Have you ever wondered how some people can convince everybody to believe what they want them to? It’s like they know some sort of Jedi mind trick. The truth is it’s not as hard as it seems. Psychological research shows that there are several ways you can persuade someone into doing what you want, without them even knowing it. You don’t have to be the boss to make people listen to you. You just need to know what to say, and how to say it.

Along with your communication style, there are also environmental elements that come into play. Companies like Ikea know how to take advantage of this. For example, they sell food for a much lower price than you would find at a restaurant or grocery store, making customers feel like they are getting a great deal on all of their items. Successful business people and marketers understand the importance psychology plays in their success. Here are some of the top tips and tricks that can help you get an edge over your competition.

Emotional Appeals

According to studies, consumers tend to relate more to psychological and emotional appeals compared to function and feature appeals. Big companies like Coca-Cola and Nike use this in their ads all the time. For example, how many commercials have you seen for Nike that actually talk about the features of the shoe or how comfortable they are to wear? It’s not that these features are not important to consumers, but watching people accomplish amazing athletic feats while wearing their shoes is much more exciting. The next time you want to describe a product or service you are trying to sell, instead of concentrating on the features, explain to them how this product or service will improve their life.

Priming

Priming is sort of like subliminal messaging, and is a tactic businesses have been using for a long time. Psychologists have proved that being exposed to a concept or idea can affect the way you respond to a different, yet related, concept or idea. For example, a commercial for a mini-van shows different families taking advantage of all the room and features available. Now every time you see a mini-van out on the street, you automatically assume that it belongs to a family with kids. A 2002 study has shown that the background on a webpage can also influence the way you look at an item. If you see money in the background, you assume you’re getting a good deal and then explore the cost information.

Illusion of Scarcity

People like to feel important and different. They want things other people can’t get, either because of availability or cost. The illusion of scarcity usually makes people feel the item is more valuable than it really is. Have you ever met someone who paid a ridiculous price for an item, and then bragged about how they have something unique or one-of-a-kind? This is why companies often use slogans like “only a limited amount available” and “get it now while you can.” If you plan on using a slogan to draw more customers to your business, you can find experts in design and creativity on Freelancer.com. Hire a professional, and get your business started today.

Loss Aversion

A study conducted in 1990 by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-winning behavioural economist and psychologist, showed that most people are likely to take action if they think they are losing something compared to gaining the same thing. Companies have been quick to use this to their advantage by offering limited-time free trials, because they know consumers will more likely want to keep something they already have as opposed to trying something new for a small cost.

Reposition Your Competition

This is a trick companies use to distance themselves from their competitors. According to the book - Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, consumers have limited slots when it comes to services and products, so it’s important that your company’s brand is synonymous with the product or service it is selling. For example, Jacuzzi is a brand that makes hot tubs, not the actual name of the product. Yet, most people use the term to refer to all hot tubs. Another great example is Chapstick; when was the last time you heard someone use the term lip balm?

Reciprocity

This psychological trick is simple. If your customers feel like you’ve done something for them, they will be more likely reciprocate. Have you ever been to a restaurant and felt like your server “hooked you up” by offering you a discount because you had to wait a long time for your food? Knowing that it wasn’t your server’s fault to begin with, you appreciate their kind deed and may feel the need to tip them more. A research conducted by psychologist Robert Cialdini showed that people will tip more when a waiter brings a mint with your check.

Social Proof

People don’t like to feel left out, so most of the time they will follow the herd. Companies have been taking advantage of this and use tools like social media to make people think they have a lot of followers. This is why companies use product placement in your favorite TV shows and movies. Using celebrities to promote a name brand is also a great example of social proof. This type of marketing is very successful, and you can see the proof every time your child asks you to buy something because everyone else has it.

Anchoring

This describes the common tendency for people to rely too much on the first piece of information they receive when making a decision. Companies use this tactic to make people feel like they are getting a great deal. For example, have you ever been shopping and found an item that has been given such a huge discount from the original price that you buy it because you don’t want to miss out on such a great deal? Then you find out that other stores are selling the same item for the same price you thought was a huge discount. That original price was the anchor they used to make you feel like it was a great buy.

Using Anecdote

According to psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris, stories stick with us longer and better than statistics. People can relate to stories better and they feel more realistic compared a statistic. Hearing that four out of five people prefer a certain car model because of the safety features doesn’t have the same effect as a young mother telling you a story about how her child’s life was saved due to the car’s safety features. This is why so many companies use ads with testimonials given by real customers.

Decoy Effect

This tactic is used to make people feel like they have a choice in the price they pay by offering more options. This also makes people feel like they are getting a great deal. This marketing tool is usually used for memberships, product combinations and services. For example, if you want to join a gym and they have three options: one month gym membership for $50, one month pool access for $50, and one month gym and pool access for $60, most people will go with both the gym and pool access. Even though they had no intention of using the pool before, a $40 discount sounds like the best deal.

As technology continues to evolve and consumer habits change, businesses will use whatever tools they have at their disposal to bring in customers. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, then you need to know more than just business. You need to know how people’s minds work and how to use that to your business’s advantage.

Have you successfully used any of these techniques in your business? Do you use any other technique? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posted 10 August, 2017

NickGolding

Entrepreneur & Creator

Nick is the Entrepreneur Correspondent for Freelancer.com. He is based in Sydney, NYC, & London. His life consists of frequent flyer points.

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