The Psychology behind successful conversion of leads (2)


This is the second of three articles explaining the psychology behind successful sales and how to use it to your advantage.

We team up with people like us against common enemies

Sociologist Georg Simmel argues we create common enemies because it unites us with people we think are like us. He also argues that we create enemies to ensure that the world makes sense again. This doesn’t mean you have to invent an enemy!

How you can use this – before, we talked about people’s need to avoid pain, and this is just an extension of that. Think about the benefits of your product or service, especially what pain they remove, then you can explain the pain as a common enemy. For example, building on the example in the previous article of a car with 4 wheel drive:

We all hate not being able to travel when bad weather hits. That’s why this car has 4 wheel drive – so you can get where you want to be regardless of the weather.

The Information Gap Theory

This theory is from George Loewenstein, a professor at Carnegie Mellon. He discovered that when there is a gap between what we know and what we want to know, we will take action to fill that gap.

It’s a bit like having an itch that you want to scratch – your curiosity inspires you to take some action. Not only that, it also increases activity in the parts of the brain associated with pleasure. It’s that self-satisfied feeling when you find the answer you have been looking for!

How you can use this – break down your buying process into a few steps. Don’t try and give a potential customer all the information they would want at the start. It could be too much information for them to take in anyway! In each step, give some information with a question they will want an answer to. Also give a pointer to more information. For example, using the car information above:

We all hate not being able to travel when bad weather hits. That’s why this car has 4 wheel drive – so you can get where you want to be regardless of the weather. To find out how it works, call XXXXX now.

Anticipation is a key stage in happiness

Every time Apple releases a new product there is media coverage of people queuing to be the first to buy. That’s because Apple are expert at building anticipation for any new product release.

Gretchen Rubin is the bestselling author of The Happiness Project. She says: “by having something to look forward to, you bring happiness into your life well before the event actually takes place.”

Apple even has a website dedicated to rumours about new products. This builds anticipation for their eventual releases which in turn increases sales.

How you can use this – Next time you are launching a product or service, create early publicity. Announce it before launch and use social media to get people talking about it.

Social Proof

This is all about potential customers seeing how you have helped someone like them. People are social creatures – we look at people like us to help us decide what actions to take.

Professor of psychology Robert Cialdini says “If you can get people like the person you’re trying to persuade to speak on your behalf, it’s a lot easier than if you have to try to hammer your message into a reticent mind.”

How you can use this – Use case studies to show prospects how much others benefitted from your product. That shows them it works. Use customer testimonials or show how many people use your products to let your audience know your product produces results.

We value relative terms rather than absolute ones

Dan Ariely, the bestselling author of Predictably Irrational says: “humans rarely choose things in absolute terms. We don’t have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth. Rather, we focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another, and estimate value accordingly.”

On other words, we look for comparisons or reference points to help us justify our action. An advert saying “Was £1,000, now £800” is  more effective than an advert that  says “Only £800”. It’s the psychology behind all the sale adverts you see for 3 piece suites!

How you can use this – offer a variety of products and services with different features and pricing. This helps people to compare. They will be thinking should I get product A or product B rather than just “should I get product A or not”.


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