How to sell to those who don’t want to be sold

The science of selling

Your customers are bombarded with information at a near constant rate and, as a result, are more skeptical than ever. It’s difficult to sell a product to someone who’s developed the reflex to disregard anything that even slightly resembles a sales pitch.

No time for you, Mr. or Mrs. Marketing Person – I got scrolling to do! Here I go, scroll, scroll, scroll, on this pocket-sized, electronic prison that the fine people over at Apple have built just for me.

This is also true of printed advertisements. When someone hands you a flyer on the street it’s like they’re saying, here, you throw this away.

How do you get your message across?

You must appeal to your customers’ subconscious instincts. Your message needs to eek past the neurons that are firing like sub machine guns, rejecting every perceived advertisement, and yank on those wires within the brain that are instinctive.

Appeal to the sensory part of your customers’ brains.

The amygdala is the part of your brain that triggers buying decisions. This is valuable information for marketers because when this part of our brain is triggered, it causes us to feel desire. When the amygdala is stimulated, your customer will involuntarily stop scrolling.

To stimulate the amygdala, use sensory language that taps into your prospects’ subconscious brain. If you’re selling hamburgers, don’t talk about money – it doesn’t make people hungry.

Instead, create copy that talks about the sizzling, caramelized onions that top-off the juicy, perfectly-seared patty made from 100% pure, grass-fed Angus beef, grilled to your liking and placed between two toasted, butter-encrusted asiago buns with a light coating of house-made garlic and parmesan aioli.

Demonstrate to prospects that people like them endorse your product.

Trust is a powerful motivator and is more valuable to you than any business school sales pitch. With trust, you can accomplish amazing feats. Trying to land your first ever Tattoo client? You need trust. Want to convince your friend to play William Tell with you? Trust. Need people to give you money in exchange for a product or service? T-R-U-S-T.

One way to get people to trust your company is to demonstrate to them that other people already do. This concept is referred to as social proof, and it posits that the more people we see doing a particular thing in a given situation, the greater our tendency to perceive it as the correct thing to do in that situation.

This concept is where old sayings like, monkey see, monkey do and when in Rome, do as the Romans do, originated. *

Case studies and testimonials are great tools you can use to gain credibility with prospective customers. Don’t list features, allow real-life people to vouch for you and establish trust with new customers.

If you can show prospects that your existing customers are cool people, just like them, who happen to love your product, you can win them over. Bonus points if you can make them think that your customers are actually cooler or hipper than them, because then, they will feel like they can achieve (or more accurately, purchase) this sought-after level of social aptitude that they’ve never reached before.

Suggest that there isn’t enough to go around

Much of our decision-making instincts are informed by whether or not we think we can actually have something. If we believe that an item is not readily available to us, an innate instinct from within makes us feel as though we desperately want that thing.

It’s the marketing version of playing hard to get. You’re no longer saying, please buy my product – I’ll even give it to you cheap if you just buy it. PLEASE, dear God, just buy it. Instead, you’re saying, all casual-like, Hey…uh…just in case you didn’t know, you can’t buy this thing anymore, unless you do it now. Just thought I’d tell you. Who even cares? Not me – just telling you.

This tactic makes it so that the proverbial “ball”, or ability to purchase your product, is no longer in your customers’ court, it’s in yours. Invoking a sense of urgency causes people to think to themselves, I’m not going to be like those suckers who missed out – I’m getting mine now.

Creating purchasing deadlines (only available until September 25) or suggesting that there is a limited inventory (offer only valid while supplies last) can cause this subconscious reaction in your customers.

If you feel like your message isn’t being heard, go back and analyze your marketing efforts and see if you can’t incorporate some of these tactics into your marketing copy. Tap into your audience’s subconscious and appeal to the part of their brain that is involuntary so that your message is no longer merely glazed over and forgotten.

* I actually don’t know that to be the truth, but you probably took my word for it because I’ve established some amount of trust, even if it is a minuscule amount, since you’ve gotten this far in the article. You also identified my Asterix indicating that there was more to this little made-up anecdote and scrolled down. Admit it – you trust me.