Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Category: Pricing Strategy

The Psychology of Selling

Understanding the Psychology of sellingIf You Understand The Psychology of Selling; That’s How People React to Various Buying and Selling Situations, You’ll Sell More

Online or offline, the basic psychology is the same and it is a subject we all need to have a basic awareness of if we are to succeed in business.

For example, when people go to a website they expect the menu bar to be in the “usual place”.  In other words across the top of the page and perhaps down the left-hand side in some cases.  They expect to find some stuff in the right-hand column in some cases. What they don’t expect is for the menu bar to be in the footer or across the middle of the page. We expect to see a pattern we recognise.


Why are Patterns Important?


There is a simple psychological reason for this. As a species, we expect to see patterns in life.  We react to patterns.  We hate change and react against it. It reinforces the inertia in us and it is difficult to break people of this habit.

Most of the time, we look for patterns that match our habits. When we find a pattern match, we can embrace it without re-evaluating our beliefs.

So if someone has never eaten meat it is very difficult to convince them that they should buy your new meat product.  They don’t recognise the pattern.  but offer them a new fruit or vegetable and they live in a world where fruit and veg is part of the pattern they recognise and they are much more likely to buy.  Tell them that you know they love trying new types of fruit and that you have one you know they will enjoy trying and you will find them very receptive to the idea. Patterns are like beliefs or habits; hard to break or change.

So selling the idea of me taking the train when I’d always driven was a really hard sell.  Logic didn’t come into it.  I understood that it could be more relaxing, that I could work on the train or even sleep on the train, but I remembered my car driving pattern. What I did recall was the time the train was late on one of the few occasions I took a train. 

At this point selling me a new car, it fitted my pattern, would have been easy.


Disruption Breaks Patterns

It was only when my pattern was disrupted that I considered taking trains more frequently. I reached the age when I could get a discount card that could be used on the rail. The idea of saving money appealed more than the logic of using a train.  So I bought into the idea of a discount card and the spin-off I take the train a bit more often now.  It took disruption to break the pattern.

As a species we are are pattern-matching machines. Logic doesn’t come into it. But if we can match the pattern that our prospect adheres to it is much easier to sell to them. 


Understanding the Value of Price

Bread at this price proves price isn't a deterrent if you position it correctlyLow Prices Say Cheap & Nasty, Higher Prices Say Quality


OK, that a generalisation and there is a place for piling it high and selling it cheap. But generally speaking, people don’t buy on price alone. They also need to trust a brand. For example, if you buy some glue to make a repair, you expect the glue to work. So if you have to choose between a well-known brand and a cheaper unknown brand. There is a risk with buying the cheaper on here. Trusting the brand is important in this situation. The higher price buys you more than a tube of glue. It buys trust as well. 

It’s easy for a retailer or a freelancer to believe that the best way to succeed is to be cheap. But just about every important brand (and every successful freelancer) didn’t get that way by being the cheapest. They offered more than low prices. Low prices will always be beaten by a competitor with lower overheads .. maybe from another country or with better technology.