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Secret Sales Techniques

What new sales techniques are coming out of the science of behavioral economics? Mostly better explanations and applications of old techniques. Though the science it is relatively new, many of its findings have been known intuitively by good salesmen and marketers for ages. Maybe now, however, it is time to apply this knowledge more systematically in the real world of business.
There are dozens of principles that have been identified by the scientific research. Each of them can be used to develop or refine sales techniques. Three of them are explained below.

The Science Behind The Sales Techniques

Confirmation bias is the scientific name for the tendency we have to act economically in a way that confirms our current beliefs. A great example is found in a study of Mercedes Benz buyers. When buying the same model, it was found that current owners, who presumably already believe in the value of a Mercedes, paid ,000 more, on average, than new Mercedes customers.

You can imagine the value of this knowledge to companies that sell high-priced items more than once to a customer. You can use this principle in other ways too. Suppose you are selling homes. Asking the buyer what style of home he thinks is best, and letting him make his arguments might also make him much more interested in a home if you show him "his" style.

Decision paralysis is the phenomenon of having too many choices to fell comfortable making a decision. In one study, customers had four samples of jam available.. Then for several hours, customers were offered twenty jams to choose from. You might think that with more options, people are more likely to find and buy the one they like, but the first group actually bought more jam.

How would you apply this as a sales technique if, for example, you sold paint? Maybe you wouldn't tell the customer about all 84 colors he can choose from. Limiting his options may be a useful technique, according to this research finding. Of course good salesmen have historically overcome this "decision paralysis" by using the either-or sales technique: "Would you like me to order the x or the y for you then?"

Extremeness aversion refers to the fact that people avoid extremes. No big surprise there, but the power of the effect in a consumer situation probably surprised even the researchers. In a typical study, for example, customers might be given a choice of televisions costing 0, 0, and 0. Not many choose the 0 one, unless one simple change is made: add a 00 television to the selection. Consistently, then, more will choose the 0 television, because it is no longer the most expensive one (the extreme).

It doesn't take much imagination to think of applications for this principle, does it? Add an expensive table or two to the showroom to sell the previously most-expensive ones. Show a buyer a few expensive homes to adjust their price expectations. Put a more expensive cereal on the shelf with the others. Sales techniques don't get much simpler than this.

About the Author: Steve Gillman has studied unusual ways to make money for thirty years. To learn more, visit his website, Unusual Ways To Make Money:

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