When I decided to do a blog series on Sales Psychology with promo prizes, I had to work hard to convince James Chartrand that giving away valuable consulting time was going to be a good thing to do. I put on my best rapport-face and tried hard to sell her on the compelling benefits of exposure to my awesome readers.
It worked… but only just. James was skeptical. Thousands of visitors, hundreds of insightful comments and buckets of tweets later, she realized that the Sales Psychology bandwagon was not to be missed. I thoroughly enjoyed the moment she emailed through a overly polite guest post request.
This guest post is great news for you because it’s written by one of the world’s premiere web sales experts. It’s good news for me, because it’s the ultimate evidence that I was right all along! Enjoy!
Take it away James….
Peter recently posted an article that describes the pain and pleasure principle in sales psychology. He mentioned that we all have various scales in our minds, and we use them to weight the pros and cons of making a purchase.
Allow me to demonstrate how this works, based on my recent mental war trying to decide between sticking with my PC and investing in an Apple iMac.
Now, I’ve wanted an iMac for quite some time. Apple products impress me, the company upholds good values, and everyone knows Apple creates elite solutions for prestigious people. (And of course, I like to think I’m one of those.) Owning an iMac is a status symbol I like status.
So every day, I have a constant background scale weighing the pleasure of owning an iMac.
Score one for Apple.
But I’m also fairly financially savvy. Of course, I’m human, which means that when I really want something, I’m not very logical about spending. I try my best to curb impulse buying and focus on fulfilling household needs before personal desires, though. And Apple products are expensive I couldn’t justify the purchase.
Which means I’ve fought the siren call of an iMac and put up with fickle Windows and a rather plain PC for years. Go me.
See, I don’t need an iMac. My main line of work only requires the most basic of barebones system. A fancy iMac won’t make me a better web copywriter or a smarter online business consultant, nor will it make me faster, nor will it bring me clients.
And let’s face it when you compare the costs, you can buy three PCs for the price of an iMac.
So my wallet says score one for PC.
My mental scales stay pretty evenly balanced on one side we have my temptations and desires calling for the pleasure of owning an iMac, and on the other, we have my wallet firmly saying needs and money in the bank come first.
Then my PC blew.
I woke up one morning and it was dead. I vaccuumed it out. I fiddled with it. I jiggled plugs and pressed buttons and even cursed in French. There was a faint spark of hope as the monitor briefly lit up but no. Rising from the dead was not to be.
So I weighed my options. Repair the PC and put up with the hassle of not having it around for a few days? I don’t much like working off my laptop. And PCs are frustratingly unreliable. I could say to hell with it, drive to the city and grab myself that iMac I’ve always wanted but I like money in my pocket.
My mental scales were rocking back and forth with every new thought. Convenience versus patience. New and shiny versus old and familiar. Business investment versus business expense. Less money versus more money. Learning curve versus habitual ease.
There were hundreds of pros and cons heaped on my decision-making scales, and choosing to buy or not to buy became extremely difficult yet it all happened in the blink of an eye.
To hell with it! I’d dump the PC at the repair shop and get it fixed. My daughter could use it, and I’d drive to the city to pick up that new iMac. I deserved one. I wanted one. It was time. Decision made!
Or was it?
As I drove to the repair shop, the pain of spending a few thousand dollars on something I didn’t really need niggled at me. I had other options. I could keep the money. I could amass more and buy an iMac in a few months, guilt free. The repairs would be cheap, I’d have my PC back within a day, and life would go on.
I didn’t need that iMac.
But my whispering pleasure fairy tempted me sorely with alluring thoughts. I was James Chartrand, Men with Pens owner extraordinaire! I should have nothing but the best. This was an investment in me, in my business, and a reflection of the quality I stood for. And I had the money to spare. Besides, all my peers own and love Apple products why would I want to lower my status by settling for less?
Fine. I got to the repair shop, told the clerk my PC problems and signed off on the work order, already imagining my impending drive to the Apple store. I’d get a coffee. Listen to good tunes. Enjoy the ride. And come home with that beautiful white box.
Then everything fell apart.
The clerk smiled at me and said these dream-crushing words: “We’re light today; we’ll have this fixed up for you and you’ll be back to work within just a few hours.”
Suddenly, the drive to the city looked long. Time-consuming. Boring. It would put wear and tear on my car. And I’d be back in business shortly a few hours wasn’t long to wait. I had the laptop, It was a quiet day anyways. Hey, I could even watch a movie later on. Besides, it was cold outâ€¦ wet, too.
And if I really decided I wanted the iMac after all well, there was no rush. I could order online in a couple of days and have it shipped directly to my door. No city drive required. No rush impulse buying. And of course, I could take the time to think over my purchase properly.
Just like that, Apple lost the sale.
All the pain and pleasure scales in my head tipped over a wee bit too far for the sale to go through. Had the repair shop been slower or had the day been sunnier or had I been a little more frustrated that morning or had someone joked I was slumming, you would’ve been reading an entirely different story.
But you aren’t, which just goes to prove how quickly and how irrationally human beings make up their mind. The cost of the iMac was only one factor in my thoughts as I weighed the decision. In the space of less than an hour, my mind set all sorts of pros and cons on the scales and tallied the results.
This means that when you’re in the business of selling, you have to consider all the factors that might run through your prospect’s mind while the person deliberates a purchase. You need to be ready to persuade and convince that prospect so that you can help balance and tip those mental scales in your favour.
Price isn’t always the main major obstacle in making a purchase decision.
The music in a store might turn up (or turn off!) your sales. The weather outside might entice people to spend more (or less). The speed of your service might earn you loyal clients (or send them to your competition). The copy on your site might get them to click to buy now (or make them click away).
All sorts of little details get tossed around into a prospect’s mental mix as that person goes through the decision-making process. And those little details get weighed.
Of course, you can’t know everything about what your prospect is thinking, but you can do your best to cover as many bases as possible. And for those you haven’t covered, you can make sure to ask questions that help you find out exactly what’s going on in your potential client’s mind.
Then you can even out the balance and start tipping the scales towards a sale.
About the Author: James Chartrand is an author, copywriter, online business consultant and owner of Men with Pens, the world-class web copy and business web design company geared to getting client results. James is also a die-hard PC user, though his dreams of owning an iMac may soon get the best of him yet.