The Psychology of Selling


1 day


This programme focuses on how we use psychological concepts to gain a greater understanding of how we and others behave and looks at ways of building more effective relationships and influencing others through the use of psychology.

Who will this programme benefit?

This programme is aimed at Commercial Excellence Team members who are extremely competent and confident in what they already do. This programme will provide them with an insight into understanding and influencing others through the use of psychology.

Pre-course work

We are recommending that the Baron EQ-i questionnaire is completed as part of the pre course work.

High Level Overview of the day

Key themes will include:

  • The emerging relevance of Neuroscience

  • Positive Psychology and the relevance to sales and buying

  • Emotional intelligence and the business relationship

  • Basic psychology (101) – Perception, Memory and Attention

  • Fast and slow thinking for judgements, decisions, risks and biases

Let’s sum this up with this simple example of just how impossible it is to begin to understand human behaviour, “why did the shop assistant at the pet store puts 75 cat food cans in one bag and a tiny box of treats in the other, so that I lurched to my car leaning to one side?”

People are highly complex and often mysterious and we all struggle to understand our fellow humans, even those we think we know well. There are a few things that we do share that can help.

We’ve heard it before and that’s because it’s true, before we can understand others we need to understand ourselves. This is one of the basic premises of theories of psychology and emotional intelligence.

An introduction to some basic psychology principles, including memory, perception, attention, judgement and decision making using some of the concepts of Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman including:

  • Judgements and choices of others – it’s true that our judgement is invariably flawed by our intuitive thought – the fast approach. Although often useful these thoughts often lead to serious errors of judgement. So how do we combine the capabilities of our fast thinking, intuitive and emotional system with our slow more deliberate and logical one
    What about our expertise? Does that count?

  • Judgement and decisions are guided directly by feelings of liking and disliking, with little deliberation or reasoning – does your buyer like or dislike you or your offer?
    Do we really make logical and rationale decision – yes we do but more often they are based on Emotions. Simple examples to demonstrate how the motivation to buy is emotional and then we find the rationale reason to justify the decision – we buy because we like it, we trust it, we feel good about it and then we find the logical reason why it is the correct choice.
    We are also drawn to low risk and avoid uncertainty – how can we make the offer feel like a sure win?

  • Perception - Why the anticipated judgement of other matters and the impact on buying and selling

  • Memory – People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they can retrieve it from their memory. This is largely determined by the extent of coverage. What is being talked about in your buyer’s world, how can you increase the focus of your focus and offer to match?

  • Attention – What happens when you hear an ‘offensive’ remark? What happens when you or your buyer are intensely focussed on a task? What happens when you are distracted?

  • Problem solving – The tougher the problem the more the pupils dilate, the blood pressure increases along with the heart rate and a tensing of the muscles – so we avoid it and look for the easier option. We find it easier to think associatively, metaphorically, causally and tend to avoid statistically – requires too many things at once!
    Try it:

    • What is the emotion?

    • What might have caused this?

    • What might happen next?

  • Our brain is deeply social and a social pain is far more toxic than a physical pain. How long does it take to get over a social pain? The SCARF model is useful for this aspect

    • S – Status

    • C – Certainty

    • A – Autonomy

    • R – Relatedness

    • F – Fairness

    Positive state – find ways to get your buyer in a positive state, identify which aspect of SCARF is n=most important to them and make it a positive experience

Understanding our Clients, customers or buyers

  • People make decisions emotionally. They decide based on a feeling, need, or emotion, not though a logical thought process. That’s why intangible benefits are the keys to persuasion, so finding the emotional hot button is key.

  • People justify decisions with facts. Example: a man sees an advertisement with a photo of a sports car and instantly falls in love. He can’t bring himself to buy the car based on a feeling, so he reads the copy for technical details about the powerful engine, safety features, and low maintenance and emissions. He wants the car because it makes him feel good. But he buys it only when he can justify the purchase rationally. A trick he uses on himself is to ask the easy question and Sales Personnel can make sure their ‘buyers’ do that too.

  • People are egocentric. We all see the world in terms of how it relates to us personally, the “What’s in it for me?”

  • People look for value. Value is not a fixed number. Value is relative to what you’re selling, what others charge, what the prospect is used to paying, how badly the prospect wants it, and how the prospect perceives the difference between your offer and others. Value needs to be demonstrated equal to or greater than the asking price.

  • People think in terms of people. Research shows that the primary function of the brain is to deal with social interactions. Be personable and provide quotes, testimonials, stories of satisfied customers.

  • You can’t force people to do anything. You can urge. You can push. You can entice. But ultimately, people do what they want to do. The job of the seller is to show how what you’re offering meets your prospect’s needs.

  • People love to buy. Some say people don’t like to be “sold” to ….. that may be so, but people love to discover new products, engage in complex deals and unique experiences. So instead of “selling” to people, shift the focus to how this will “help” them.

  • People are naturally suspicious. Most people are moderately sceptical of any offer. They seek to avoid risk. You can never predict the level of suspicion any particular person has, so it’s usually best to back up all claims with evidence, such as testimonials, survey results, authoritative endorsements, test results, and scientific data.

  • People are always looking for something. Love. Wealth. Glory. Comfort. Safety. People are naturally dissatisfied and spend their lives searching for intangibles. Show people how a particular product, service, or cause fulfils one or more of their needs.

  • Most people follow the crowd. Most of us are imitators. We look to others for guidance, especially when we are uncertain about something. We ask, “What do others think about this? What do others feel? What do others do?” Then we act accordingly. This is why testimonials and case histories are so influential.

  • Summary & review of the day

  • Close


  • Maximum number of delegates: 12 for the day

  • Timings: 9am to 5pm

  • Cybèle Trainer: Christine Gilkes

  • Style of the day: High interactive, participative and engaging.

  • Pre-course questionnaire: Charged at £45.00 per person

Sales TrainingRoss Taylor