A few weeks ago I was attending a sales meeting with a client’s field sales team. This team had a fair mix of skill and experience within it and was doing reasonably well in a tough environment. The client had asked for ideas and suggestions on how sales techniques may be improved for all members of the team.


As we talked around a few things one of the team members happened to say, ‘well it’s all psychological isn’t it’. At which point the newest member of the team look inquisitively whilst one of the old stagers in the room laughed and said, “Hmmm… that’s all mumbo jumbo!”.


What followed was quite interesting in as much as the person who had made the throwaway statement then started to explain exactly what he meant buy it and I thought it was pretty well informed and so I’d like to share it with you.


I’ll preface his comments with one unequivocal statement of my own by saying the psychology of sales and therefore psychology itself plays a massive part in how we sell and I was delighted that the old stager had been given an opportunity to realign his thinking from someone who firmly believed in that the notion of the psychology in sales and why it is important.


He started by asking him how he was able to influence and persuade others if he wasn’t himself tuned into the notion of sales psychology. Especially when he had in fact taught this technique to the very person explaining this to him. Things like how to look for signs to connect with a client by looking around his or her office for clues. A picture of children perhaps, a finger painting indicating an infant or photo of the client walking his dog etc. Thereby providing you with something to talk about and an opportunity to build rapport very early on in the meeting (he did raise an eyebrow at this point as though he had been reminded by his protégé of something really important that he’d forgotten himself with the passage of time).


Much like the next point he made, which was; people buy people first! You simply have to believe in your product to be able to sell it effectively. If you don’t then you reduce yourself to the status of confidence trickster in reality. The psychology here is that you are inferring to your client that you would be happy to buy this product yourself. Your enthusiasm must be infectious and your product knowledge extensive. This rubs off and your client becomes enthused too as they realise that you share common ground.


He then went on to talk about the psychological reaction to first impressions. We have very little time to make a first impression and once they are made it is rarely changed. Much research has been done in this area for us to doubt its validity. So, he suggested, we create the right image and impression on our very first meeting by the way we look, the first words we utter and the way we carry ourselves.


He then cited an example of someone they had both known who had previously been employed with them. This person had a rather unfortunate personal hygiene problem and was also known to often ‘look like he had slept in his suit’. He asked his colleague, which of them, his old colleague or he himself, presented the right image and impression to the client. He reiterated the psychology that sits behind this. The psychological message being sent to the client is that we would much rather you be managed by someone who can manage themselves first and foremost (he saw the compliment in this and smiled admiringly as the pupil had clearly become the teacher on this subject).


Without wishing to patronise him, he made two further points in closing, whilst acknowledging again that the old stager was in fact the person responsible for telling him this ‘psychology’ in the first place.


The first point related to simply good information gathering and getting to know what it is that your client wants, needs and expects from you. He suggested also that if you can get into their mind and find out what their key objectives were, then this would again strengthen your relationship. He pointed out the advantage of being able to sell to your client’s client. In other words, find out what they need to do to keep their customers happy and help them to achieve it. Try hard to imagine the kind of questions or even objections that your client may unearth and you are then better placed to anticipate and deal with them when they are presented to you.


Finally, he said with a smile, “And don’t forget that we all made buying decisions based on emotion most of the time”. What he meant by this was that once we are happy with the person that we are dealing with then we are more likely to trust them and accept what they are saying as information giving rather than a sales pitch.


It may also mean of course that we are able to use a little psychology in creating an element of need in our sale proposition by tapping into emotions such as need, fear or the desire to be better than the others in your market place, “I can get your advertisement on page 5 but I need to know now as it will be gone this afternoon” or “I think that slot may have gone but I can check for you” and other such comments that only serve to satisfy a basic human truth, which is that we always tend to want what we can’t have.


At Maguire Training, not only do we offer classroom-based courses and programmes, but we are also proud to offer a versatile and intuitive suite of over a hundred e-learning modules on our website, which covers a range of sales and customer service topics. Have a look at the on-line module ‘The Psychology of Negotiation’, which would be a perfect complement to the new classroom-based sales course ‘The Psychology of Sales’.


If you need further information then you could always call us of course on 0333 5777 144 for a no obligation discussion about your training requirements. Alternatively, simply hit the ‘Contact Us’ on any page of our website at and we’ll get right back to you.


Either way it would be great to hear from you.

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