Where Sales Psychology Wins and Ends


I had a recent client find his Eureka idea, “I had no idea how much of sales is about psychology.” I’m happy to quote the father of my former franchise David Sandler who said that selling is a Broadway play performed by a psychiatrist. Sales professionals have long known, by training or by instinct that psychology is fundamental to success. There are 3 aspects of sales psychology that correlate to 3 super-steps of sales but there’s also often an end point that can supersede psychology.

Before we get to the end point let’s identify these rule of three players. The overview 3 parts of selling are 1) Qualifying a prospect, 2) Discovering needs, value and fit and 3) Closing and delivering. Obviously there are many sub-steps to each of those, (including our 3 Agreements™process) and psychology has many corresponding miens in those steps but to think about where human behavior science as a sales process goes there are also 3 fundamentals…

Psychology #1: The Seller Brain

The starting point for anyone who has to sell to consider lies between their own 2 ears. How you see yourself dictates how you will act. Do you fear rejection or confrontation? Do you crave approval? Is procrastination your rationalization to avoid what you fear or dislike doing? Can you see yourself as an equal to your prospect or do you assume a subservient or compliant posture at the first sign of conflict? Before anyone learns how to use psychology to influence others they must face their own inner psyche and how it influences their goals, dreams and behaviors.

Psychology #2: The Buyer Mindset

Every prospect brings their experience with both buying and selling to any sales discussion. Do they see themselves as above any seller, that their time is more valuable and that they are suspicious of professional salespeople? Even open minded and fair people however, can have very different feelings and attitudes about money, value and making or sticking to decisions and commitments. They key for successful sellers is to discover those feelings, thoughts, prejudices and vulnerabilities in their prospect and understand how to utilize or counter their profile. Sales is so hard because people have a multitude of combinations of fears, anxieties, trust preconceptions and many aspects can be hidden, guarded or subdued and worse, people come to believe their own lies.

Psychology #3: Sensitivity To Emotion

The psychology of emotion is a huge factor in professional sales success. While many transactions can be cut and dry, needs and services can align where surface value and facts make sales. But, for most sales where you have to get an audience, cut through competition, help a buyer see why he needs you and make your offering a priority to be acted and a commitment to be made and honored psychology the grease on those wheels is emotion. When the first two aspects of psychology are conscious and directed then the techniques to convert facts to fears, opportunities to devotion and drive inaction to action are about the skill to use psychology to steer those conversions and change talk to money.

The Brain-Behavior Limit

There are sellers who are great at understanding the psychology of selling and it expedites their success. The real good ones are also great closers and psychology can be a part of that too whether it is in unearthing hidden decision makers or dealing with buyer’s remorse in advance they close with the science of the mind. I concede however, there also successful sellers who, quite frankly, are bulls in china shops when it comes to mental processing but they have enough personality and persistence to close. Likewise, there are those sellers ripe with empathy who lack enough of the killer instinct to make sure their efforts end in a contract or getting a check.

Whether your job is professional seller or you are in a position as an owner or a senior executive where no matter what your “other” responsibilities you still have to sell, it is highly worthwhile to understand, and attempt to master, an understanding of how psychology influences purchasing and get the techniques and actions that facilitate it. Otherwise, you can always try that hungry lion approach and keep hunting until you get to eat what you kill. Then again, enough of both probably puts you at the top of the class.

© 2017 MyEureka Solutions LLC. You can find Tom’s articles on LinkedIn or at www.myeurekasolutions.com/thoughts. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomFoxTrainer.

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