Opinions are not always rational. The human brain contains an array of psychological quirks that skews its perception of certain things. A multitude of unrelated details to a product’s inherent worth, for example, will be considered when making a decision. While salespeople should never seek to deceive or manipulate their audience, understanding how the brain reaches a decision can help analyze prospects better. It can help salespeople tailor their services to that specific audience’s needs. Below are seven psychological quirks people often encounter in a transaction.
Like it or not, the brain is hard-wired to “judge a book by its cover.” In more technical terms, the first piece of information the brain receives about something will color its overall perception of it. This initial detail is the anchor, hence the name of this effect. Therefore, people will compare and contrast further information with this reference.
For example, Person A received awful service at a particular restaurant chain. It is highly likely that he will not endorse that restaurant and any other establishment related to it. On the other hand, if Person B receives great service, he will most likely recommend that place to people he knows. Both of them are operating on their respective anchors; the quality of service.
First impressions do matter. Make sure the details and experience first-time buyers receive from you is a positive one. Inspiring customer service stories spread easily, enticing people to return and recommend your business.
“There is always a third choice in life. Even if you think you’re stuck between two impossible choices, there’s always a third way. You just have to look for it.” – Marcus Sedgwick
This is a perfect summation of the decoy effect. Simply put, the decoy effect shows that adding a third option will help customers decide between two options. In a study conducted by Duke University, participants were given the choice of two restaurants. There is a 3-star venue that is nearby and a 5-star one that was far away. Participants found it hard to decide. However, when a third option; a 4-star restaurant even further than the 5-star one, diners found it easy to choose the 5-star establishment. They reasoned that it was the best quality and not as far compared to the third option.
In this scenario, the 4-star restaurant was the decoy to nudge people into the 5-star establishment. These choices are intentionally imbalanced. The goal is to use the decoy to make your preferred option the more appealing product in the customer’s eyes. It is a subtle but powerful psychological quirk used to market a product.
What do Pet Rocks, Beanie Babies, and Tide Pods have in common? The concept behind them sounds a little silly on paper but it gained massive traction. People tried it out because well, “everyone else was doing it.” This is the bandwagon effect.
People gravitate towards something that everyone else around them does. The larger the crowd, the stronger the pull a certain trend is going to have. Sometimes, it is pretty obvious like trendy products you see passerby using on a daily basis. Sometimes, it is subtle like restaurants carving a chicken beside the table to create a buzz and get people to order the same item.
Use existing customers to leverage this advantage. Social media influencers and micro-influencers can help fuel this trend. Retain consistent quality to ensure your product doesn’t become a passing fad.
Brains are generally hard-wired to avoid risks. The feeling of loss can easily overpower the pleasant experience of gaining something nice. Keeping this in mind, salespeople can take advantage of this principle of ‘loss aversion’ to aid their marketing efforts.
For example, people will respond better to statements like ‘save 25% on your purchase’ rather than price is only 75% of its MSRP. The former is about saving money while the latter is about spending money. The two prices, of course, are similar.
Highlighting which problems your product can help avoid can take advantage of this in a presentation. Additionally, seeing a limited deal or sale may just be the final nudge a customer needs to buy your product. Again, consistency is important. You do not want your “last chance to get 30% off” promo to run for three days.
Customers do not remember all parts of a service experience equally. Much like watching a boring movie with a single iconic scene and a twist ending, the only parts the brain is more likely to remember is the climax or the ending. Professor Daniel Kahneman, the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for economics, called this the Peak-End Rule.
The rule states that we remember the most intense moments and its endings better than the average duration by which it lasted. Returning to our movie example, viewers are able to better remember the movie’s climax and ending over any other part. It pays to keep in mind that these “intense” moments, however, can be either positive or negative. It is the reason why even when your business does nearly everything right, your prospect may opt to remember a major thing you got wrong.
This is the reason why most promoters and presenters deliberately end on a high note. Take advantage of this bias by really highlighting the selling points of a product.
Curse of Knowledge
The curse of knowledge is the inability to relate to a less informed person about certain problems due to possessing better information. Salespeople are prone to this cognitive bias and make them prone to resorting to selling something based only on their word alone.
What bridges the gap here is education and empathy. Act as an advisor and be empathetic in helping a less-informed person navigate what for you, is a simple problem. Customers are not always interested to know if a product works. They are interested in how the product works for them specifically.
Tying in with first impressions, a good experience with the customer service rep will make a prospect evaluate the company better. It holds true in reverse as well. A bad experience will make prospects think poorly of the company as a whole. This is the Halo Effect at play.
It is important to keep this in mind when choosing service reps and brand ambassadors. A bad day cannot bleed into a transaction whether through call or chat. Maintain an air of professionalism and remind the company to be there to help a customer and not just to sell something to the customer. Create genuine connections to establish a better rapport with your audience.
In order for your customer service team to really reach their audience, they will need the proper support and tools. We can provide that for you. Talk to us today.