Trying to make a sale is like a game of chess where the sales team is constantly competing with customers. A sense of caution and an intention of making the smartest move is what occurs between the sales team and prospects. To compete in this unsaid battle, your teams need to be in their toughest mental state.
Whether it’s your sales team or your clients, each want the best deal. But often, the customer can feel a sense of mistrust when it comes to a sales person. Your team’s job is to influence customers and win them over, which is no walk in the park.
Popular media always seems to tarnish the image of salespeople which makes the job even more difficult because customers have already have their preconceptions and to overcome them is a tall order to follow. Shoving sales offers, giving big discounts and all the other tricks in the conventional book of sales won’t help you to fully take on the mental blocks breeding in the customer’s mind.
To beat this stubborn mentality, sales teams need to scrap the traditional rhetoric and look into the wisdom of psychology. A game of chess is played with the mind and that is what your team needs to do. Grow your sales by using smart mind tricks to convince customers and remove their preconceived notions.
1. Don’t allow post-purchase cognitive dissonance
Post-purchase cognitive dissonance or more popularly called as buyer’s remorse can beat your sales team hands down, even if it looks like they have won. The regret that arises among customers after buying from you is like losing the game after a ‘Checkmate’.
Maybe in a moment’s weakness or in a pure adrenalin rush, customers bought from you but when they see their bank balance - the regret slowly but surely sets in.
Buyer’s remorse attacks the ‘Avoid motivational system’, which makes them feel that only negative things will happen. Customer’s start believing your product will only bring more negativity into their lives.
Resolving buyer’s remorse is next to impossible, thus avoiding it is where you should focus your energies on. Guilt can erupt any time in the sales funnel, so to cover all possibilities - give emphasis on pre-purchase cycle and post-purchase cycle.
The pre-purchase cycle is where your sales team is trying to convince a customer to make a purchase. Firstly, don’t be hasty and sell things which do not meet customer’s needs. Have a sit-down and first understand what are their requirements. Secondly, remember customers are not interested in your product, they want to know how your product can help them. Make your pitch where you highlight the benefits of the product rather than the features.
The post-purchase cycle is where your sales team follows up after a purchase. Firstly, make customers feel that they are part of a community which has made the right choice. Secondly, keep your customer support team engaged in all initial conversations, all grievances need to be addressed and resolved early and in an efficient manner.
Buyer’s remorse is like a termite that infects your entire sales process. It eats up your chances of expecting customers to renew services, thereby weakening your customer retention strategy. Moreover, forget about getting any referrals, since regretful customers will never recommend you to their peers. It’s a death trap for your sales team, where they lose both their current and potential customers.
2. Less is more
The one thing your team needs to know - the lesser the time you take in finishing your sales process, the more are your chances of making a sale. Unlike old times, customers do not have much time, this gives your team only a short span of time to convert.
Your sales team might feel proud with providing customers a host of choices, but chances they might be suffering from a choice paralysis. Customers see your ‘choices’ as thorns in their decision making, these frictions ultimately lead them to abandon you.
You cannot expect your sales to come through if these frictions persist. You have to tighten the bolts from customer’s end as well as from your end to provide a smooth sales process. Here are some points that can make your entire sales process a win-win for both customers and sales teams:
- Listen and understand what customers want, on it - provide less but specific choices that meet their demands. This saves customers from going through a choice overload.
- Encourage collaboration among sales teams to complete formalities instantly. Allow your sales team to use Google Docs Add-ons to enable digital signatures. Fasten the process of getting approvals and make it time-saving for both sales reps and customers.
- Do not show too many similar products at once to a customer, pitch one product from one product line.
Customers need to feel that they are worthy of using your product, they need to see themselves using your product. Your pitch needs to perfectly align with customer’s self-perceived value. Don’t overshoot or underplay your sales message, both scenarios can lead to customer abandonment.
‘ This house looks nice, but I can’t imagine living here’
How many times have you heard customers saying this, this is the challenge that many sales teams have to face. But understanding the psychology behind how customers evaluate their self-worth, your team can turn the challenge into an opportunity.
There are three pillars that make up a customer’s self-worth:
- Self-image - How customers see themselves in society.
- Ideal self - The type of person customers want to be.
- Self-esteem - The extent to which customers love themselves.
Before making a pitch, the sales team needs to observe how customers perceive themselves and how they can use it to their advantage. Market those products which give an impression of an ideal self that a customer might be trying to achieve.
Let’s take the house example again, instead of pitching it as a high-priced house, try positioning it as a house for wealthy people. It gives a clear relation - if you own this house, you are considered wealthy. Customers who want to be considered ‘Rich’ among their peers, will find buying the house, an appealing offer.
4. Show customers what they want to see
Sales teams lose out big when they don’t say things that customers want to hear. It’s the Perceptual Bias through which customers embrace messages that align with their interests and ignore the ones that don’t. This comes in handy when you plan to draft your sales message.
What shapes up these perceptions is something sales teams need to keep probing from customers. Ask them why do they have these biases, it helps your team to find out the root cause.
Knowing the reason for why people think the way they think gives your team an upper hand in creating messages that align with customer’s beliefs, expectations, needs and emotional state.
The more proficient you get at showing customers what they want to see, the more you are able to motivate them to make a purchase. If your message finds acceptance in the mind of the customer, you can be assured that they won’t ask too many questions and in most cases will not show any buyer’s remorse.
5. Avoid bad mouthing competitors
Sales teams have a tendency to talk trash about their competitors, make sure your sales team does not follow suit. Customers might associate those negative traits with your sales team, this psychological phenomenon is called Spontaneous trait transference.
What goes around comes around, so be careful of what you say about your competitors. If you don’t want to or can’t say anything good about your competitors, then it’s much better if you don’t say anything at all. The safer option is to not mention your competitors at all in your sales pitch.
To give you a simple example, if a car dealer bad mouths his competitor, customers might see him/her as having the same traits. This brings mistrust and makes them wonder if it’s a good idea to make a purchase from the dealer.
It’s natural that customers will not trust you with their money, why should they, you are just a stranger to them. Your sales team needs to understand that customers will always have a self-created mental barrier. As a successful sales team, you need to overcome these mental blocks, one such way is using the above psychological tricks. Every hack you apply needs to build a sense of comfort and trust among customers, it’s the only way you can bring down these mental walls.