How to Use Psychological Theories to Increase Conversions

Jeff Cochran


Though it’s not the first thing that might come to mind, psychology and sales techniques often go hand in hand. Effective salespeople know how to speak their customer’s language to build rapport and connect to what motivates them, and, for them to do that, they must understand the basics of what drives people to do what they do. Here are strategies to convince customers what you’re offering is in their best interests using the tenets of psychology.


In psychology, priming means offering a stimulus that influences someone’s future actions or thoughts – even when the stimulus seems unconnected from that action. When you prime a prospective client, you introduce something new or resurface older ideas from the subconscious. That way, what you’ve introduced is more accessible to that person’s mind. To use this technique, know that it comes with an expiration date. The thoughts you are priming them to keep at the front of their minds tend to recess into their subconscious, so primed ideas have about a 24-hour life cycle.

The pitfall to priming is when a salesperson is too obvious. For instance, if you’re selling grills, don’t ask how a client likes their meat cooked. Instead, ask questions about family get-togethers or holidays often celebrated outdoors, like the Fourth of July. The client’s mind will connect the dots between grills and family functions – without the salesperson having to do a hard sell.


The psychological response to scarcity is obvious any time there’s an impending natural disaster – grocery shelves stocked with water and bread suddenly become empty. In these situations, people often take much more than they need to survive the hurricane or tornado. But, since they are concerned about these items becoming scarce – even though it’s unlikely – they still over-purchase.

In sales, you can use this to your advantage. If prospects think a solution is in short supply, they’re motivated to act before they miss out. When something is rare, its perceived value goes up. Use these two types of scarcities to increase sales:

  • Time-related scarcity – Prospects must commit by a specific date or they will miss a rare-opportunity.
  • Quantity-related scarcity – There are only so many items currently available at a certain price, and, unless they purchase now, they won’t be able to purchase them again.

The human mind is created to consider details, and, the more precise a description is, the more likely it is to be perceived as trustworthy. According to this tenet of psychology, arguments become more believable by being precise. Numbers may seem easier to retain when they’re approximate, but giving precise amounts increases your credibility. For example, saying your solution more than doubled productivity is not as effective as saying it increased productivity by 57 percent.

Precise details reinforce your authority and show your attention to detail, which the mind perceives as more trustworthy.

Social Influence

People are strongly influenced both by what others are doing and by how they view their relationship with the influencer, which makes social media such a goldmine for some industries.

To leverage this kind of influence, use information you already have to inject elements of social proof into your persuasive technique. Let prospects know how many people have used your product or services. Link them to positive feedback and case studies that show your organization’s strength. Find the people who interact most with your brand and use common characteristics to drive sales.

Getting people through the sales funnel takes time, in part because of how the mind works. When you are considering how to drive conversions, dust off your Psy 101 textbook – you may be surprised how much it will help you win a sale.


How E-Learning Benefits Your Staff and Boosts Sales

Jeff Cochran


E-learning provides flexible accessibility, boosts engagement, and promotes retention for all employees. Millennials especially prefer online training to other methods. Since millennials make up more than 36 percent of the current U.S. workforce, employers should consider their preferences when choosing training solutions.

By 2020, 46 percent of employees will have been born between 1976 and 2001. While e-learning is preferred by a large percentage of the workforce, personal preference isn’t the only reason employers benefit from choosing it. Offering training online allows collaboration between locations, saves businesses money, and develops future training goals.

E-Learning Cuts Costs

When organizations offer in-person training, their costs don’t relate only to the presenter. Often, they must also pay for facilities, transportation, print materials, and food for attendees. Online learning provides access to high-quality training wherever employees are located without requiring them to travel to a central location.

Employers save money on printing by providing training materials in an electronic format. Employees access training at work or at home, so there’s no need to rent additional facilities.

E-Learning Meets Professional Growth Objectives

A recent Gallup poll says 87 percent of millennials say development is important in a job. They report seeking employment with companies that help them learn and grow, and they are more likely to stay with employers who offer opportunities for improvement.

Online training lets employers offer ways to learn new processes and add new skills. Employers can use it to improve performance, productivity, and job satisfaction.

E-Learning Is Responsive

The best e-learning appeals to millennials because it meets their expectations for quality. Though some in-class learning is amazing, the spectrum for quality is very broad and involves lots of environmental waste. E-learning replaces paper and wasted electricity with a much more responsive environment.

Training through a good e-learning provider works seamlessly on all devices. Whether participants access materials through a laptop, desktop, or mobile device, they find interactive training.

Instead of listening to a presenter lecture, they have control over their training. They choose the order and speed in which they interact with training modules. They can explore additional information when they have questions or interact with other participants.

E-Learning Provides Analytics

When employees attend a training seminar, employers know who showed up and what material was presented, but it’s hard to gauge the training’s actual impact. E-learning lets employers see how many people accessed training and what modules they interacted with most.

When employees engaged with some areas more than others, it suggests a need for additional content or an area for further development. If employees struggled with certain quizzes, that shows where to provide additional training.

Shapiro Negotiations Institute understands how essential it is to provide differentiated learning environments in today’s global environment. We offer modular on-demand training and live webinars to provide customized e-learning for your business. Contact us today to find out more.


Avoid These 3 Follow-Up Email Mistakes

Jeff Cochran


A thoughtful, targeted email message can make all the difference when you follow up with a prospect. However, some mistakes could mean your good intentions will go unread or get your email marked as spam. In some cases, you must contact prospects multiple times before you see results. It can be hard to find the balance between being persistent and being irritating. Here are the top mistakes to avoid when you want to deliver content that prospects open, evaluate, and ultimately respond to favorably.

Sending Too Many Emails

Instead of sending mass emails to everyone you can find an address for, research your specific audience and target the needs, wants, and interests of that specific group. Write personalized messages as much as possible.

Be careful when sending a series of emails to the same person. If your email arrives with a long trail of “RE:RE:RE:RE,” it might indicate to your prospect how many times you have annoyed them. Only use bump emails if you’re adding information relevant to a previous one.

Sending Too Few Emails

It’s hard to find the balance between too much follow-up and not enough. When emails receive replies, it is normally within the first 24 hours of their being opened. If you haven’t heard back in the first few days, you probably won’t.

One study found that 70 percent of the time, sales people quit emailing after one failed attempt. Because 80 percent of sales take at least five follow-ups to close, quitting too soon means missed sales.

Ignoring Existing Data

Use tools to evaluate responses to messages you sent in the past. If you’re not getting the response you want, data might offer insight into where you’re going wrong. Look for these things.

  • The prospects never opened your message. If they didn’t open it at all, your subject line didn’t grab their attention. Your subject line should offer something of value or appeal to their curiosity.
  • They opened your message but you never heard back. It may be that your subject line intrigued them, but the information in the body of the email didn’t keep their attention or motivate them to act. Make sure your email content is specific, engaging, and concise.
  • They read your email but haven’t responded. Sometimes they’re interested; they just haven’t finished evaluating the information or had time to respond. Make your next email even more compelling.

Writing effective follow-up email provides a huge challenge for both new salespeople and seasoned veterans. They can be the simple solution for closing a sale or the roadblock to ever being able to make it happen. Take time to make sure your message targets your specific audience, offers valuable insight, and compels prospects toward taking immediate action.


How to Handle Objections During Negotiations

Jeff Cochran


When prospects have objections during negotiations, it can cause your stress level to rise and make you feel as if you’re on the defensive. When you consider an objection as a positive step forward, however, it can change the dynamics of the entire negotiation. Think about an objection as a critical step toward reaching your goal.

The purpose of negotiating is to come to the point where both parties agree on the value of products or services. A negative response can be discouraging, but it may simply signify progress. It’s important to remember than an objection doesn’t mean the prospect won’t eventually commit. Keep your stress levels downs and consider how you can overcome objections to close the deal.

Prepare for Objections

Before you meet with your next prospect, spend some time reviewing past negotiation situations. Where did you feel you lost opportunities because you were unable to work through objections? Are there themes that stand out?

Think about the times you almost lost a sale but didn’t. What did you do in those situations? Use your observations to make a list of the objections you encounter most often and create responses for each. Having a list before you go will reduce your stress level when objections come up and allow you to stay relaxed.

Express Curiosity

To understand another’s objections, take a minute and look at your offer from their perspective, then approach it in such a way that you can ask questions. People are powerfully motivated to talk about themselves, especially when it involves beliefs and opinions. This small tactic does a lot – it lets them know you’re genuinely interested and curious about their views, which will help you overcome their objections and allow them to see you as an ally.

After you ask questions, listen. Instead of formulating your response and jumping in at the first pause, step back and watch for body language that shows more about the motivation behind their objections. Their tone, expressions, and gestures may indicate areas for further questioning.

Validate Concerns

Once you understand the prospect’s real concerns and the reasons behind them, acknowledge that you take their concerns seriously, and then you can provide them with information that helps them view your products or services differently in one of the following ways:

  • Offer a new perspective. Reframe their point of view by showing them how your product is a unique replacement for problems they face or a perfect addition to their existing solutions.
  • Bridge the gap. If their objection relates to misinformation or questions they still have, offer what they need to know to feel good about choosing your product.
  • Stand apart from alternatives. If they’re tempted to go with a competitor or develop in-house solutions, highlight your product or service’s exclusive advantages.

Shapiro Negotiations Institute’s Negotiation Training provides a systematic process for maximizing deals and maintaining relationships. Learn how to overcome objections and develop specific answers that can boost negotiating success. Request information today.