthwash.

With your customer’s interest piqued, you can give him more reasons to buy the product. If a product was packaged in a brown paper bag and placed on a shelf, the customer would not know what the product was. We want to touch, squeeze, examine, and investigate our purchases. From squeezing the tomato to thumping the watermelon, we want to know we are getting a good deal. A flashy website for a shoddy product will lead to a surge in customer returns.

First create a fabulous product. Safety test it. Show it to peer review groups. Design packaging that tells the consumer immediately what he is buying. Give the customer a reason to pick up the package or click “Buy” on the website. Oh, and don’t forget to send the product to bloggers to review and promote on their blogs and to their social media audiences on Twitter and Facebook.

A consumer may desire a product. The customer may not be able to explain why she needs it. All she knows is that she must have it. This coveted product may be completely frivolous and ridiculous.

Do you really need a Snuggie? Wouldn’t an honest-to-goodness blanket work just as well? Our desire for a Snuggie stems from the ad. Perhaps the girl in the TV ad looked super snug and warm in her Snuggie. Was it the leopard print that piqued your interest in purchasing one? Or, maybe you want to get one for your elderly mother who likes to read in her chair, but can’t hold her book while a blanket covers her hands. Whatever the reason, you will reach for the phone, dial the number, order the blanket, and wait eagerly for the FedEx truck to deliver it.

“Ahhh…my Snuggie is here!”

The action of calling and ordering is the end game in a chain reaction that began with the ad or sign or recorded message on a call or icon on a website.

Selling is a psychological game, and one none of us are immune to.

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