How to use psychology to sell to consumers, psychological sales tactics
Jun 22, 2018

3 Tips on Using Psychology to Sell – Inside the Consumer Mind

Determining how to best sell to your consumers is one of the most difficult parts of your strategy. But what if we told you that you could use the power of psychology to sell consumers on your brand? It turns out basic psychology holds the key to gaining consumer trust and making sales. Read on for our tips on how to use psychology to sell.


  1. Find your consumers’ emotional hot button.

Humans are emotional creatures. When it comes to making a purchase, people are initially drawn in by emotional factors. If you can’t make them feel, you can’t make them buy. Finding these emotional triggers is one of the easiest ways to sway consumers in your direction. You just need to find what that trigger is.

First, you need to decide which emotional approach you want to take. There are two emotional categories you can play on: positive and negative. Both come with their own sets of complications and positives. It really comes down to knowing your consumer base and knowing what motivates them.

It’s hard to argue that fear-based selling doesn’t work. Entire industries (Insurance, anybody?) are built off fear tactics. People have an innate fear of negative change and loss. With the rise of FOMO (fear of missing out), even the fear of exclusion has become a major selling point. Companies utilize this fear to promote their brand as the cure for these anxieties. Think of “Buy your tickets now or miss out!” or “Would your family be okay if you were to pass suddenly?” People fear the unknown. They fear rejection. People want to glide through life experiencing as few negative emotions as possible. Fear tactics use negative psychology to influence users to act based on future anxiety. While not the most moral of psychological tactics, creating a sense of urgency sells.

Positive psychology on the other hand plays on a consumer’s desire to live a happy, fulfilled life. The key here is incorporating your brand’s products into the vision a consumer has of their ideal life. Coca-Cola executes this type of branding flawlessly. Coke has built happiness into their branding equation – they even go so far as to use the phrase “Open Happiness” throughout their campaigns. They’ve made sure that when you’re thinking about your happiest summer days, you’re thinking about a bottle of Coke.

Your brand can use these same psychological tactics to sell to consumers. You just need to figure out where you fit into the happiness equation. What does your brand offer to consumers in terms of making life simpler or easier? What problems do you solve? How does life look for your consumers? You need to prove that your brand is the key to unlocking their perfect life.

This may mean getting a little creative. Does anyone really think opening a can of Coke is the only thing standing between them and happiness? Of course not. But Coke has conditioned its consumers to associate Coke with joy. If you can elicit that same response, you’re golden.


  1. Play on the ego.

People are inherently egocentric. It’s just the way we were wired to survive. In caveman times, putting ourselves first meant another day of surviving. However, in today’s world, we’re not exactly worried about getting eaten by predators. Instead, we’ve shifted that egocentric focus to our self-worth and where we see ourselves fitting into society.

People buy things to make them feel better about themselves. This plays out in two ways: how the brain feels when it makes a purchase, and how the purchase makes them feel about their identity.

Buying things lights up the reward center of our brains, giving our moods an instant boost when we purchase. There’s a reason most retail stores have little items in the line before you reach the cashier. When purchasing a product, most consumers have this idea of how it represents them and the ideal lifestyle they see themselves in. In simpler terms: they purchase products to justify their self-worth.

People have two main social goals: they want to feel good about themselves and they want to fit in. Why do you think those Insta-famous brands gain so much traction? People are imitators. They see those they admire with a certain product and convince themselves they could live the same life. It makes the unattainable feel attainable. Luxury brands thrive off this marketing. Their brand strategy implies that a glamorous life is attainable, but only if you wear these shoes or own that purse. They then put a big name behind their brand to drive the idea home. They convince consumers that in order to fit in with their idols, they need to attain a certain lifestyle status.

Smaller-scale companies accomplish this same feat with social proof. Testimonials and reviews from regular people give the impression that this brand is socially accepted. According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust product recommendations from their friends and family. Of course they do! Having a product liked by people you trust makes it easier for you to trust a brand you’ve never heard of. Word of mouth is a powerful advocate because you have to earn it. Creating this sense of trust bolsters your brand image while helping further your marketing objectives.


  1. Handle potential objections ahead of time.

In the human mind, bad will always overpower good. Our brains are hardwired to pay attention to the negatives; it’s how we survived back in the day. Now, however, it turns every potential buying experience into a battle to show off the positives of your brand. How can you outwit consumers’ negative bias? By predicting their objections and resolving them.

No matter how great your product is, consumers will find some downside to it. Is your product pricy? Does it need to be repurchased often? Is it impossible to purchase in stores? Customer complaints are never out of left field; these are concerns you’ve probably had yourself. What’s important is learning how to handle customer objections in an authoritative and involved way.

If consumers are worried about the price point of your product, you’ll need justification for selling it at that price. Use this as an opportunity to show off what makes your product unique. Are there certain elements that no other product has? What makes your product worth the price? If you can’t answer that question, spend some time thinking about what made you passionate about your brand. Then put it on the table.

Something that can help alleviate objections is to get the product into your consumers’ hands. Many initial objections live in the hypothetical, so showing potential customers what your brand is all about is essential to sealing the deal. Showing off your product’s features in person makes understanding it that much easier. Whether that means showing off your brand in industry conventions or in retail stores, you need to find a way to put your product in consumers’ hand. Let the product speak for itself.



No matter your approach, using the power of psychology to sell your brand is a guaranteed way to garner interest. Knowing what makes consumers tick and how they react to new information is the make or break between brands that sell and brand that don’t. So the question is: which one will you be?





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