Are you aware of the psychological tricks that marketing and salespeople use to manipulate you into buying their products or services? We’ve all been on the receiving end of persuasive tactics but did you know that savvy marketers are often using specific psychological techniques to get us to hand over our cash or enter into contract with them?
Being aware of these methods can arm us with knowledge so we don’t fall victim to them. This week I want to talk about some of the psychological tricks used by marketing and salespeople, why they work and what we can do to protect ourselves from manipulation.
I want to help you identify and strengthen your awareness of this because these are traps that people fall into, particularly if you’re young and you’re starting out in this industry. There’s a ton of guys out there who may not consider themselves scammers, but to some degree that’s exactly what they are.
Now, I don’t want to entirely knock the selling of online programmes – obviously I have my own course available! If somebody is a mentor or a coach and good at their job, I think that’s a great investment for you to make. I often talk about the importance of having a mentor or somebody in your corner.
But what I do object to are psychological tricks and techniques that are used to push your buttons and manipulate you into buying.
Priming the audience
If a seller doesn’t have the benefit of knowing you or having built a rapport with you, they’re at a disadvantage. On the whole, you tend to buy from people that you know, like and trust, so when a person is selling to a stranger, they have to find a way to bypass the fact that you don’t know this person, you don’t necessarily like this person and you have no reason to trust them yet.
That’s a massive hurdle to a sale. When you trust the seller, there’s almost no barriers to the sale. You’re happy to buy from the person because you know that they have their best interests for you. So it’s not such a difficult thing to part with money because you know you’re going to get value, but with somebody you don’t know, it’s a different story. When selling to a stranger, you have to short circuit that “know, like and trust” process.
Have you ever found yourself at an online conference waiting for the speaker? Everyone is encouraged to engage positively in the chat to break down the barriers: “Who wants to make some money today? Write in the chat if you do!” Of course, everyone responds positively.
That’s all priming, which does two things: hyping you up so you’re more likely to say yes to the final question of whether you want to buy, and when you see lots of other people saying the same thing, it gives you a kind of social proof that if you don’t buy, you’re going to get left out.
Building authority (or niche authority) is where the seller outlines all their accomplishments and success. It’s all done to impress you and is important because it establishes that this person may be a very worthy mentor for you to learn from. It shows you a positive outcome, but it doesn’t connect you with them emotionally yet because you may see this person as above you or further along on this journey of success than you are.
So what they do in order to create that connection is go into their backstory to make themselves more relatable. You’ll get the whole “When I started out, I grew up in poverty / didn’t have a clue how to start my journey into real estate / didn’t know where to start investing in the stock market / I was so broke I couldn’t afford anything / was really struggling / wanted to get my family out of this situation.”
These statements may be true, but they’re designed to put your words into the seller’s mouth. And by expressing the emotions you may currently be feeling, it creates connection and trust: the seller has been in your shoes and they’ve been through the journey that you are going to be embarking on, and so therefore, they must be a good person to learn from.
Often in a sales presentation, a substantial amount of time is given over to showing you some interesting strategies, techniques and advice – anything that you’re going to find helpful and/or useful.
They’re usually very effective strategies, designed to draw you in and make you want to learn more – the trick is to then tell you that what they’ve given you so far is just a fraction of the program, when they have dozens more available to share with you, as soon as you buy.
It’s showing you just some of the value and letting you know that there’s an awful lot more where that came from.
Social proof is really important psychologically. People look around for proof that they’re making a good choice. So, when you see customer testimonials from people who bought the product and had great results, you may start to think “oh, that could be me.”
A lot of testimonials are genuine, which is great, but how can you tell which testimonials are real, and which are completely made up?
There are plenty of scammers out there who will fake them. But even the ones that are completely genuine are designed with the sole aim of making you buy the seller’s product: social proof to knock down those final hurdles to the sale.
This is where the seller presents the core product and generally follows the same pattern.
The seller summarises everything you can get (priming you again), and tells you the ‘normal’ price, always far higher than anything you’d want to pay. But then they offer the ‘special’ price, which is a massive drop, much more affordable, which will pique your interest. Then you get the bonus offer – maybe it’s event tickets thrown in, or a bonus course, or perhaps a free mentoring call worth thousands.
Finally they start to introduce scarcity and urgency: they’ll recap the value, show you what a great deal it is, but then tell you that it’s only available for (eg) the first 20 buyers. Scarcity is absolutely essential in this kind of selling because it forces you to decide right there on the spot – you have to buy, that any delay at all and you will lose out. It eliminates hesitation. But remember, most of the time that scarcity has been fabricated – so tread carefully out there!
Again, I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I have a product that I sell myself. But you wont find the urgency or scarcity tactic being employed. I am also confident you won’t find any online forums with past clients blasting me for robbing them – I don’t need the grief!
See you next week.