Psychology of selling 

Understanding the psychology of sales

Julian Haste, MD of Research Runner has many years of experience in sales. Over the years Julian has learnt to understand the psychology in sales and how clients minds work. Julian has tailored his own sales techniques and his teams, to reflect this.

The brain is a complex organ. Individuals have different triggers that drive them to make decisions.

The difference between someone making a good decision or bad decision is unclear, but when it comes to buying products, generally there are a few triggers we should consider in order to understand the psychology of the mind in terms of the purchaser.

Why would they want your product? What have you got that they really want? Do you have the facts? Can you solve their problems? Are they getting value for money? These are just some of the thought processes the mind goes through when a customer is making a decision to buy a product.

A successful sales professional will have the skill of understanding what their prospects triggers are and will have the ability to tap into them.

Emotional need

We usually make a decision to buy something because we like the look of it and it arouses excitement.

Emotion is usually the first trigger, rather than through a logical process which comes later.

Adverts are a good way of playing on the emotions of customers both visually and through words. The use of colour and graphics can quickly grab the attention of passers-by.

Selling a product by phone can be tricky as you need to engage the client and try to create a picture in their mind in order for them to get that emotional connection to your product.

Try to get them to visualise your product and how it works. Explain how your process works; get them to imagine their pipelines growing for example.

The logical approach

Justify the purchase

We have all wanted something because we like the look of it, that’s the emotional part of our brain going into overdrive. Sometimes we act on this, usually when a product is cheap. However if we are spending large amounts of money on something, then we need to justify it.

In terms of sales, clients will need to justify their purchase. Do they need you product? Can they manage without you? How will it benefit them financially?

Prospects will want to know the ins and outs of your product and it is important to have all the knowledge available at your fingertips.


Value is relative to what you are selling and how much your competitors are selling their product. Is your product value for money?

If customers think something is expensive, you may lose customers to a competitor or you will have to justify your price and demonstrate what the differences are between your offers versus others.

Too good to be true

We have all walked away from a deal because it sounds too good to be true. Our brain tells us that there must be a catch, we are naturally suspicious creatures and seek to avoid risk.

If a product is too cheap, I will usually walk away, because we think it’s either counterfeit or badly made. It is important that value seems to be equal to or greater than the asking price.

Backing up your product with data, facts, research and testimonials, will install confidence and trust with your brand.

Human approach

As humans, we are naturally sociable creatures. We like to put a face to a name and communicate. Social interactions are part of our nature.

We learn more effectively if we can visualise what it is we are trying to understand. Schools use these tactics to help children with maths and the NHS, fire service and Police use algorithms, diagrams used that allow the user to visualise a procedure, making it easier to remember.

Modern businesses are changing tactic, from the stiff corporate image to a far more relaxed and approachable identity. A more relaxed dress code is allowed at work and websites portray a fun and funky image. These tactics allows for a company to seem more personable.

Try to use names, faces and photos in your website and marketing material.

Avoid the hard sell

You cannot force someone to buy something. We have said it before, the ‘hard sell’ is a thing of the past. People do what they want to do and no amount of persuasion can change their mind.

We are all consumers and a successful sales person will be able to put themselves into the shoes of their prospect. Think about the questions you would ask if you were spending a large amount of money on a product, what level of customer care you would expect, how much you would pay for a product and what would make you buy?

Research Runner is a global sales and new business lead generation company. For all your sales queries please visit us at or call us on +44 (0)1279 260 031.