What makes us buy: Part 4 - Psychology techniques you can try

There are loads of these so I’ve picked my favoured 7. Let’s dive straight in.

1. A-Z Technique (also called the Loss Aversion technique)

This is where you lead your customer directly from pain to pleasure. The goal is to lead them by the hand and get them as close to pleasure as you can before you ask for their money. So in their minds, the customer associates your brand with pleasure.

The classic example of this is offering people free trials. Unfettered access to a piece of software or a test drive for a specified time period, will hopefully mean that the potential customer will not want to be without that piece of software, or maybe they won’t want to give up the lovely car (hence ‘Loss Aversion’). So you can think about:

  • Taster sessions
  • Free trials
  • Free class
  • Test drive
  • Free consultations

2. Explain Why

When you take the time to explain why someone should do something, they are much more likely to do it. This theory comes from a famous experiment in the 1950s done by Rank Xerox. When standing in the queue to use a photocopy, people were more likely to let someone push in if there was a reason given e.g. I’ve got a train to catch, or I have to pick up my kids. Apparently it even works if you give a ridiculous reason like “I need to make copies”.

So think about it like this: “You need to buy this XXXX because……………..” and fill in the blanks. Try it.

3. Simplify your solution

Modern consumers want instant gratification. If they don’t ‘get it’ right away you’ve lost them. So try and distill your offer/solution down to say, three key points. Make those points benefits focused, and keep them to just one or two sentences. See if you can do it.  

4. Create a common enemy

This works by creating an enemy that your potential customers can relate to. So for example, the most obvious one that you will have seen is for antibacterial soap and cleaning products. We’ve gone antibacterial mad. The companies who make soap and cleaning products have made a common enemy of household germs and have us convinced that we need to spray the living daylights out of every surface in our homes - when in reality, all we need is hot soapy water.

Another example: I could make a common enemy out of horrible business jargon - and my copy might read something like:

“I'm also on a one-woman crusade to rid the world of crappy business language and meaningless clichés. A bit like Luke Skywalker on his quest to become a Jedi Knight (except I'm a girl and I'm allergic to Wookiees).”

5. Stand for something

I’m not talking about standing for election - but to let your customers know what you believe in. Maybe you’re passionate about using local suppliers. Or maybe you have a strong ‘green’ policy. Another example is to display the badge that says “we’re a living wage employer.”

I read a report that said that when consumers choose to be loyal to a particular brand, in 64% of cases, their brand loyalty was attributed to ‘shared values’.

6. Highlight your strengths by admitting shortcomings

The classic one here is Avis the car rental company who were always number 2 behind Hertz Car Rental. Avis turned that into a strong message by using the tagline “We try harder” which has been phenomenally successful for them.

So I’m a one person business, that could be seen as a weakness - but I can turn it into a strength by saying, “You’ll never be fobbed off onto an inexperienced junior, you are guaranteed to get my 100% undivided attention.”

7. Use Social Proof

Social proof helps people differentiate you from the pack. Social Proof examples are:

  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Editorial articles where you’ve been featured
  • Client lists
  • Awards
  • Accreditations and professional associations
  • Reviews

There are dozens more, but you get the idea. So don't hide your light under a bushel - share your successes.

So if you’re still reading, thank you for hanging in there. Next week I’ll try a new subject.

See you next week.

Jackie
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