The psychology behind successful conversion of leads (1)


The key to converting a lead to a sale is to understand the psychological triggers that will drive your potential customers to take action (and then to make sure you can pull the trigger!).

We’ve read a lot of research about why people choose to buy (it’s the same for businesses as it’s people who make the buying decisions at the end of the day), and here is our take on it:

All human beings have the same mental triggers that cause action – if you know what they are you will be successful in influencing them to buy from you.

Everyone is driven by the need to avoid pain

We all have what psychologists call “the negativity bias.” We do more to avoid pain than we do to gain pleasure. This works on a neurological level as well – the brain lights up more from negative external stimuli than from positive ones.

This is the most important trigger – but people are not all the same, and what some see as pain, others see as pleasure (no, it’s not that sort of article!). The key is to understand what your target market is so you can understand what they see as pain.

How you can use this – typical “pains” are time spent, complexity, cost, inefficiency. Once you understand what pains you can solve for your target market, make sure your marketing explains that you offer a solution for them. You then need to build on this approach when talking to a lead – take time to find out not only what problem or challenge they have, but also what pain it is causing them (asking an open question such as “how do you feel about that?” can work well).

Most people love novelty – something new or different

Neurologists have proved that exposure to something new and unfamiliar increases the release of dopamine in the brain and generates a feeling of pleasure. This is why Apple releases a new iPhone or iPad regularly – although they are not significantly different to the previous model, they know that people will want to experience new features or experiences and therefore will buy the new product.

How you can use this – what is new or different about your product or service? How can you continually refresh it by adding new features or benefits?

People are looking for answers and reasons why

From the minute we learn to talk, we’re always asking questions – why is the sky blue, are we nearly there yet?

Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, a psychology professor at the University of California, found that our rational mind is always searching for meanings, even when there is no inherent meaning. Essentially, we seek out explanations to understand everything we experience.

The Xerox experiment by psychologist Ellen Langer found that people are willing to do more for you if you give them a reason, even if the reason is completely arbitrary (people standing in line to use a photocopier were 34% more likely to let someone cut in front of them, even when their reason was as meaningless as “because I have to make some copies”).

How you can use this – explain why you offer a product or service (and the features of them as well) and you increase the likelihood that someone will buy from you. Sometimes this is explained as “features which mean that..benefits”. For example – This car has 4 wheel drive, which means that you can travel safely on icy roads.

Story telling is an emotional trigger

When we read or listen to a story it impacts our subconscious, emotional brain which is associated with sight, sound, taste, and movement. Research has proved that this is where people make their decision whether or not to buy.

How you can use this – as a business owner, you need to write stories about your products and services that bring the benefits to life. This could be something as simple as a case study or testimonial, or take the car example above and add a story:

This car has 4 wheel drive, which means that you can travel safely on icy roads. Imagine being able to get home without worrying about having to abandon your car and struggle home through the snow and ice in the dark.

The law of least effort

Nobel Prize winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, says “A general ‘law of least effort’ applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature.”

In simple terms, people will always look for the quickest, easiest way to get what they want or where they want to be –a bit like water running down a mountain which always finds the easiest route!

How you can use this – create an easy to follow process for your potential customers. Show them how your product or service makes it easy to achieve the result they want in the fastest time possible.

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