Let’s start with this piece of wisdom: Selling ain’t telling. You can’t just go and tell someone what to do and expect them to do it. People like to think they have ‘free will’ and whilst I don’t want to get into the in-depth philosophy on that one, you have to let them believe they do.

Selling is an art and starts by being a great listener and figuring out how to fulfil the needs of others. Psychology 101.

Now you may be thinking, “I don’t need to know how to sell. I’m not really in that arena.” 


There’s an element of sales in pretty much everything we do. Think about it… So, that being the case why not be good at it?  Whether you’re out on the road, selling online, selling a concept or even trying to sell your soul to the devil for a smallholding in Tuscany, you need to be on point.

It’s All About Me

Even though the end game is all about you, you’re not going to get any results by behaving that way. Put your ego in a bag, swallow your pride and make it all about them. The ubiquitous “them” to whom you wish to sell to.  In order to do this you must seek to understand the mind and world of another. Think Yoda. Once you fathom this out you can talk to your prospect in a language that they not only understand but resonate with.

About them

Whatever your MO when it comes to selling, be it an e mail, a newsletter, an advert or a face to face demo your sole focus is obviously the potential buyer. You have to understand the relevance of what you are trying to sell to this person and customise your interaction to suit.

Aim – FIRE!

In a usual, day to day sales role, a rep on the road will already be aware of this. He knows his target audience (thanks to the backbone of the company) where his potential buyers reside, who the competition is and exactly what he is going to say to sell the benefit of his product: They know their ideal buyer profile, see the bullseye and know just where to shoot.

You have to do the same. Not just anybody and everybody wants to buy your swag. Not everybody is going to want to buy even though you know they need it.  People have to be enticed and see what you have to offer as a benefit to them. This is where we have to get psychological and learn to adjust to those good vibrations.

Head Spacer

I don’t want to call this psychological trickery so I won’t. Put that right out of your mind and let’s focus on the brainchild. We are wired to respond to certain things in certain ways. Being aware of those ways will help you use them to your benefit.

  • The Anchor effect: No, I haven’t misspelt it. The first piece of information we receive acts as an anchor in which we evaluate further data. If I was to offer to sell you a beautiful bottle of champagne for £300 you would take this as the anchor price. This would set the standard for negotiation. Even if I sold you this bottle for £200 and that was still overpriced it wouldn’t matter because it would seem more reasonable than the initial figure (first piece of data).


  • Loss Aversion: None of us like to lose. In fact, we fear the loss of something more than we like the gain that may accompany it.The negative feelings derived from loss are infinitely stronger than the positive ones we feel with gain. In a nutshell: losing makes us feel bad and that creates loss aversion. You can use this technique in newsletters or headlines by focusing on “loss”.  For example:  “Do you want to lose out on £100 a day by not downloading this simple formula?” Focus on what your potential buyer stands to lose if they don’t take you up on your offer.


  • Rhyme-as-reason (or Eaton-Rosen phenomenon) effect: Rhyming statements convince people better than those that do not. Yes you may check this posts headline and smile. Call it harmony.  In fact, the slogan “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit ” was the signature phrase used to gain acquittal for O.J. Simpson in his murder trial. Look how that turned out. We evaluate the truth based on the aesthetic quality. So, if you have an advert to write – sing it!


  • The Decoy:  This is used to offer another option when people are not able to choose between two. Smart, eh? This third option which may just be the one you want them to choose will seem like the most sensible / cost effective / value. See the decoy effect in action in this short video here:

  •  Confirmation Bias: We are more likely to accept information that aligns with our belief system and experiences. Don’t go selling heresy beads to the local vicar, he won’t go for it. Most humans will tend to look for information that supports their beliefs, remember information that supports their beliefs or even make it fit their beliefs (polarisation effect) Empathise and use strategies to make your product or service attractive and fit in with their belief system.
  • Peak-end Rule: Ending is everything. The finale must be remembered. Why do we have encores? Last Night Of The Proms – Look how that bows out! People remember the peak of an experience and most particularly the end. In any presentation or video marketing keep this useful information in mind and leave your audience rocking on their heels.

Second That Emotion

Don’t pretend you’ve never played on anyone’s emotions because you have. Shame on you. But, since you’re not a novice now let’s develop that strategy for sales. Using complete logic all the time will bore people and have them switching off. How do you think people like me tell stories? We play to the emotion. We get people to feel.  Ya feel me? As well as getting through to the logical and rational mind, people will respond greatly to an emotional pull. There are six key emotions that will impact your buyers’ decision, and here they are:

1 Greed

2 Fear

3 Altruism

4 Envy

5 Pride

6 Shame

Now obviously some of these aren’t very pleasant. You don’t want to force your buyer into shame and fear because you won’t be respected and truth be told, you really should play nice. There are more flies caught with honey than vinegar.  However, using a couple of these key emotions, very subtly within your material will bring about an emotional response that may sway a decision.

You are now armed and dangerous and fit to get your own way in any given situation. In fact, this is probably the best blog post you have ever read because it brings you pragmatic, quality, usable tools that will take you to maximum success. Brought to you by Ukandoo – Because we teach – You can do.

Yeah – forget that ending in a hurry….

Jules Smith

Jules Smith

Author, Writer, Storyteller

Jules has an eclectic and colourful history creating stories, writing, articles, blogs, and art philosophy.

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