10 Ways to Convert Customers Using Psychology


10 Ways to Convert Customers Using Psychology

How to Convert More Prospects Into Paying Customers
The “secret” to more sales is as simple as understanding what the buyer wants. Below are 10 rigorously tested research studies in social psychology that reveal how to ethically persuade more customers to say “Yes!” to your products and services

1. Help Customers Break Through “Action Paralysis” by Setting Minimums

  • Research by professor Robert Ciadini showcased how adding a minimum to a request increased donations for the American Cancer Society by 78%.
  • Remind your customers about how easy it is to get started (“No payments for the first month!”) to help them break through action paralysis.

2. Embrace The Power of Labels

  • In a behavioral study examination voting patterns, research found that people who they randomly labeled as “positively active” were 15% more likely to vote.
  • Despite the fact that they were randomly chosen, the label ended up affecting their actions. Label your customers as part of a superior group and their actions will reflect these characteristics.

3. Understand The 3 Types of Buyers

  • Neureconomic experts have labeled human spending patterns as (literally) a process of “spending ’til it hurts.” According to the research, there are largely 3 types of buyers: Tightwads, Average buyers and spendthrifts.
  • To sell to lightwards, be sure to focus on building products, re-framing product value ($100/month vs $1200/year) and reducing the amount of small fees associated with your product.

4. Highlight Strengths by Admitting Shortcoming

  • According to data from social psychologist Fiona Lee, customers were more trustworthy of companies who admitted to “strategic failings” over company problems (even if they were true!).
  • She concluded that buyers are okay with companies admitting fault from time to time, as they show the company is actively looking to fix the problem, rather than passing blame to an outside source.

5. Use Urgency the Smart Way

  • Urgency and scarcity are known to drive up sales, but according to research from Howard Leventhal, people are prone to block out urgent messages if they aren’t given information on how to follow-up
  • Levental proved this hypothesis with a test involving tetanus shots and found that those subjects who received follow-up information were 25% more likely to go get vaccinated.

6. Make Their Brain Light Up Instantly

  • Several Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI) studies have found that our frontal cortex is highly active when we think about waiting for something (that’s a no-no for more sales.)
  • To better appeal to customers, remind them that your product (or services) can solve their pain points fast. Focusing on quick arrivals, fast shipping and “instant gratification” can be just the incentive customers need to buy.

7. Make an Enemy

  • According to some starting research from social psychology Henri Tajifel, people can be divided (and more loyal to their in-group) from the most menial of distinctions. Companies like Apple leverage this through tactics like their Mac vs PC commercials.
  • Making enemies is less about being harsh to people or competitors and more about labeling (see #2) your customers. Examples include how some apparel companies are “only for athletes” or how certain beverage companies don’t make “wimpy light bear”.

8. Stand For Something

  • Of customers who have a strong relationship with a single brand, over 64% said it was because they had shared values with the company in questions.
  • A great example is the community that has formed around companies like Tom’s shoes, a company that donates a pair of shoes to those in need for every pair of shoe sold.

9. Devil’s Advocate

  • Marketers can learn an important lesson from this ancient Catholic tradition: research shows that when groups of people have their ideas questioned by a “devil’s advocate”, they actually increase their confidence in their original stance.
  • Your business can utilize this information by playing the devil’s advocate yourself, increasing the confidence of already interested customers (who are the one’s most likely to buy your products). Address their concerns and dismiss them with well research information and examples.

10. Keep ’em on Their Toes

  • While customers value consistency, they also like surprises: in a classic study by psychologist Norbert Scharz, he found that as little as 10 cents was enough to change the outlook of participants who found the money by surprise.
  • Utilize this process of “surprise reciprocity” by creating small WOWs that customers don’t expect. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor, it really is the thought that counts.


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