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People are highly complex, unusual and hard to profile. As mothers, fathers, friends and children, we have all struggled, at some point in time, to understand why someone acts the way they do. As marketing and business professionals, our #1 goal is to understand our ‘target market’, in order for our communications and messages to resonate more effectively.

It’s impossible to understand what each person is thinking or feeling at the time your ad hits their inbox, door mat or computer screen. However, we can attempt to understand people – just a bit – with these 12 Psychological Selling factoids, courtesy of Dean Rieck, human psychologist! After all, our target markets are people!

  1. People make decisions emotionally… People make decisions based on what they are feeling, what they need or an emotion they are experiencing. That’s why intangible benefits are always a lot more effective at persuading people to take action. When you’re writing copy, ask yourself, “What is the emotional issue here?”
  2. People justify decisions with facts. A woman may see an a dress whilst browsing a store and instantly wants it. However, she can’t bring herself to buy it just because she wants it, so she looks at the price (it’s on sale), the quality (it’s pure silk!) and the 30 day money back guarantee (if I don’t like it, I can return it!). She now buys the dress because she can justify the purchase rationally.
  3. People are egocentric. Aka – People are self obsessed… So when writing copy, keep in mind, the consumer will be looking for what’s in it for them – or more specifically… how the product or service will give them feelings of personal worth.
  4. People look for value. In all of your marketing, you must demonstrate value that seems to be equal to or greater than the asking price. Now value is completely dependent on what your product is, what the competition charge, what they are used to paying, how badly they want it and how they perceive the difference between your offer and others.
  5. People think in terms of people. Our brains are not machines. In fact, it’s primary function is to deal with social interactions. For example, when you tell something theoretical using a story, it’s a lot easier to remember and understand. Your marketing copy should therefore include stories, quotes, testimonials, and personal (not stock) photography of satisfied customers to build a social relationship with the brain.
  6. You can’t force people to do anything. There’s the old saying ‘You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ and that is true when it comes to selling. You can encourage, persuade and lure people, but ultimately, people do what they want to do. Therefore your job is to make them want to buy.
  7. People love to buy. ‘I don’t like to be sold to’ – said noone ever… People love to be sold to. When was the last time you were annoyed about discovering wonderful new products and experiences?… What we hate is to be cheated or tricked. So, simply sell good products, make good offers and treat people fairly.
  8. People are naturally suspicious. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is… Or is it? People naturally seek to avoid risk. Even though people have varying levels of skepticism, it’s best to back up all claims with evidence, such as testimonials, survey results, authoritative endorsements, test results, and scientific data.
  9. People are always looking for something. Everyone has a goal; whether it be to find love, become rich, experience glory or feel safe. When writing copy, show people how your product can fulfill one or more of their needs.
  10. People buy “direct” because of convenience and exclusivity. Newsflash – people don’t like shopping online… If people could easily find your product at a nearby store, that’s where most people would shop. So, always advertise the convenience and exclusivity of what you offer.
  11. People like to see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it before they buy it. Most people like to engage with what they are buying! Some items, such as books, CDs and films are easy to sell online because it is very unlikely to be variance in the quality. Some items, such as shoes and clothing, may be a harder sell, because quality is very variable (especially if there are multiple styles and sizes). Think about how you can bring a multi-sensory experience online to win over your customers.
  12. Most people follow the crowd. In general, people dislike going first. We look to friends, experts and trusted sources for guidance, especially when we are uncertain. This is why testimonials, case studies and user reviews are absolutely vital!