No matter what you sell – or whether your buyers are purchasing your wares for themselves or on behalf of their company – you are selling to human beings, and they are an odd bunch. They make decisions based on some very odd triggers, beliefs and reactions.  

Yet somehow, we have to figure out how to market to them in a way that allows them to consider what we’re offering. This isn’t about tricking them or selling them something they don’t need. It’s about removing the barriers that get in the way of someone being ready to buy. Here are some ways to do that. 

Create a minimum: For some reason, many people get frozen and are unable to move to say either “no thank you” or “I’ll buy one” if they don’t have a sense of the minimum investment required. I know – I would expect that they’d want to know the maximum they might have to spend, but research shows that’s not the case.

A recent study showed that people were motivated not only to move forward but also in most cases to spend more, once they understood the low end of the potential spend.

Show them how you stink: People are drawn to companies, products and services that don’t oversell and actually admit to their failings. Rather than resorting to hype and slick language, be accurate and realistic when talking about what you sell. No product or service is perfect for everyone, so acknowledge whom you are the perfect fit for and who you’re not suitable for.

Or, if there’s a flaw that you’re working to fix, talk about that too. Studies show that buyers are drawn to companies that own up to their shortcomings and they love a good redemption story.

Create an enemy: People naturally take sides. If you can create a foe for your product or service (think Apple versus PC), your prospects will quickly align with one or the other. Odds are, if they align with the foe, they weren’t going to be a right-fit customer for you anyway.

But, if they align with you, they are more likely to buy and buy more often, out of loyalty and to help with the fight. 

Call them names: When you assign a positive label to people, they are psychologically driven to live up to that label. When a product or service is associated with something aspirational, people are drawn to it. You might call this the midlife crisis reality. Convertibles and Harley-Davidsons would fall into this category.

But it doesn’t have to be a vanity purchase. If you assign someone a label like well-dressed, politically active or socially responsible, they will often take an action to prove that the label is correct. In the case of my examples, buying nicer clothes, voting or donating money to a worthy cause.

Keep them engaged: Lingering equals buying, sooner or later. If people are in a retail establishment, the longer they stay in the store, the more likely they are to make an impulse purchase. This is true online as well. The stickier your website, they more likely you are to make a sale.

For a bricks-and-mortar store, you might use free samples, live demonstrations or interesting displays to entice people to stick around. Online, you could have entertaining videos, helpful articles or interesting polls to make it tough to leave.

It has long been known that we buy based on emotion and then use features and facts to justify the purchase. The more you understand your buyers and what motivates them to take action, logical or not, the better.   

Why not use these psychological insights to get your potential buyers to see your products or services in a new light?