12 Selling Skills
Chapter 7: Influencing Customer Behavior
The greatest discovery of our generation is that people can change their lives
by changing the attitude of their mind. – William James
Why does every buy or refuse to buy?
Why do some people buy so quickly
and others take so long to make a buying decision,
or never buy?
Several years of research on the psychology of motivation have discovered
why people act the way they do,
especially in sales situations.
All successful salespeople
and advertising campaigns seek
to uncover the underlying motivations
that drive people to act
and respond quickly
to commercial messages and offers.
The more you know about how
and why people do what they do,
the more likely you will be to turn potential customers into customers,
and then have them refer you to the people
around you and themselves.
Your repeat purchases will be higher.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.
The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison
This puts you at the top of your field.
Every customer has deep subconscious needs that need
to be satisfied before making a purchase decision.
Your goal is to satisfy,
as much as possible,
and as quickly as possible,
from the very first interaction with a customer.
“Always do your best.
What you plant now,
you will harvest later.” -Og Mandino
What motivates customers to make a purchase decision?
One of the most important questions in sales is:
“Why do some customers make buying decisions faster than others?”
what are the strategies or tools that you can use
to quickly speed up a potential customer’s buying decision,
from the first time they meet you?
The typical purchasing process involves several steps.
First, the salesperson contacts the potential customer,
not knowing if this person is a real potential customer
or simply someone who has no need
to use his product/service.
Next, the salesperson develops a relationship
and increases credibility
with the customer,
asks a series of questions
to uncover the customer’s real needs and wants,
executes a complete sales pitch,
to show customers
that the products/services being offered satisfy most of their urgent needs,
answer questions and then motivate customers
to take specific actions with the offer.
It’s not surprising that this sales process takes weeks
or even months to complete,
especially when you’re selling large,
Some companies plan to spend three
to nine months completing a sales cycle,
from first contact to closing.
However, there are many sales situations
where the buying process is shortened
and the purchase decision is made instantaneously.
Potential customers go from being
only slightly interested in the product
to making a purchase decision within minutes
instead of spending weeks
or months carefully evaluating the decision
or comparing this offer
with other offers similar products/services from competitors.
And the transaction is completed almost instantly.
A series of “fast actions” has been identified
and tested over the years,
continuously since Robert Cialdini’s hit book Influence was first published.
As you learn how to build a sales approach
around the effects of this purchase,
and learn to drive quick action
as soon as possible in a conversation aimed at sales target,
you’ll sell more,
and faster than ever before.
Adding these quick actions
– the psychological effects of a purchase
– into the customer interaction process shortens the process
and speeds up customer decision making.
“Become the person who would attract the results you seek.” – Jim Cathcart
Developing a friendly relationship
with the prospect
is the starting point of prompting a customer’s purchase action.
As we described in chapter 4 of the sales relationship,
people are completely emotional in their purchases
and decision-making actions.
They make emotional decisions
and then excuse themselves
that they relied on reason to make decisions.
People buy from people they like.
They will refuse to buy from someone they don’t like,
even if they like the product/service being offered.
Because the biggest obstacles to buying are the fear,
doubt, and experience of the wrong buying decision
that a customer has gone through,
a friendly salesperson will “break the ice”,
help they overcame all negative emotions at first approach.
How do you develop this fast action called “friendship”?
First, take the time
to build a bridge of similarity with the prospect.
Find something in common
the life or work of the client and you.
It could be simply that you both have kids,
you both like the same football team,
or work in the same job
or have the same political philosophy.
When I meet a potential client
or speak to an audience,
I imagine that there is a gulf
between the two of us.
My first job was to build a bridge over
that hole based on some common ground
between the two of you,
and then step over the bridge
so that the client
and I could be on the same side.
You should also dress the way your customers
dress if you want to influence them.
You want people to think,
“Oh, he’s just like me”
or “She’s like me.”
If you dress more elegantly than they do,
more casually than they do,
or in a different way than they do,
you can still make a deal,
but you are putting up an unnecessary barrier
between the two of you,
and a barrier,
that increases resistance,
Another way to quickly build a friendship
with a prospect is to show harmony through your voice,
and even breathing.
If the prospect speaks very slowly and cautiously,
you should also lower the tempo of your voice
so that it can match the way the prospect speaks.
If the client is crouching
and using their hands energetically,
you should pause for a few seconds
and then crouch and use the hands
to make them more animated.
If your prospect is relaxing and talking quietly,
you should also take a deep breath,
and whisper along with them.
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Addair
The power of a win-win relationship
and shared interests is the first step in influencing buyer psychology.
There are also other important influences
that influence customer decisions.
One of the strongest influences on purchasing
is the Law of Win-win.
This rule states:
“If you do something for me or for me,
I will also want to do something for you or for you.”
Humans seem to already have a “fairness gene” in them,
which is already placed in the mind.
This gene makes them want to respond to others,
either in a positive
or negative way.
From an early age,
people strive to be fair,
and they are often offended
when they show a lack of fairness.
Whenever you do something nice for someone else,
that person is unconsciously motivated
to do something nice for you in return.
If you go out to lunch with someone
and that person pays for lunch,
the next time you go out to eat with that person,
you will insist on paying.
You’ll often want to get back to having lunch
with that person
as soon as possible
so you can reciprocate as soon as possible.
It’s as if we and every person we meet have the same account,
and we never expect that account to go negative.
Whenever you do something nice for your potential customers,
such as bringing them a book,
a gift from your company
or even just a piece of information.
If you can do something for them,
your customers will automatically force themselves
to do something in return.
I have observed situations
when the president of a large company prepared himself coffee
for a visitor who had just visited his office
to negotiate business
or enter into a negotiation.
He will ask if the guest is comfortable,
would like a glass of water,
or would like to use the toilet.
He makes people feel relaxed
and comfortable in his office.
Then, as the discussion begins,
the guest will become much more receptive
and open to the other senior leader’s suggestions
“Do not focus on numbers.
Focus on doing what you do best.” -Cassey Ho
Three forms of reciprocity
There are three forms of reciprocity
You should look for opportunities to create one
or several of them in all customer interactions.
With emotional reciprocity, the rule is:
“If you make me feel good,
I will make you feel good.”
When you ask questions,
listen attentively to answers,
smile, and treat the other person
as if he is important and valuable,
you make him feel good about himself.
On an unconscious level,
he wants to make you feel good about yourself
in some way in return.
The flowers will often give a woman a good feeling emotionally.
So, a man who wants
to impress a woman will send her flowers,
and the more he wants to impress her,
the more large and beautiful he will send.
When women receive flowers from a man,
they automatically feel warmer
and have more positive feelings about that man.
“People don’t buy because what you do is awesome.
People buy because it makes them feel awesome.” – Tara Gentile
To create material reciprocity,
you use specific objects.
Whenever you send someone a gift,
a coupon or something of material value,
If you can improve that person’s life or work,
the person receiving your gift
will feel a sense of responsibility towards you
and will have a deep desire to reciprocate in some way.
“Never say more than is necessary.” – Richard Brinsley Sheridan
With mental reciprocity,
whenever you give someone an idea,
a tool or a strategy that they can use to get good results,
and improve their situation in some way,
they feel accountable to you
and expect something in return.
In building reciprocal relationships,
the rewards are often far greater than they are received.
You bring him a coffee with his name on it,
and he buys a $5000 item from you,
not from your competitor.
Because the desire for reciprocity is so strong,
and almost automatic,
for most people, you should constantly be looking for ways
to do good for your customers in all circumstances.
Every time you do something nice for a customer,
you increase your account balance and build a desire
and willingness to reciprocate
by choosing your product/service.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
Attack the heart of their needs
Another way to influence buying psychology is
to attack the heart of the customer’s needs
All prospects have wants,
most likely purely emotional.
Whenever you reach a real need,
you elicit an emotional response in the customer
and the desire for your product/service.
That’s why it’s so important
to accurately identify customer needs.
The more time you spend figuring out
what your customers really want,
and expect from their lives and work,
the greater your chances of influencing them.
Find out your client’s true goals and passions,
both at work and in his personal life.
I have a friend who has had a lot of success selling estate
and financial planning services.
Whenever he meets potential clients at community
or social events,
he immediately asks them
all kinds of questions about what they do,
how long they’ve been doing it,
and how they like the job to what extent.
They automatically responded
by showing interest in him
and asking him questions about his life and work.
The first question that people most often ask is:
“What do you do?”
My friend works mainly for owners of small
and medium-sized companies.
When one of the owners of those companies asked him,
“What do you do?”,
he would respond by saying,
“I do business picking. ”
This response immediately spurred emotion
and elicited an interesting response:
“How do you do it?”
My friend will say,
“Let’s talk for a few minutes
and I’ll show you exactly
how I can help you make work an option.
You don’t necessarily want to stop working,
but you do want to be able to afford some free time
without worrying about your business, right?”
Making work an option in this way becomes a basic need,
and concern of nearly all business owners.
As a result, they immediately noticed him
and wanted to learn more about what he was doing.
By driving a purchase from this very first meeting,
he leapfrogged through the early parts of the sales process.
The client’s main question now becomes:
“How can he do that for me?”
When you can describe your product/service offering
in terms of the results,
benefits, and transformations
it can create in the customer’s life and work,
you often make the customer feel better.
Customers want to buy from you immediately
and enjoy the benefits you described right away.
not your aptitude,
will determine your altitude.” -Zig Ziglar
Who else can do this?
A powerful influence on purchasing
– possibly one of the most powerful
– social proof.
People are often greatly influenced by people like them
who have purchased your product/service.
One of the first things customers want to know is:
“Is there anyone I know
and respect who has purchased this product?”
There are several factors
that elicit the effects of social proof.
People in the same profession
who have previously purchased your product/service
can exert a significant influence in the purchasing decision.
People with the same interests
and preferences as you have purchased your product/service
will influence the purchase decision.
People with similar interests,
and political beliefs often elicit your purchase decision immediately.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin
As well as those
Others, customers are very lazy.
They are always looking for shortcuts, especially
to buy things they might want or need.
But they have huge psychological hurdles in considering
whether the product is suitable,
effective, is the price reasonable,
can they afford it,
and if it does,
then the product?
the service is capable of delivering the promised results
Selecting from all these factors will take a lot of time,
which is why in the normal sales process
you will need several meetings to be able
to answer all objections and concerns,
that potential customers may have.
Only when your potential customers can have a high degree of assurance
that their needs will be met
at a sufficiently reasonable price will they accept
to buy the product/service you offer.
However, when someone the potential customer knows
and respects has already purchased that product/service,
do the “hard work”.
The person who bought it,
tested the product/service
to make sure it was a good choice.
Thus, the customer thinks,
“I can buy this product/service
without any further questions
because people like me have already bought it.”
“Knowing is not enough;
we must apply.
Wishing is not enough;
we must do.” -Johann Wolfgang V
Social proof tool
The best social proof tools you can use
to elicit an immediate purchase decision are certificates,
in all its forms, from people
who have already purchased a product/service,
affirming that they are completely satisfied
with their purchase decision.
There are four types of certificates
that can help you sell instantly:
list, photo, and video.
Nowadays, it is very easy to record a happy customer
talking about his successful experiences
with your company and product/service,
so you should record videos.
Briefly about your customers with iPhone
or other smartphones wherever you go.
Be sure to ask customers
who are satisfied with your product/service
to write a letter praising you,
and the product/service you provide in positive words.
A great letter of praise from a client
who can clear all trading resistances in seconds.
Possibly the best way to get positive testimonials is
to ask one of your friendly customers
to write one.
Even better, offer to write the letter
for the client
and then have him add his name,
and signature to the letter.
I encourage them to set a goal that motivates each salesperson
to bring in a positive testimonial letter
from a satisfied customer to bring to the next sale.
The company will then copy all those letters
and put them in the offer file.
Use a yellow marker to highlight all the most positive words
and phrases in the letter.
The next time you sit down with a potential client,
you might say something like,
“Before we get started,
I want to show you something that makes us very proud.
These are letters from customers
who are satisfied with our services.”
Then take the customer’s compliment letter out
and put it in the customer’s hand
and let him read each letter one by one.
You will be amazed at how many customers decide
to buy immediately after reading those letters.
Another powerful tool for building social proof
is a list of satisfied customers.
If you have a list of 10, 15 or hundreds of companies
or individuals who have purchased your products/services,
especially if they are well-known names,
you are sure to knock them all down.
Resistances may arise
from the customer side during the offering.
If all the people
who have purchased your product/service are satisfied using it,
there will be no more thoughts to consider
when making a purchase decision.
Because people care so much about images,
photos of happy customers using
and enjoying your product/service are a powerful way
to build credibility
and reduce customer dissatisfaction,
and customer resistance.
Whenever a person sees a picture of another person having fun
– especially with a smiling face
– in an attractive setting,
there is an unconscious desire to be like that person,
and be fun like that person.
That’s why so many ads for luxury goods,
vacations and resorts often show the happy,
radiant and loving faces of people
who have used the product/service.
Images are a powerful way to reduce resistance
and improve desire to buy.
“If you don’t give up on something you truly believe in,
you will find a way.” -Roy T. Bennett
The influence of power
Power also has a great influence on purchasing decisions.
We are strongly influenced
by those who are known
and respected for their expertise
When you can tell potential customers
how many years of experience you have in the field
and how much knowledge you’ve drawn from
those years of experience,
you increase the value and importance of any plan.
What plan do you recommend for them?
On television or in specific texts,
when a company wants
to sell any drug or supplement,
the best type of person to recommend is a doctor,
or, better yet, multiple doctors.
You must have seen advertisements that begin with:
It has become quite common
to bring an expert from your company
to meet with a client.
When selling high-tech products,
the presence of experienced engineers
or program designers in a conversation
with a customer can make the conversation extremely persuasive.
When selling smaller products,
the ideal time to bring a sales manager
(or someone of equal power) to the customer
is in the late stages of the sales process,
to drive completion transaction.
In contrast, the best time
to bring a sales manager in on a complex transaction
is at the beginning of the process.
By having a head-to-head presence
during the first meeting between the salesperson and the prospect,
the customer is nearly always impressed
by how the company appreciates the value
and importance of yourself in this transaction.
In transactions with large and expensive products/services,
especially in software
or technology purchases,
the president often exerts a great influence
in the simple purchasing decision,
by meeting with key decision makers early in the sales process.
When you are able to contact respected individuals,
or authorities in the field
of activity of your product/service,
who can explain that they
As much as you believe in the value of the product/service you’re selling,
you’ll usually be able to clear resistance
and close the deal in no time.
Buying behavior is also influenced
by symbols of success or power,
such as cars,
When you visit a customer with a well-dressed
and well-groomed look,
or when you invite the customer to lunch in a new,
these factors often affect the customer,
causing they become more open
to the product you are selling.
“All great achievements require time.” – Maya Angelou
The power of scarcity
The relative scarcity of a product/service
will have a strong influence on customers’ urgency to act immediately.
Scarcity implies value and desirability.
Always suggest or imply that your product/service is limited
because of its unbelievable popularity.
Tell the customer:
“People are buying this product/service more than we can provide.”
Scarcity increases the urgency of purchasing decisions.
Telling a potential customer
that there is only one product left
for sale at this price will prompt an immediate purchase decision.
“It’s not about having the right opportunities.
It’s about handling the opportunities right.” -Mark Hunter
The principle of opposites
Compare and contrast buying options are another way
for customers to overcome any barriers
or psychological anxiety in making a purchasing decision.
To put it bluntly,
potential customers always have one of three options
when introduced to a new product/service:
(1) They can buy what you’re selling;
(2) they can buy similar products/services from another supplier;
and (3) they don’t need to buy anything.
To reduce the perception of risk
and create reassurance that
this purchasing decision is a good one,
customers often go through a process of matching
and comparing in different ways.
“Solve customer problems and make sure that
the customer is representative of a large market
and then you will have a pretty good formula.” -Melanie Perkins
Choose your words
The powerful word
that will psychologically influence the buying conversation
is the word “because”.
Any reason that follows the word
“because” seems more convincing and logical:
“You will love this solution because…”
“This is the best choice for you because…”
“This is the one you should choose because…”
Whenever the opportunity arises,
always state a reason
or argument for choosing your product/service
with the word “because,”
and then give a valid reason.
The word “referral” is also quite persuasive in sales conversations.
Instead of inviting people to buy,
“What I will introduce to you is…”
Small changes in the way you present ideas
and information can have incredible effects on how customers react
to your product/service.
You must constantly be looking for better ways
to present your products/services,
use purchasing influences
or other ways of driving decision making
that have been discovered in recent years.
You will soon be able to turn negative leads into real customers
with just a few questions affirmative sentence or simple action.
“If we are going to be part of the solution,
we have to engage the problems.” -Majora Carter
In the supermarket
See below for an example of how psychological influences
on purchases are used with you
and others in nearly every place you go.
All successful marketing
and sales efforts include one
or more behavioral prompts designed
to shorten an extensive buying process
and get customers to buy immediately.
Here is an example.
You are shopping at a grocery store.
One person gives you a sample product to taste.
You ate the sample product and felt like it,
and this elicited a series of responses in you:
• When you taste a sample product,
you experience a desire to reciprocate
and feel obliged to give it back.
• You begin the process of committing to a profit
through the purchase and use of the product.
• You see people around you also taste
and buy the product,
which suggests the effects of social proof.
• The supplier of the product
is very polite and friendly,
evoking a feeling of love,
which is the element of friendship.
• The product is offered for sale in a store you frequent,
which gives the product the power
and prestige needed to get you to buy it.
• There is a special offer in the product at this price,
which suggests a scarcity effect on the purchase decision.
• You compare and contrast it
with other products
and conclude that this is a good deal.
Look for ways to combine the effects of these purchases
with your sales activities.
At the same time,
be aware that other people will also apply
these buying influences to you,
everywhere you go.
One of the mistakes
I repeatedly made
when I started my sales career was assuming
that if I mastered the product knowledge
and quickly responded to every objection,
I will automatically complete the transaction.
There was one important element that completely eluded me
until I discovered it by accident one weekend.
It was around 7 p.m. on a Saturday,
and the sun was already setting.
I had to work all day
with the sales rep I was training,
and I was exhausted.
I failed completely,
unable to execute a single transaction.
In direct selling,
you should be making an average of two deals per day,
and more if you’re training someone.
Alas, I failed in both areas.
We have only a few doors left to knock
before the day is over,
and so we haven’t lost everything.
Even so, we were exhausted and hopeless,
so I resolved to give a great pitch
to the next person who opened the door for us.
We got to that house,
knocked on the door,
stepped back a little, and waited.
A few minutes later,
a middle-aged man opened the door,
and to be honest,
this man let us down.
He glanced at the logo on our corporate uniform,
and immediately became extremely angry,
mercilessly insulting the quality of our products/services.
Something flared up inside of me,
and I bounced back.
Instead of remaining calm and patient,
I protested loudly against him.
I told him he was wrong.
The service we provided was,
quite different from the one he was describing.
He argued back, and so did I.
A professional debate began to erupt
and lasted for hours.
Luckily for us,
he actually brightened up
and changed his mind,
finally deciding to use our service.
We won with a successful trade,
which almost made up for the bad day
we had suffered up until then.
Then I analyzed my behavior
and discovered the element that
I had inserted into the sale
that changed the mind of the prospect.
The element that has been overlooked is passion.
I was eager to correct the client’s false assumption.
I truly believe that my product can make his life better.
Since then, I’ve learned to inject passion into all my pitches.
You can do everything right,
answer every question and fulfill every need,
but without passion,
you won’t be able to close a deal.
Passion helps to bridge the gap.
It affects the customer on an emotional level,
where all the transactions are done.
Make sure you’re selling a product/service
that you truly believe in
and can feel extremely passionate about.
You will certainly have more chances of success
than choosing a product simply
because you have the opportunity to sell it.
“High expectations are the key to everything.” -Sam Walton
Here are some exercises and questions
to help you apply these ideas to your sales:
What are the three subconscious needs
that must be satisfied
before a customer can make a purchase decision?
Three things you can do to elicit a feeling and
What is the obligation
to pay back in your potential customers?
What are three things that happen
when you do something nice for your client?
What are three ways
that you can use the power of “social proof”
to drive a buying decision?
What are three things you can do during a client meeting
to make them like and trust you more?
What are three things you can say to a customer
to elicit the buying effect of scarcity?
Give three examples of how purchasing effects related to return,
commitment of profit,
or scarcity are used to advertise
and sell products in the city you live in.
Finally, if there was one thing you needed
to do right away to improve your sales after
what you learned in this chapter,
what would you do?