10 Consumer Psychology Nuggets You Need To Know

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When a marketer is selling a product or service, it’s important for them to really get in the head of their customers.

While it would be nice to just say that you have a product or service and tell customers what it does, this often isn’t enough to make a sale.

The thing is, while customers want the product or service that you are selling, they may not know it. They also may not be fully convinced that they need it.

This is where buyer psychology comes in.

Buyer psychology is the study of consumers and how they think.

I’m going to give you a 101 course on buyer psychology so you’ll be able to start thinking more like your customers. Once you get into the mindset of your customers, you’ll find that you are better able to target them, market to them and sell them on your products or services.

So, let’s get started with buyer psychology 101.

1. People Love to Buy (But Hate to be Sold)

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People love to buy things…this is obvious.

If you consider the amount of stuff that most people have—heck, if you consider the amount of stuff that you have—you can see that the idea of purchasing products and services is an exciting one.

Still, as weird as it sounds, most people don’t actually like to be sold…even if they want that particular product or service!

In order to sell more, it’s necessary to become less salesy.

Instead, customers want to feel like they came upon their purchasing decision by themselves. This helps them to justify the purchase, and it makes them more likely to buy without hesitation.

2. Customers Want Social Proof

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You may have the best product or service in the world, but it’ll be hard to sell it if no one else is buying.

Customers want social proof. They want to know that other people are making the same decision as them.

People like to feel like they are part of the group. We are social creatures, after all. So, when people see that their peers are purchasing something, they will be more likely to purchase that thing as well.

Make sure to provide social proof (if possible) to help drive sales.

3. They Want to Feel Safe

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Have you ever purchased something that you weren’t completely sure about? Was part of the reason that you purchased it the fact that you were offered a “money back guarantee?”

Even if you didn’t think about it at the time, subconsciously you may have made the decision to purchase certain products and services based on the fact that you could return them—no questions asked.

This lowers the risk of purchase, which makes the purchase easier to justify.

Customers like to feel safe when they make a purchase. They want to know that if they don’t like it—or if they change their mind—they can get their money back.

That’s why the words “money back guarantee” appear so often. Marketers know that this little safety net can increase sales.

4. Customers Want the Feeling of Reciprocity

People like to do nice things for other people…it is hardwired in our DNA.

Because of this, if a business gives away free items, the customer is likely to feel the need to reciprocate.

This reciprocity generally takes the form of a sale.

If you can get a customer to feel like you’ve helped them out and they “owe you one,” it is that much easier to suggest a purchase. After all—you helped them out.

Consider “free” gifts that you’ve received from companies. How did these gifts make you feel about the company? If the answer is “good” or “positive,” it very likely influenced your decision to purchase.

5. Customers Want to Hear a Story

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Humans are natural storytellers. It’s just a part of who we are.

Since the beginning of time, humans have told each other stories. We see this in scrolls, texts…even paintings on the walls of caves!

There is something about a good story that captivates us and draws us in…

Great marketers understand this. They know that people love a good story, so they want to tell one. They also understand that their product or service needs to be at the center of that story.

If I were to try to sell you a book by describing the book, you may or may not purchase it.

Now, if I told you a story about how that book helped me to lose 20 pounds, and losing that weight cured my type 2 diabetes, you’d be a lot more interested in that book!

Even a simple story is enough.

Great marketers can tell a story with as little as a single page in a magazine or a 15-second commercial.

Learn how to tell a good story and your customers will convince themselves that they need what you are selling.

6. They Want to Feel Like They Are Part of Something

Think about the culture that Apple has built.

People that buy Apple products are proud of those Apple products. They also feel like they are part of an elite class of people that are connected under the banner of Apple.

Apple understands this and has created a “hive” mindset since day one. Owning an Apple product is more than owning a device—it’s becoming part of a group of users that all agree that Apple is the best.

If you can convince your customers that they are part of a tribe built around your product or service, they will be more likely to engage with others in that tribe—and invite new people to join.

People are joiners. They like to be part of something. You simply need to give them something to be part of!

7. People Purchase With Their Emotions 

Most sales are a gut decision. This is because people often make decisions based on their emotions.

While some people like to think purchases through from a logical perspective, most consumers don’t. If you can make an emotional appeal, customers will be more likely to purchase from you.

This is why targeting pain points is so important…

Pain points help to get to the root of a customer’s problem, which in turn accesses their emotions. If you can harness the power of these emotions, you can significantly boost the chances of a sale.

Remember: people often don’t care about the specs of a computer—they want to know that the computer won’t fail when they are writing their research paper, and they want to know that their computer will help them to Skype with their family on the other side of the world.

8. Customers Like To Buy From People They Know

It’s no surprise that people tend to trust people that they already know. After all, if a stranger offered you a ride home and your best friend offered you a ride home, who would you go with?

If a customer has purchased something from you in the past—even something small—they will be much more likely to purchase from you again in the future.

Let’s say someone is selling healthcare products. They sell a multivitamin, and the customer loves it. When it comes time to purchase a protein powder, guess what company they will be more likely to purchase from?

The same goes for branding.

Even if a customer hasn’t purchased from you before, if they recognize your brand, they will be more likely to buy from YOU over a competitor they have never heard of.

9. Scarcity Drives Sales

There is a reason you see countdown timers on websites, and sales that are only for a short period of time…scarcity drives sales. 

If people feel like they are about to miss out on a deal, they will be much more likely to jump into action.

The thing is, though, you need to actually create scarcity. If you say an item is only on sale for the weekend, it needs to go back up to full price Monday!

This will let your customers know that you are serious, and that if they missed out on this particular sale, they need to jump on the next one!

10. People Trust BRANDS (Not Companies)

A lot of entrepreneurs don’t understand the distinction between a company and a brand.

While the brand is an aspect of a company, it is also separate from the company as an entity. That’s why—when people make purchases—they consider the brand, not the company. 

I know this sounds confusing, but let me give you an example…

Apple (which we discussed previously) was just a computer company for the longest time. People didn’t care about Apple.

Once Apple became a brand that meant “sleek,” “innovative” and “hip,” people started to love the BRAND. They didn’t care as much about Apple as a company, they cared more about the products and the logo.

To be honest, most people don’t care about your company—as in your sales, employees and even your goods—they care about your brand image. Sell them THAT.

Using Consumer Psychology To Your Advantage

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Buyer psychology is all about understanding what customers want, and why they want it. With what we’ve gone over, you should have a better understanding of what the mind of a consumer looks like.

Now, use this information and guide your customers to purchasing your products or services!