Posted: 2005-01-12 / Author: Marketing Basics
Why People Buy: The Psychology Of Sales And MarketingDid you know that when people make a purchase, they generally buy with their emotions and then justify their decision with logic later on?
What? You didn't know that? If you truly want to succeed in business, you need to learn and understand how using psychology can set you apart from the rest of your competition and take your business to the next level.
Psychology can be applied to all aspects of your sales and marketing efforts and will give you that all important "edge" over your competitors.
When you write an ad or sales letter, seek first to understand, then to be understood. In other words, first strive to understand what's going on in the readers mind, and attempt to allay any fears or doubts.
When you do this, the reader will have the perception that you understand and care about him and he in turn will begin to care about and understand you--thus greatly increasing your chances for making the sale.
People desperately want to feel cared for and understood more than anything else, and the businesses that understand this vital pyschological factor will gain a major advantage over their competitors.
Also, when writing your marketing materials, bear in mind, people respond more to what they are going to lose than to what they are going to gain. It's called "fear of loss."
Ask yourself: What will my customers stand to lose if they do not buy my product or service?
In your sales letter, mention to your readers that it will only take a few minutes, to show them how they can benefit from what you're offering. This will mentally slow them down and partially alleviate any hesitation on their part.
In addition, reward them for taking the time to read your letter. Offer to give them a free gift. For example: free reports or gift certificates work extremely well as freebies. Why? Because they're low-cost with a perceived high value--and perception is reality.
Did you know you can increase your sales by using pictures of attractive people using your product or service? It's true.
Why is this? Well, first of all, it humanizes your product or service and prospects perceive you to be more professional and trustworthy. Again, perception is reality.
Secondly, people like looking at attractive people. Big business has known this for years. Just look at how attractive those people are in magazine ads and on television commercials.
You can also use this knowledge to your advantage on your business cards, brochures and website. This is especially true for small "mom and pop" businesses. If you're reasonably attractive, always include your photo on your website and marketing materials.
The reverse also holds true. If you're not attractive, you're better off not using a picture. You risk losing customers and turning people off. The same rule applies if you're a minority. You're better off not using your picture, regardless of how attractive you are.
Why? Unfortunately, we still live in a world where people have prejudices. That's just the way it is. You don't want to lose sales because someone has a problem with your nationality or the color of your skin or the shape of your eyes. Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying. I'm not suggesting that this happens a lot--but it does happen. Why take the chance.
No matter what type of business you have, in your marketing materials you MUST sell benefits, not features. People only care about one thing, "what's in it for me?"
A feature is a characteristic of your product or service. A benefit is what that feature does for a customer. Here are a couple examples of features and benefits:
Feature: At Consolidated Bank, there's NEVER a charge for using other bank's ATMs.
Benefits: You can get cash wherever you are, when you need it, and save money.
Feature: At ABC Employment Service, we test applicants office skills, such as typing speed.
Benefits: When we send you an applicant, they meet your minimum requirements, and you don't have to waste valuable time testing them yourself.
Here's a little trick for finding the benefit within the feature. List a feature then ask yourself, "So what?" What does that feature do for my customers? For example:
Feature: Personalized service.
Benefit: The benefit of our personalized service is that we take the time to understand your needs."
Don't stop there. So what? What does working with people who take the time to understand their customers needs do for your customers?
Benefit: Since we take the time to understand your needs, we can better anticipate potential problems and save you time, money and aggravation.
Bingo! Almost everyone likes to save time and money, and less aggravation is always good, so this is a real benefit statement.
Though benefits can be described in a million ways, there are really only five main categories:
1. Convenience: Saves time or effort.
2. Saves money or increases money.
3. Provides peace of mind.
4. Appeals to image or ego.
5. Fun or enjoyment.
In addition, one single feature can have lots of benefits to one customer. Benefit statements don't necessarily have to include one feature and one benefit, each.
Also, keep in mind, just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too are benefits. One person might buy an SUV because he needs room to transport five kids; another person buys the same SUV because she likes the comfortable ride and enjoys sitting up high overlooking other cars.
v Another powerful psychological strategy is using a technique that appears to lower the price of your product or service, without actually doing so.
For example, if you charge $1000 per year for your product or service, you can break it down for the reader so that they understand it's really only $19.23 per week." It's the exact same price, however, $19.23 per week is a lot easier to psychologically digest and justify than $1000.
If you would like to start utilizing the immense power of psychology immediately in all your marketing efforts, I highly recommend the following books:
"Compelling Selling: A Framework for Persuasion," by Philip R. Lund and "Secrets of Closing the Sale," by Zig Ziglar
Since they're all-time classics, you should be able to find both both books at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com. Enjoy!
Marketing Basics specializes in writing articles that teach, explain and define basic marketing principles and techniques. http://marketingbasics.blogspot.com/
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