Psychological Tricks in Selling

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Psychological Tricks in Selling

By Stephen Bucaro

In this article, I’m revealing six powerful secretpsychological tricks that you can use to increase theeffectiveness of your advertising and marketing. What ifyou don’t sell anything? Should you ignore this information?

You ARE selling something. Whether you are a Real Estateagent selling multi-million dollar homes, or a worker tryingto sell your boss on the idea that you are a valuableemployee, everybody is selling something. So it would bewise to learn these secret tricks and use them to achieveyour own personal success.

The secret psychological tricks that I am going to revealare not really secret. They have been used by shrewedsalesman for millenium. Their existence was revealed backin 1984 by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book “Influence : ThePsychology of Persuasion”.

You will recognize these tricks being used everywhere inadvertising today. Now you will be able to put them to useto enhance your own personal success.

Psychological Selling Trick Number 1: Reciprocity

Reciprocity works like this: you give someone something ofvalue for free. That individual feels an obligation toreturn the favor. Reciprocity is a very powerful principle.

To use reciprocity as a marketing tool, you give peoplesomething of value for free, they reciprocate by purchasingyour product or service. But you would be surprised howmany advertisers totally blow it. Either they don’tunderstand the concept of “free”, or they don’t have totalfaith in the principle of reciprocity.

For example, consider the offer “get a free camera when yousubscribe to our magazine for two years.” That’s not free.Or, “free installation with a one year commitment.” That’snot free. The customer is paying with an obligation. No sale.

Consider the offer,”receive the latest issue of ourmagazine absolutely free. No bill will be sent.” If theprospective customer finds the magazine to be of value,they feel an obligation to subscribe. Or, “one month offree Internet service. No credit card required.” If theInternet service performs well, the prospective customerfeels an obligation to sign up.

The trick is to create something that has high perceivedvalue to a prospective customer, but costs you little ornothing to produce. Free information is a good example.Here again many advertisers totally blow it. The freeinformation turns out to be nothing more than blatantadvertising.

Free samples of your product or service is another goodexample. Again, many businesses blow it. They eitherproduce a cheaper version of their product to use as freesamples, or they use the free sample campaign as a meansto dump reject product.

The largest Internet Service Provider is well known forgiving away hundreds of hours of service for free. Nocredit card required. The largest cookie company is famousfor giving away free cookies. Reciprocity is a very powerfulmarketing strategy.

Psychological Selling Trick Number 2: Scarcity

Scarcity works like this: There is a limited amount of theitem available. After those are gone, the item will not beavailable. “urgency” implies Scarcity. For example, “thisoffer will be honored only for a limited time”.

The effectiveness of the scarcity principle is welldemonstrated by the large segment of the population involvedin pursuing antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia simplybecause these items are scarce. Scarcity is often contrived,as when a company produces a “limited edition”.

For example, when Disney releases a limit edition of one ofits classic stories – yes, limited to a production of morecopies than they could ever possibly sell – then it goes inthe “vault”. And how fortunate we’ll be a few years fromnow when they decide to do us the favor of taking it backout of the vault.

Note: Manufactured items, especially DVDs and CD-ROMs,cannot be “scarce”. It’s a simple matter to put themanufacturing dies back into production. All scarcities ofmanufactured items are contrived.

One popular incarnation of scarcity is the “going out ofbusiness sale”. Customers somehow don’t pick up on thefact that the mark-downs are not that great, or that thestore has new merchandise coming in the back door to takeadvantage of the increase in traffic.

Scarcity is a very powerful marketing tool. There are manyways to contrive scarcity. You can create a limited edition,or for items like information products, scarcity can existin the form of urgency by creating a limited time offer.

Psychological Selling Trick Number 3: Commitment

Commitment involves getting a prospective customer to takea tiny step towards a goal. For example, you might get themto request free information, or fill out a survey. When theprospective customer takes that first step, they have madea commitment, however tentative, towards the goal you haveset out for them. They are likely to take another step.

One example of this process is the “two step” method usedin mail order. When a mail order marketer runs anadvertisement, they don’t even try to sell the product.Instead, the advertisement offers free information. Aprospective customer makes that first commitment towardspurchasing the product by requesting the free information.The free information they receive is designed to enticethem to take the next step.

Another example of using commitment as a marketing tool isa survey. By checking a few boxes and answering a fewquestions, a prospective customer takes that first steptowards a commitment. The result they receive from thesurvey is designed to entice them to take the next step.

Yet another example of using commitment as a marketing toolis a lottery. For example, people enter their name andaddress on a ticket for a chance to win a new car. Asalesman uses that information to contact them. By enteringtheir name and address on the lottery ticket, the individualhas made a commitment to own that new car.

The most common example of the principle of commitment arethose long-winded full page advertisements in magazines.The prospective customer invests a great deal of timereading through the entire advertisement. That investmentof time represents a commitment. They are likely to takethe next step, responding to the advertisement.

To use the psychological power of commitment in youradvertising, don’t try to sell your product or service inyour ad. Instead, use a survey, contest, or free informationto get a prospective customer to make that first steptowards a commitment to purchase your product.

Psychological Selling Trick Number 4: Consensus

Consensus involves getting prospective customers to believethat “everybody’s doing it”. Everybody is just waiting inline to purchase your product. Everybody can’t be wrong, sothe product must be fantastic!

Of course you’re smart enough to know that everybody CAN bewrong. Everybody thought that SUVs were safe vehicles (theyroll over). Everybody thought Enron was a great investment(it went bankrupt). Everybody thought Iraq had weapons ofmass destruction (well maybe not everybody). You’re anindependent thinker.

Here are some examples of headlines using the consensusprinciple: “It’s the new sensation crossing the country”,”People are signing up in droves”, “People just can’t getenough of them”, “Record sales”, “Unbelievable response!”and “Join millions of smart consumers”. Combine this witha stock photograph of a large group of people, a long lineof people, or a crowd of people, and you have a powerfulconsensus message.

Note: Many people don’t think they’re having fun unlessthey’re in a large, noisy crowd. Unfortunately, everylarge crowd contains a few lunatics. When things go wrong,the crowd stampedes and people get hurt, or killed. When Isee a large crowd, I head the other way.

Fortuately, most people are not independent thinkers. Theyact like a herd of cattle. Use the consensus principle inyour advertising, and people, like lemmings headed for thesea, will come in waves to buy your product.

Psychological Selling Trick Number 5: Authority

Authority involves getting prospective customers to believethat someone who is knowledgeable or famous uses yourproduct or service. If a knowledgeable or famous person usesyour product, then it must be fantastic!

The bigger the authority, the more powerful the advertisingmessage will be. For example, doctors are authorities. “Mostdoctors prescribe Tylenol for arthritis pain”. Largeorganizations are authorities. “The National HeartAssociation says – Quaker oatmeal is good for your heart.”The Federal Government is an authority. “The U.S. Food andDrug Administration says whole wheat bread is part of acomplete diet”. If only we could think of a way to use Godas an authority!

Here’s how to use the principle of authority in advertising:search the Internet for any references to your product orservice. Find an article that alludes to your product beingof value. For example, let’s say you sell black T-shirts.You find an article by the U.S. Department of Agriculturethat says “bees are attracted to bright colored clothing”.Your copy: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture that says myT-shirts protect you from attack by stinging insects.”

Most advertising using the authority principle is taken outof context and exaggerated. Some advertising uses totallyfake authorities. “My dog biscuits are recommended by theInternational Association of Dog Nutritionists” (anorganization I started last week). Some advertising uses a”study” as an authority. “A recent study found that mylemonade tastes better than any other brand” (my motherliked it better).

I don’t recommend that you use a fake organization, a fakestudy, or take information out of context or exaggerate,but if you can locate a legitimate authority or studyrelated in any way to your product and quote it withoutexaggeration, you will have a powerful authority message.

Psychological Selling Trick Number 6: Greed

Greed involves taking advantage of many peoples belief thatthere is a secret short cut to wealth. They believe thatwealthy people didn’t earn their wealth, instead they knowa “secret”.

Note: I am not recommending that you use the principle ofgreed because it is used by unethical scammers. I’m simplyinforming you of it’s existence in order to make this seriesof articles complete.

The simplest method of using the principle of greed is thechain letter. You have no doubt received a chain letter atsome point. A chain letter contains a chart specifying themassive amounts of money the recipient will get when theyfollow the instructions. The first instruction is to sendmoney.

The multi-level or network marketing scheme works similarto a chain letter. The prospective recruit gets a chartshowing the massive amounts of money they will receive whenthey join the network. After parting with their money, thevictim is instructed to con their friends and relativesinto joining.

Another method of using the principle of greed is thelottery or casino. The odds of winning most lotteries areabout the same whether you buy a ticket or not. A casinoallocates only a tiny portion of it’s customers money towinnings in order to create the illusion that the odds ofwinning are good. Many people don’t understand statistics.In their mind, the phrase “win a million dollars” translatesinto “get a million dollars”.

Another example of the principle of greed is the businessopportunity scam. We know it works because successfulscammers invest millions to run business opportunityinfomercials, and they make hundreds of millions in profits.They prey on people who believe there is a secret short cutto wealth. The scammers think people who fall for theirscam are stupid, lazy, and greedy, so they deserve to getripped off.

The way to use the principle of greed is to contrive a”secret plan”. Run an ad describing how the plan requiresabsolutely no work to make massive amounts of money. Includea few bogus testimonials and a legitimate looking chartthat shows the massive amount of money the plan will bring.Some scammers include pictures of fake checks or fake bankstatements.

Never divulge any details of the plan in the ad. Theprospective customer is required to send money to get theplan. The typical plan instructs the purchaser to run thesame scam.

The principle of greed is very powerful. People who havebeen ripped of by this scam a thousand times before will,like hypnotized zombies, send you their money. They thinkTHIS TIME they will receive the REAL secret plan.

———————————————————-Resource Box:Copyright(C) 2004 Bucaro TecHelp. To learn how to maintainyour computer and use it more effectively to design a Website and make money on the Web visit bucarotechelp.comTo subscribe to Bucaro TecHelp Newsletter visit———————————————————-

To learn how to maintain your computer and use it more effectively to design a Web site and make money on the Web visit bucarotechelp.comTo subscribe to Bucaro TecHelp Newsletter visit


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