A Comprehensive Guide on the Psychology of Marketing and Sales
The ultimate guide on the psychology behind marketing and sales.
A lot of marketers look at successful sales letters and then try to mimic the words they think will boost sales.
That’s right; they use a swipe file. And then they wonder why their swipe-filled sales letter isn’t generating any sales.
Here’s the thing:
If you don’t understand the psychology of selling, then the words are going to fall flat if they’re not used in the right context.
If you put the components of a sales letter in the wrong order, sales will tank.
If you’re not pushing the right psychological triggers at precisely the right time, the conversion rate could be pretty low.
The point is, to start getting more subscribers and sales, you need to understand why your prospects behave the way they do, what they’re thinking, and how you can get them to act in the desired direction.
That’s precisely what you’re about to discover in this report, where we’ll look at ten psychological sales triggers you can put to work for you starting as soon as today.
You can use these mental triggers in your sales letters, blog posts, newsletters and more.
You can use them to get more subscribers, get sales, get referrals, or whatever else you need to grow your business.
Sounds good, right? Let’s jump in.
Sales Trigger 1: Evoke Reciprocity
Reciprocity works like this: if you give your prospects something valuable, they’ll feel obligated to provide you with something in return. This “something” might be a referral, a sale, an email address, or something else of value to you.
The reason this works is that we tend to get psychologically uncomfortable when we feel like we owe someone something.
TIP: This doesn’t work on everyone. Some people have an entitlement mentality, and you could deliver valuable stuff to their door all day long. And yet they’d have no feeling whatsoever that they owe you anything.
On the flip side, you can’t be a conditional giver. In other words, you can’t give with the expectation of receiving something back. So give freely and don’t worry about whether others are giving you anything in return. Help your prospects, even if you aren’t rewarded for it. If nothing else, this will give you a great reputation in your niche (which, in turn, will boost sales).
Let me give you a real-life example:
Let’s imagine you call up a couple of friends and invite them out to dinner tonight. You take them to a lovely restaurant, and everyone enjoys appetisers, a nice meal, and even dessert. When the bill comes, you snatch it off the table and insist on paying. Your friends argue a bit – after all, this was a lovely meal – but eventually, they relent and then graciously thank you for the meal.
So what happens next?
If you guessed that your friends are going to take you out for dinner some night, you’re right. If they didn’t, they’d start to feel psychologically uneasy. Their unease would grow if you did something else nice for them in the meantime, like bought them a cup of coffee or took them out to the movies. They only way they can get rid of this psychological discomfort is by returning the favour.
Listen, your prospects are the same way. If you do nice things for them, they’ll feel a compulsion to return the favour.
The easiest way to do this is by offering a free lead magnet product, and then sending good content to your mailing list. You can also share good content on your blog and social media platforms. These simple steps will trip the reciprocity trigger.
The key to making this work is to remind people of the trigger when you ask them for a favour. For example: “Since I’ve given you this free video, I’d like you to do a favour for me – click this link to tell your friends about the video. They’re sure to love it just as much as you!”
See how that works? You remind people what you’ve given them, and then you ask for what you want. It’s an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” sort of concept. And yep, it works like crazy to boost response rates.
Now let’s have a look at the next sales trigger…
Sales Trigger 2: Arouse Curiosity
Curiosity is a powerful motivator. That’s because when you inject it into your content, it’s like creating an itch that your readers need to scratch. And the only way they can scratch this itch is by taking some specific action (such as joining your list or buying a product).
Do you ever remember the original BluBlocker sunglasses and their advertising? Marketing expert Joseph Sugarman eventually took over the marketing for these glasses, and they sold tens of millions of pairs. One thing Sugarman did was create curiosity in the original TV ads.
By showing the reactions of real people as they looked through the sunglasses for the first time. They usually exclaimed, “Wow!” And then they’d go on to talk about how everything looked so amazing, and how they’d never worn sunglasses like this before.
Sugarman admitted that they could have slipped a BluBlocker lens over the camera lens to show the home audience what it’s like to look through those sunglasses. But they didn’t do it, because they wanted to arouse the home audience’s curiosity about what it’s like to look through those glasses.
The only way to scratch that curiosity itch was to order the sunglasses by mail. It worked! The BluBlocker company sold millions of pairs of sunglasses in their first few years.
Now you too can use curiosity. Let me give you a few examples:
Example 1: Use curiosity to make sure people keep reading.
Whether it’s a blog post, email, report or even a sales letter, you can evoke curiosity in the beginning or even the middle to keep people reading until the end.
Let me give you a few specific examples:
Build anticipation in the introduction. This works well for content such as blog posts, newsletter articles, and reports. Simply tell people what they’re going to learn in the story or article, and arouse curiosity in the process. For example: You’ll find out what exercise the world’s most élite militaries have used for 500 years to train their best soldiers!
Tell a story, but don’t quite finish it. This arouses emotion, which is a good thing. But if you don’t finish the story right away, it also arouses curiosity. For example: So you’re probably wondering if Jane met her goal and lost 50 pounds. You know what? I think the results are going to surprise you. I’ll tell you all about them in just a few minutes. But first, let me share with you the #1 mistake dieters make that stalls your progress.
Whet their appetite for what’s coming. You can do this anywhere in a sales letter, article or report. For example: Jane got amazing fat-loss results using the same secret your favourite Hollywood celebrities use when they need to shed the fat fast.
You’ll discover this secret in just a moment. But first:
Example 2: Make people curious about a product.
Let’s say you’re selling a book about how to get traffic. You might arouse curiosity by saying something like this:
You’ll discover the closely guarded traffic source that’s never been revealed before – wait till you see how much traffic it could bring!
You can bet anyone interested in getting more traffic will be a bit curious about this little-known traffic source.
Here’s another example that would make a great benefit statement in a bulleted list:
You’ll find out which common herb reduces fine lines and wrinkles – you may already have it in your cupboard! (See page 15 to find out what it is.)
So you can see how this all works. Make people curious, and you’ll keep them hooked on your content, joining your list and buying your product to satisfy their curiosity.
Now the next powerful sales trick:
Sales Trigger 3: Be Specific
People are always a little sceptical when they’re reading bold claims in ads or other content. However, there are ways to cut their scepticism and make them more likely to believe what you’re telling them. One of these ways is by being specific about your claims.
The best way to explain this is with an example. Take a look at these two statements:
Statement 1: You’ll find out how Jorge made $5000 last month with Facebook ads, and how you can too!
Statement 2: You’ll find out how Jorge made $5223 last month with Facebook ads, and how you can too!
Those statements are precisely the same, except for the dollar amount. The first one is an even $5,000, where the second statement is unequivocal.
Guess which statement is more compelling?
If you guessed Statement 2, you’re right. That’s because it’s highly unbelievable that someone made precisely $5000 last month. It’s far more believable that they made $5223. Because the claim is specific, it seems more plausible.
This sales trick doesn’t just work for dollar amounts – it works for almost anything where you can be specific about a number. This includes:
Length of time. For example, “31 days” is more accurate than “one month.”
Weight. “Jack lost 63.5 pounds” is more specific and believable than “Jack lost 60 pounds.”
Other dimensions, such as length and width. “The plants grew 13 inches tall” is more specific and believable than saying they “grew about a foot.”
Number. For example, “15,955 subscribers” is more specific and believable than “about 16,000 subscribers.”
So you get the point. Whenever you can be specific about a number or any other detail, do so because people are more likely to believe particular claims.
Now the next trigger:
Sales Trigger 4: Handle Objections
If you’re selling something, then your prospects are already figuring out reasons why they shouldn’t buy it. These are called objections.
Common objections include the following…
The price is too high. Here the person may be able to afford the product or service, but he still thinks the price is high compared to the value you’ve demonstrated.
You can fix this by demonstrating more value (sharing benefits) and clearly stating your USP (unique selling position). You can also explicitly give people a reason the price is so high.
The price for this inner circle membership is higher than what you’ve seen elsewhere because we only want serious business owners in this élite group.
TIP: Want to see how to prove high prices? Then start reading ads for luxury goods and services, such as Rolex, Mercedes, Bentley, Armani and similar goods. In most cases, you’ll see the price justification is based around their branding and USP.
The price is too low. Low prices sometimes get equated with the product or service being “cheap” or “junk,” so this objection makes people wonder why you’d price the item so low. That’s why you need to justify low prices, too.
I know what you’re thinking – this price is crazy low! You might even be thinking something is missing from this package.
Nope, you get the FULL course for a fraction of the price.
It’s because I want to make this course affordable to everyone. It’s not fair if only rich people can afford this course. So for a limited time, you can get this course for a song – but hurry before this special offer ends!
I can’t afford it. This objection isn’t that the price is too high, but instead that the prospect is thinking he shouldn’t spend his money on that particular item right now. Sometimes that may be true. Sometimes that’s just an objection you need to handle because it’s nothing more than an excuse.
The solution? Justify the price. An excellent way to do this is to compare it to other activities or products which show why your product is a good value.
If you hired a ghostwriter to create this report, you’d pay at least $750 for it. But if you’re one of the first 100 people to act now and get a PLR license, you get full rights to this report for $50. You can’t afford to pass up this steal of a deal!
Another example is to point out how the item is comparable to some small thing the person regularly purchases.
You get this complete report for the price of a small pizza. You won’t find a better way to invest $9, so click the order button below now.
I’m not sure if it will work for me. For this objection, you offer a guarantee (AKA risk reversal).
I’m so confident you’ll love this product that I’m willing to back this offer with an iron-clad 100% money-back guarantee. If you’re unsatisfied for any reason whatsoever, email me, and I’ll promptly issue a full refund – no questions asked.
So you can see how this works. Be sure to handle those common objections you just learned about. However, you need to take it a step further: you’ll need to look at your specific product and figure out what people might object to so you can handle those objections as well.
Sales Trigger 5: Build Credibility
You need to give your prospects a good reason. In other words, you need to build your credibility. Whenever your prospects are reading your sales letter or other content, they’ve got their defence shields up. They’re sceptical. And one of the thoughts that will be floating through their head is this: “Why should I listen to this person?”
You need to give your prospects a good reason. In other words, you need to build your credibility.
Let me give you some examples of credibility-building statements:
Why should you listen to me? Simple: because last year my business generated $1,117,922. I know how marketing works, and now I want to share my secrets with you.
I lost 50 pounds using this diet plan, and I’ve kept it off for three years. I’ve helped 388 other people just like you lose at least 50 pounds too. This plan worked for me, it works for others, and it will work for you too.
My books have soared to the top of the USA Today Bestseller’s lists three times in the past 18 months – so you know this novel-writing course is the real deal.
I’ve spent ten years honing my copywriting skills. My sales letters have pulled in $200 million worth of frontend sales and created countless backend opportunities. Now you too can put my experience and expertise to work for you.
Dr Simon has spent the last two decades learning everything to know about human metabolism. You won’t find a better-researched book or a medical doctor with more experience in this field.
So the bottom line here is to give your readers a reason to listen to you. Do you have experience? Credentials? A degree? Specific results in the field? Awards?
Whatever it is, build your credibility by sharing it with your readers.
Sales Trigger 6: Use Social Proof
Here’s something to understand about your prospects:
They’re unsure of themselves. They’re not sure what to do. They prefer to see what others are doing and then follow along.
That’s right; people tend to be a little conformist.
I’m not making this up. Scientists have proven that people like to conform with others. For example, let me ask you which line is longer:
Line A: —————
Line B: —————————
There’s no question, right? Obviously, Line B is longer. You can show these lines to anyone with normal vision, and they’ll all tell you that Line B is longer.
So let’s imagine you have a guy named Joe who’s judging line length. Three other people in the room are also judging line length, and all three of them say that “Line A” is longer. These three people are shills – they work for the researcher.
After Joe hears all these other people say Line A is longer, he now has to give his answer.
Guess what? Joe is more likely to say “Line A” is longer, even though you can see it in his face that he knows that’s not true. He is merely conforming with the group because it makes him feel more psychologically comfortable to go along with what everyone else is doing and saying. (Hint: This is why “peer pressure” makes such a significant impact on people.)
You can use this tendency to conform to your sales process. All you have to do is show your prospects that everyone else is buying your product, joining your mailing list, or “liking” your social media posts. This is called social proof.
Let me give you specific examples:
Testimonials. Your prospects don’t always believe you (they figure you’re biased), which is why testimonials work so well to boost sales. What’s more, testimonials help trip that conformity reason as well, which also pushes people towards the conformity button.
Tickers. This is where you show people buying a product or joining your site in a live ticker. Of course, you can’t share specifics, but you might have something such as “John from London just joined… Suzy from California just joined…” If you have a lot of sales, subscribers or registrations coming in each day, it’s a powerful way to use social proof to boost your conversion rate further.
Numbers. Think of how McDonald’s Restaurant signs used to say things such as, “Over one billion hamburgers served.” That’s social proof using numbers.
Social media has social proof built right in. For example, anyone visiting your Facebook Page can see how many fans you have, and how many people like, share or comment on your posts.
You can share other numbers as well, such as how many customers you have, how many subscribers, etc. E.G., “3287 satisfied customers can’t be wrong, so order now!”
So here’s the bottom line: show your prospects and visitors that OTHER people are buying your products, subscribing to your newsletter, following you on social media, and other activities. This social proof will get even more people doing the same thing.
Sales Trigger 7: Invoke Fear
Fear is an incredibly powerful motivator. You’ll see everyone from marketers to politicians to bosses to parents using fear to get people to take some specific action. They do it because it works.
Now, I’m not saying you have to act like Freddy Krueger from the horror movies and scare the bediddles out of your prospects. Not at all. Instead, all you have to do is lightly touch the fear trigger to make a significant impact.
Here’s how to do it:
Create a Fear of Missing Out
This phrase (fear of missing out) has become so popular recently that it has its own acronym: FOMO. Typically this applies to people who can’t stop looking at their smartphones because they have a fear of missing out on some Facebook post, pop culture trend, or even an invitation to go out.
You can take this natural fear and funnel it into your sales system by creating a somehow limited offer. For example:
Limit the proposal to a set number of people. For example, perhaps you set up a PLR membership site with a strict membership limit of just 250 people. Or you can offer a bonus or discount to the next 100 people who order now.
Offer a discount or bonus for a limited amount of time. For example, you can offer a 50% discount that ends in 72 hours. As you can see, there are many different ways to create scarcity, boost urgency and in general, develop a sense of fear. These include:
Dime sales (the price goes up every day or after every purchase).
Early bird offers.
Introductory special rates.
Grand opening sales.
I could go on with this list. In all cases, the offer is somehow limited. This creates a fear of missing out on a great deal, which in turn boosts your conversion rate.
Here’s the second way to create fear:
Remind People of Their Fears
One of the best examples of this comes from the marketing you see from insurance companies. They get prospects to imagine what it would be like if they lost everything in a fire, and they didn’t have insurance.
You don’t need to sell insurance to remind people of their fears. No matter what you’re selling, you can remind people of what might happen if they don’t order now. For example:
If you choose to do nothing and leave this sales page, you won’t lose weight. The ridicule might continue. People might give you disapproving looks when you’re out on the street. You’ll hate what you see when you look in the mirror.
This problem is not going to get better if you ignore it. Those few fleas you see on your dog now might multiply. Soon your entire house might be infested. Insects might infiltrate the carpet, the furniture, and even your bed.
Do you see how this works? Create a limited offer or remind people of their fears, and you’ll see a boost to your conversion rate. Now the next conversion-boosting triggers:
Sales Trigger 8: Radiate Authority
You’ve probably heard of the old Stanley Milgram psychology studies, where average people were told by an authority figure – which was a researcher in a white coat — to deliver electric shocks to someone else whom they couldn’t see.
Of course, there weren’t real shocks getting delivered, but the subjects of this experiment didn’t know that. They got told the shocks were real, and they could even hear someone screaming and pleading in the next room over not to shock them. Yet these research subjects kept delivering shocks, all because an authority figure told them to do so.
I’m not suggesting you run around trying to get people to deliver electric shocks to others. Rather, you can use any authority you might own to help build your credibility, get people to listen to you, and get people to do what you want.
State Your Credentials
If you have some position of authority in your niche, then be sure others know about your credentials. This might be a degree or career paths, such as a doctor, lawyer or law enforcement. If you have a photo to back this up – such as you in judge’s robes or a uniform – include this with your content.
Borrow Other People’s Authority
If you don’t have a position of authority, you can still use influence to your advantage by borrowing other people’s position of authority. How? By doing joint ventures or even just getting testimonials from authority figures.
For example, maybe you have a diet guide. You can have medical doctors and nutritionists review it and offer their testimonials.
TIP: This is like the advertisements where they state something like, “four out of five dentists agree.” That’s using borrowed authority to boost sales.
You don’t have to have any specific credentials to position yourself as an authority in your niche. If you’re an expert, then act like one. Be a strong leader. For example:
Speak (write) with confidence. The more confident you sound in your articles, sales letters, blog posts, and other content, the more likely it is people might follow you without question.
Position yourself as an authority. This means blanketing your niche with content. Write guest blog posts. Write and publish a book. Give talks. The more people see your excellent content, the more they’ll associate you with authority in a niche.
So the bottom line is thus to set up yourself as an authority, show your credentials when applicable, and borrow other people’s authority when possible.
Together, these tactics could boost your conversion rate.
Sales Trigger 9: Be Honest
I know it seems like common sense that you should be honest. But the truth is, a lot of people seem to think that marketers and salespeople aren’t trustworthy. Just ask anyone what their impressions are of used-car dealers. That’s an entire profession where everyone tends to get lumped into the “dishonest” pile. Those writing ads of any kind aren’t far behind.
Of course, salespeople don’t help their own image. While the majority don’t tell outright lies, many of them skirt around the truth with “errors of omission.” In other words, these marketers and salespeople don’t let prospects know what’s wrong with the product.
Now here’s a trick to boost your conversion rate: be honest with your prospects, tell them all about the flaws, and then turn these perceived flaws into assets.
Just that you’re being honest about a product or service is going to make people trust you more, which in turn boosts sales. However, the other part of this is that you’re handing an objection by turning a perceived flaw into an asset. As you learned earlier in this report, handing objections is another good way to boost your conversion rate.
Let me give you a real-life example of turning a liability or flaw into an asset.
Listerine is a mouthwash that’s known for having a strong taste. Scope (a mouthwash competitor) directly attacked Listerine by saying that using Scope produces fresh breath without “medicine mouth.”
So now Listerine is having a perception problem in that prospects think their product is going to taste yucky, like medicine. Listerine responds with ads that say this: “Listerine: You can handle it. Germs can’t.”
Boom. Listerine is saying in these ads that the strong taste is what kills the germs. And by inference, they’re saying that any mouthwash that doesn’t have a strong taste probably isn’t killing bacteria.
See how that works? Listerine didn’t hide the fact that they have a strong-tasting mouthwash. Instead, they turned that perceived weakness into a strength of the product by suggesting their product tastes strong because it kills germs.
Now you can boost your conversion rates and sales using this same strategy. Simply be honest no matter what you’re selling (your product or an affiliate product), and turn perceived flaws into assets when possible.
For example, maybe you’re selling an ebook that seems a bit thin compared to other ebooks on the topic. Some people might feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth if the book is too short. You can turn this perceived flaw into an asset by saying this book is for busy people – there’s no fluff, no filler, just meat.
So go ahead and think about what’s wrong with your products and the affiliate products you’re selling. Don’t hide these flaws in your sales copy and product reviews. Instead, put ‘em front and centre, and turn the perceived deficiencies into strengths.
Sales Trigger 10: Evoke Consistency
People don’t want to view themselves as wishy-washy flip-floppers who change their mind when the wind blows. People like to see themselves as consistent and committed. You can use this psychological fact to boost your sales.
How? By using the foot in the door technique.
It works like this:
You get your “foot in the door” by getting your prospect to perform some small action or do you some small favour. Then later, you ask them for a bigger favour. Since they want to appear consistent, they’re likely to do your bigger favour.
Researchers have examined this psychological trigger, and they’ve found it truly works. Researchers started by asking people in a neighbourhood to put a big, ugly sign in their front yard. Naturally, the majority of people said no.
Then these researchers did a test with another group of folks. They asked this second group to put a small placard in their window that promoted picking up trash or some other neutral activity. Many people said yes because it was an easy way to support beautifying the neighbourhood.
A couple of weeks later, researchers returned to those who displayed the placard and asked if they’d also display a yard sign. You got it – that yard sign was the big, ugly one. And you know what? A bunch of these people said yes because they wanted to stay consistent.
So here’s the point: if you ask for a big favour right away, people will outright say no. But ask them for a small, easy favour first to get your foot in the door, and these folks are more likely to say yes when you ask for a bigger favour later.
Ask people to join your mailing list first (easy favour), and then later ask them to buy your entry-level product.
Ask people to buy your entry-level product, then ask them to buy your home study course.
Offer an upsell to those who’re in the process of buying your course.
Ask people who’ve “liked” your social media content to share it with their friends.
Propose a small, easy joint venture with a partner first, and then later propose a more significant joint venture project.
Ask your prospects to enter your free contest, and then later ask them to register for a webinar.
You get the idea. Get your foot in the door with small requests and see if you too don’t get a bigger response rate when you make larger requests.
Now let’s wrap things up:
What you’ve learned in this report is like pulling back the curtain to see how the world’s best marketers, salespeople, and politicians seem almost magically to lead people to do what they want. And now you too can boost your sales and response rates by employing the following ten psychological sales triggers:
Now the key here is to not cherry-pick through these methods and merely use a few of them. Instead, put as many of these methods to work for you every time you write a sales letter, publish a newsletter, post something on your blog, or write any other type of persuasive content.
These are potent triggers that researchers have proved time and again work like crazy to boost your response rates. But don’t take my word for it – try them for yourself to see what kind of results you’ll get. I think you’ll be amazed!