The Sales Psychology Series – Part 1 : Cognitive Biases That Influence Buying Decisions

Cognitive psychology that affects sales

We, humans are interesting creatures. The minute wirings of our brains are not just biological determiners of our health, they also define the course of our social behavior in manifold ways. In this sales psychology series, we’ll explore how our innate cognitive biases affect the transactions we make, and how these biases can be used to guide the process of selling.

1) Anchoring effect:
As humans, we tend to vacillate between choices, decisions and opinions. First, there is a struggle between our left and right brains, and secondly, we tend to get entangled in social comparisons. The Anchoring effect makes us dependent on our ability to connect with certain aspects of a product that cater to our existing problems. The first impression also acts as another anchor for buyers. It helps them understand the rest of the presentations better if can relate to your product right from the start.

Sales Takeaway: Work on delivering the core product message right at the beginning of the conversation. Use targeted and crisp 2-3 lines to define the product and the problem it’ll solve for them. Direct your customer’s mind to anchors that you want them to stick to throughout the presentation. Work with your marketing teams to collate competitive battle cards that will help you both cross sell and up sell your products.

2) Bandwagon effect: There’s a reason why trends work and stereotypes are formed. People naturally gravitate towards products that others have found useful. Larger the crowd, greater the psychological pull. While making buying decisions, we tend to trust peer reviews and success stories more than product functionalities.

Sales takeaway: Social proof is quite powerful. Mentioning number of customers, dropping names of clients you work with is also useful. Work on a strong referral pipeline system. Especially for niche B2B products, show your prospects the bandwagon they can jump onto. Work on building strong branding elements. People like to relate to an identity that reflects their personality. While communicating the core product offering, make sure to clearly establish your brands’ personality. This personality should connect to your prospects’ social profile, behaviour and interactions.

3) Loss aversion:
We all fear losing out. Professionally most of us are wired to do whatever it takes to avert any losses. This fear at a psychological is a strong driver of our efforts and actions. If you fear losing out on competition or the possibility of a good outcome, you’ll be cautious to let go of any opportunity that’ll give you an edge over others.

Sales Takeaway: Position your product as a solution and a value addition. If they don’t use it, they will lose out on being ahead of any competition. Play on their fear that competitors might be using or will something similar. Use success metrics from companies under the same industry vertical and showcase what features they used.

4) One step into the door:

This technique comes handy while getting a person to agree to one service, and then cross-selling other additional services that might be useful for them. The crux lies in establishing credibility based on which they will be able to adopt your view and services. This works well with sceptical customers who might be constrained financially or logistically to make a buying decision at that point in time.

Sales Takeaway:

After an initial introduction, email marketing as follow-up step deploys this technique pretty well. Create interesting and informative content that can be shared with your prospects. For eg. infographics, newsletter, animations. It lets you stay on the top of the lead’s mind without being intrusive. They know where to reach you when the time arrives. Email marketing is a great way for nurturing quality sales via email.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where we’ll bring to you another 5 cognitive biases that you can use to accelerate your sales.

Meanwhile, you can download our free whitepaper on “Best Practices from Event Marketers For Successful B2B Meetings”

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