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The Psychology of Selling Summary – Brian Tracy

The Psychology of Selling Summary
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The Psychology of Selling Summary
The Psychology of Selling (1988)
Increase Your Sales Faster and Easier Than You Ever Thought Possible

by Brian Tracy

A powerful, motivational and practical guide to becoming one of the most successful (and highest-paid) salespeople in your company, industry and the world – by self-help legend and sales guru, Brian Tracy.

Paperback | eBook | Audiobook

Note: This Psychology of Selling summary is part of an ongoing project to summarise The 25 Best Books on Sales.

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The Psychology of Selling Review

Whenever I (re)read one of Brian Tracy’s books I’m always amazed at:

  1. How inspiring and life-changing his writing is;
  2. How much actionable content he squeezes between the covers;
  3. How much of my own thinking I owe him; and
  4. How much I still have to learn.

From his infectious enthusiasm to his mesmerising rhythm and repetition to the clear action exercises at the end of his chapters – Tracy is up there with Stephen Covey as one of the master synthesisers, motivational speakers and teachers of our times.

And The Psychology of Selling is no exception. I first read this book before starting my first cold-calling job (aged 20) and it’s no exaggeration to say it profoundly influenced my mindset and later success (even far beyond sales).

Conclusion? If you haven’t read or listened (it was originally an audio programme) to The Psychology of Selling yet, I can highly recommend it.

And in the meantime (or if you’re just here for a recap), you can always enjoy my free Psychology of Selling summary below…

BONUS: Interview With Brian Tracy

NOTE: For show notes, links and the transcript, check out the full interview.

The Psychology of Selling Summary

Sales is an important and rewarding job.

But the top 20% of salespeople take 80% of the rewards.

Result? If you want to succeed in sales, you must commit to being one of the best.

The good news? It’s not about talent.

It’s about doing a few small things consistently and well.

Getting into the top 20%, 10% or even 1% of global sales professionals starts with:

  1. Setting yourself up for success;

Followed by mastering each of the 7 key results areas (KRAs) in selling:

  1. Prospecting;
  2. Building rapport;
  3. Identifying needs;
  4. Presenting;
  5. Overcoming objections;
  6. Closing the sale; and
  7. Getting resales and referrals.

When you become one of the best in the world at each of these key results areas, you automatically become one of the best sales professionals in the world. (And you’ll never worry about making sales or money again.)

The best part? ANYONE can learn to master each of these areas.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s tackle the first question this Psychology of Selling summary dives into and discuss…

1. How Can I Set Myself up for Success?

There are six ways to set yourself up for success:

  1. Commit to lifelong learning;
  2. Take control of your inner dialogue;
  3. Decide exactly what you want;
  4. Use your time well;
  5. Be someone people enjoy buying from; and
  6. Pay the price of success.

Let’s look at each in more detail…

I. COMMIT TO LIFELONG LEARNING.

Your mind is your most valuable asset. You can always increase its value.

The secret to making that happen?

First, ask your leads/prospects/customers why they buy:

  • Ask your target market;
  • Ask your prospects; and
  • Ask your existing customers.

Then, identify the highest paid, most successful sales leaders in your business/industry/country and ask how they sell:

  • Look at what they do;
  • Look at how they dress;
  • Ask them for advice;
  • Read their books;
  • Listen to their audio programs; and
  • Attend their sales seminars.

And finally, practise, practise, practise what you learn.

Always deepen your foundations. Always be filling your bucket. Never stop learning.

No one is better than you. No one is smarter than you. Everyone who is good at selling was once bad at it. If you learn, practise and master what top salespeople do then you, too, will become a top salesperson.

And sales is a winner-takes-all game. You only need to be a little better than the competition to win all the rewards.

You only need a small winning edge.

And the first way to sharpen that edge is to…

II. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR INNER DIALOGUE.

Once you adopt a can-do self-concept towards yourself, sales and each key results area you will begin to love what you do.

You’ll throw out self-limiting beliefs (e.g., “I hate/am bad at sales calls”).

You’ll find it easier to face your fears. You’ll realise that “no”, isn’t personal. That 80% of all sales calls end in rejection. That it happens to everyone. That it’s part of the process.

You’ll automatically avoid things like bad health habits and pointless arguments that tarnish your self-esteem.

And when that happens, your motivation, self-respect and enthusiasm will skyrocket. You’ll become bolder and more persistent. You’ll stop finding excuses. You’ll become more and more comfortable seeing yourself as a high achiever and high-income earner.

But most of all: You’ll like yourself more.

Your enthusiasm will become contagious and that alone will transform your results in sales (and every other area of life).

Sounds crazy? Here’s the thing…

We all have an inner dialogue going on all the time in our heads.

The difference is that successful people take control of their inner dialogues.

They constantly think and project uplifting narratives. They visualise themselves as successful. They repeat positive affirmations aloud to themselves over-and-over throughout the day like…

Examples of Positive Affirmations:

  • “I like myself!”
  • “I can do it!”
  • “I’m the best!”
  • “I feel happy!”
  • “I feel healthy!”
  • “I feel terrific!”
  • “I love my work!”
  • “I am a great salesperson!” and
  • “This is going to be a great sales call!”

They breathe deeply and create mental pictures of themselves as relaxed, positive, calm and in control. They hijack their inner dialogue and reprogram their habits of thought.

And they automatically become what they think about most of the time.

But just thinking right isn’t enough, you also have to…

III. DECIDE EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT.

Successful people are goal-oriented.

They set clear:

  • Personal goals – The “Why” that inspires them; and
  • Sales targets – The “What” and “How” that gets them there.

Then they work out how to get to those goals and take action.

To set clear personal and family goals:

  1. Decide exactly what you want – It’s amazing how few people actually do this;
  2. Write it down – Put it down on paper to programme it into your subconscious;
  3. Set a deadline – And set sub-deadlines to break up the journey;
  4. Ask the question – State your goal as a clear, concrete “How can I…?” or “Why aren’t I already…?” question;
  5. Mindstorm – Write down 20+ ideas of things you must be, have or do to get there;
  6. Organise the list into a plan – Order your next actions by sequence and priority;
  7. Take action now – Don’t wait. Get started immediately;
  8. Keep acting – Do something every day to move you towards your goals; and
  9. Re-read, re-write and visualise – Make time every day to revisit and refresh your goals and plans.

Note: Goal setting is a skill. One you can greatly improve at. To practise (and motivate yourself), try setting 100 goals now that you would want to achieve if you had already doubled your income.

To set clear targets for your sales performance:

  1. Set an annual income target – Make it challenging, yet realistic. Your current income record +25-50% is a good place to start;
  2. Write it down – As above. People who write their goals down are 1000% more likely to achieve them;
  3. Work out how much you must sell to hit your income target – This gives you your annual sales target;
  4. Split your annual sales target into monthly, weekly and daily targets – This makes them more actionable;
  5. Set clear activity goals to get there – Work out exactly e.g., how many sales calls you to need to make every day to hit your daily targets;
  6. Track your activities – This will improve your ability to predict what activities will help you hit your targets;
  7. Rehearse in advance – Set clear mini-objectives and rehearse what you’ll say and do before each activity;
  8. Visualise success constantly – Visualise clear mental pictures of what success looks like before each activity;
  9. Use positive affirmations – Use positive affirmations to fill yourself with positive energy before taking action; and
  10. Finish before noon – Make a game of trying to complete all your main activities before noon each day.

Note: You can visualise yourself and your experiences directly (through your own eyes) or indirectly (as if you’re someone else). Practise both methods for best results.

Got some clear goals and a plan? Awesome.

The next step is to make sure you…

IV. USE YOUR TIME WELL.

Successful salespeople make every minute count. They focus intensively on the 20% of activities that create 80% of their results.

To make that happen you need to make sure you learn to use your time well.

And to make that happen you should ALWAYS be working from a list:

  • Grab some pen and paper the night before each day;
  • Write down everything you need to do – Starting with your fixed appointments;
  • Prioritise your list – “If I could only do one/two/three things, what would they be?”
  • Always work from your list during the day;
  • Always ask: “What is the most valuable thing I can be doing right now?”
  • Work all the time you are at work – Don’t get sucked into time-wasting; and
  • Focus and concentrate on your most important task until it is done.

But while what you do is vital, it’s not the only important ingredient in success.

It’s also absolutely essential to…

V. BE THE KIND OF PERSON YOU WOULD ENJOY BUYING FROM.

Trust and likeability play a decisive role in sales.

And they are almost impossible to fake.

The easier and more rewarding path? Become a good person:

  • Learn to like and get along with many different kinds of people;
  • Genuinely care about your customers and their results;
  • Practice the golden rule“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • Use The Universal Maxim – Ask “What kind of company/society/world this be if everyone in it were just like me?” and then act accordingly.

Don’t just talk the talk.

Walk the walk.

And realise that a big part of that means being prepared to…

VI. PAY THE PRICE OF SUCCESS.

Success doesn’t come easy or cheap.

If you want to become one of the top salespeople in your industry, you will need to work hard (especially at the start of your career).

So resolve to give life full throttle: start earlier, work harder, stay later.

Back your goals with willpower, persistence and determination.

And you’ll have done all you can to set yourslef up for success.

2. How Can I Get More Prospects?

The most important factor in selling success isn’t getting more prospects…

It’s spending more time with better prospects.

To make that happen, you need to:

  1. Generate better leads; and
  2. Turn those leads into prospects.

Let’s look at each in more detail…

I. TO GENERATE BETTER LEADS:

To generate better leads, you need good answers to four questions:

  • What are you selling?
  • Who are your perfect customers?
  • Why do your satisfied customers buy from you? and
  • Why should future customers buy from you?

Here’s a breakdown of some sub-questions to help you…

What are you selling?

  • Features – What 5-10 things are most attractive about your product?
  • Benefits – What needs does your product satisfy? What does it do?
  • Difference – What sets your product, company and you apart from the competition?

Who are your perfect customers?

  • Analyse – Who are your biggest paying customers right now?
  • Specialise – What industry, customer type or geographical area will you serve?
  • Segment – Who are your perfect customers in that niche?
  • Visualise – What qualities and characteristics do they have? Who are they? How old are they? How much do they earn? What are their goals and values? What are their challenges and pain points?
  • Synchronise – When (season, cycle, adoption phase) is best to sell to them?
  • Colonise – What untapped markets and customers exist? Why don’t they buy?
  • Anticipate – What current and future trends might shape the above? And how?

Why do your satisfied customers buy from you?

Visit your existing satisfied customers and ask:

  • “Why did you decide to buy from me and not someone else?”
  • “What specific value or benefit do you feel you get from our product?”
  • “How could we improve it in the future?”
  • “What kind of customer do you feel could most benefit from our product?” and
  • “Were there any unexpected benefits of buying our product?”

Why should future customers buy from you?

  • Understand – Who are your competitors? What are their differentiators? How can you neutralise them?
  • Position – What can you offer that nobody else can (features, bonuses, quality, price, service)?

With good answers to the questions above, you should find it easy to generate a steady stream of ideas for high-quality leads.

And you’ll be ready…

II. TO TURN THOSE LEADS INTO THE PROSPECTS:

With a steady stream of better leads, the next step is to turn them into prospects and appointments to make sales presentations.

Here are 12 time-tested steps to making that happen:

  1. Take action – Get out there or on the phone and start making sales calls;
  2. Stand up – Make your calls standing up to help strengthen your energy and voice;
  3. Smile – Whether in person or into the phone, a smile can be felt by the prospect;
  4. Talk to the right person – Make sure you’re talking to the buyer/decision-maker;
  5. Interrupt preoccupation – Get their permission to distract them from their day;
  6. Get their full attention – Iterate and memorise a strong opening that cuts to the ultimate result or benefit;
  7. Restate the benefit – Restate the hot button to increase interest and curiosity;
  8. Sell the appointment, not the product – refuse to kill the sale by discussing product or pricing on the phone;
  9. Set the time and date right away – Set the sales appointment up before the end of the call/visit;
  10. Thank the prospect and reconfirm – Reaffirm their decision and confirm the appointment;
  11. Reconfirm again on the day – Call the prospect/reception to let reconfirm your arrival; and
  12. (If necessary) reschedule immediately – See step 7 if the prospect calls to cancel or reschedule.

Note: Your opening statement MUST grab the prospects full attention. Keep working on it until it reliably triggers the response “Really?”, “What is it?” or “How do you do that?

Here’s a full example script (mapped to the steps above):

Reception: “Hello, this is XYZ Company, how can I help?”

You (4):Hello, who is the best person in your organisation that is responsible for sales and sales training?”

Reception: “That would be Mr. Brown.”

You (4): “Could I speak with Mr. Brown, please?”

You (5): “Hello Mr. Brown. My name is John Doe. I’m with ABC Company. I need about two minutes of your time. Is this a good time to talk?

Mr. Brown: “Yes. I have two minutes.”

You (4): “Great. Can I just check, are you the right person to talk to about increasing sales in your organisation?”

Mr. Brown: “Yes. That’s me.”

You (6): “Super. I was wondering if you’d be interested in a proven method that could increase your sales by 20-30% over the next 12 months?”

Mr. Brown: “Of course, what is it?”

You (7): “Mr. Brown, we’ve developed a method to increase your sales by 20%, 30% and even 50% over the next few months.”

Mr. Brown: “Really? How do you do that?”

You (8): “That’s exactly why I’m calling you. I just need ten minutes of your time to show you the system, and you could decide for yourself if it applies to your company and your salespeople.”

Mr. Brown: “All right, why don’t you call me Monday and we can set up a time together for next week?”

You (9): “Mr. Brown. I’ve got my calendar right here in front of me. Do you have your schedule handy?”

Mr. Brown: “Yes.

You (9): “Let’s set up a specific time right now and if something comes up you can give me a call and we can reschedule. Would Tuesday at 3 o’clock work for you?”

Mr. Brown: “Ok. Yes, that works.”

You (10): “Great. Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday at 3 PM. Thank you; you are really going to like what I have to show you.”

If the lead declines the appointment:

  1. Understand that sales resistance is normal;
  2. Double-check you’re talking to the right person; and
  3. Keep working on your opening statement.

If you get a knee-jerk rejection from a busy lead, counter with social proof:

“That’s OK. Most people in your industry felt the same way when I first called on them. But now they’ve become our best customers and they recommend us to their friends.”

If the lead asks for more information on the phone or in the mail, politely refuse and elicit curiosity:

Mr. Brown, I’d love to tell you about it on the phone, but I have something I have to show you. You need to see it personally.

If the lead says they’re not sure they’ll be available, manage by exception:

“Mr. Brown, I know how busy you are. But let’s manage by exception. We’ll set a firm appointment now, and if anything comes up later, we can change it at that time.”

If you follow the 12-steps above you should have no problem doubling or even tripling the number of leads that you turn into prospects.

And you’ll be ready to start thinking about…

3. How Can I Build Better Rapport?

A person will never buy from you until they decide that they like you and trust you.

And they will base those decisions overwhelmingly on just three things:

  1. How you look;
  2. How good you make them feel; and
  3. How well you make them feel heard.

Let’s look at each in more detail…

I. HOW YOU LOOK

Visual impressions are among the earliest and most powerful suggestive influences that you give. They play a major role in other people’s decisions to like you and trust you.

Result? Your appearance MUST harmonise with your customer’s environment and convey a sense of competence, confidence and reliability.

To make sure that happens, pay special attention to your:

  • Clothing – Model the most successful salespeople in your business;
  • Shoes – Make sure they’re polished and professional;
  • Grooming – Cut hair short and neat; clean and trim nails;
  • Posture – Stand and sit straight, with your shoulders back and chin up;
  • Movement – Walk and move with strength, purpose and confidence;
  • Materials – Make sure your presentation and product look attractive; and
  • Office – Upgrade and tidy your offices, even if you’re not hosting prospects.

Remember: People are highly visual and the way you present yourself won’t just have a big impact on how your leads, prospects and customers think of you, they’ll have a big impact on how YOU think of you (which is why a professional office space matters).

Make sure you look the part. Then think about…

II. HOW GOOD YOU MAKE THEM FEEL

Your goal is to be likeable, upbeat, pleasant and professional at all times. Dealing with you should be a highlight of the other person’s day.

The good news? Your positive energy and mood are infectious.

And both those things are under control.

To make sure YOU feel the part before every customer interaction:

  • Use affirmations and visualise success;
  • Recall how you felt during and after a recent successful sales call;
  • Breathe slowly and deeply; and
  • Repeat until you feel calm, positive and cheerful

When you feel great, you make the people around you feel great.

And when you make the people around you feel great they’re MUCH more likely to like you and trust you.

Which brings us to the last and most important element of building rapport…

III. HOW WELL YOU MAKE THEM FEEL HEARD.

Here’s the truth: People don’t want to be sold, they want to buy.

Which is why all top salespeople know that sales is not about telling. It’s about:

  1. Asking great questions; and
  2. Listening empathically.

To become a master of asking great questions:

  1. Position yourself properly – As a friend, advisor and teacher rather than a salesperson;
  2. Position the customer properly – Make sure the spotlight is on them and their needs most of the time;
  3. Use open-ended questions – Ask planned questions starting with who, why, where, when, how, what and which; and
  4. Stay in control – Answer questions with questions like “That’s a good question. May I ask something first?”

To become a master of listening empathically:

  1. Listen intently – Face the other person, look at their face, nod, smile, agree;
  2. Pause before replying – Wait 3-5 seconds to show consideration, process more deeply and avoid interrupting;
  3. Question for clarification – Ask “How do you mean?” to get the prospect to expand on what they just said;
  4. Paraphrase in your own words – Don’t parrot; use your own words to show the prospect (and make sure) you understood what they meant; and
  5. Ask more good questions – See above.

Look the part, feel the part, seek first to understand then to be understood.

Make it easy for others to like you and trust you.

Then focus on…

4. How Can I Identify My Customer’s Needs?

Not sure what kind of questions to ask?

Here’s the thing: People buy emotionally, then justify logically.

Which is why the secret to professional selling starts with understanding:

  1. What need is most important to your customer; and
  2. What emotion drives that need strongest.

Common needs that drive personal buying decisions include:

  1. Money – Money means freedom and everyone wants more freedom;
  2. Security – Financial, emotional, physical; for ourselves and others;
  3. Being liked – Popularity, acceptance and belonging;
  4. Status/prestige – Praise, respect and admiration;
  5. Health and fitness – Long life and high energy;
  6. Praise/recognition – See reasons 3 and 4;
  7. Power/Influence – Ability to make things happen;
  8. Excellence – Being the first and/or best in a field;
  9. Love and companionship – Being desired;
  10. Personal growth – Self-understanding and actualisation; and
  11. Personal transformation – Breaking through to new levels in life and work.

Common needs that drive business buying decisions include:

  1. Net profits – Increasing revenue (salespeople), decreasing costs (administrators);
  2. Cashflow – Increasing cash liquidity in the business;
  3. Growth – Acquiring new and reselling to existing customers;
  4. Product reliability and performance – Especially retail/resellers;
  5. Customer satisfaction – Customer happiness; and
  6. Productivity (saving time) – Big companies only.

And the two emotions that drive ALL buying decisions are:

  • Desire for gain; and
  • Fear of loss.

NOTE: Pay special attention to fear of loss since:

  1. It is “2.5x” more powerful than desire for gain; and
  2. It can block (loss of money, looking silly) AND trigger (missing out on a deal) a sale.

With this in mind, you must take the time to understand:

  1. Which key personal and/or business benefit matters most to your prospect?
  2. Which emotion (gain/fear) drives those needs most powerfully? and
  3. What key objection will cause your prospect to hesitate or not buy?

The best way to work those things out?

  1. Question skilfully; and
  2. Listen carefully.

(For a recap, revisit: How can I build better rapport?)

Ask your prospects questions like:

  • “What are you doing now in that area?”
  • “How is that working for you?”
  • “What are your plans for the future in this area?”
  • “If you could wave a magic wand and have the perfect situation, how would that differ from what you’re currently doing?”
  • “What would have to happen before you went ahead with this offer?” and
  • “What would you have to be convinced of to go ahead with our product?”

Conduct market research by calling your last 10 customers and asking:

  • “Could you tell me exactly why you decided to buy from us and not someone else?”

Get the prospect to tell you exactly what their buying motives (and turn-offs) are.

Listen and make a list of the top needs your product or service can meet.

Organise and prioritise that list.

And you’ll go a long way to understanding…

5. How Can I Make Better Sales Presentations?

The most important thing to realise about sales presentations is that everything counts.

Everything you or your prospect sees, hears, feels or does helps or hurts the sale. Every positive impression creates a halo effect that spreads to the product or service you sell.

Result? You must take complete control of every factor you can.

Here’s a bulletproof 10-step process to make sure that happens AND supercharge your sales presentations:

  1. Be prepared;
  2. Look and feel the part;
  3. Start strongly;
  4. Qualify early;
  5. Teach and learn;
  6. Focus on THEIR hot buttons;
  7. Answer the big 4;
  8. Adapt to the buyer’s personality;
  9. Anticipate and overcome objections; and
  10. Close the sale.

Let’s double-click on each step…

I. BE PREPARED

Every aspect of your sales presentation must be well researched and prepared.

To set your sales presentation up for success:

  • Understand as much as you can about your customers in general;
  • Research (online, calls) each lead, prospect or customer individually;
  • Make sure your presentation is crisp, well ordered and logical;
    • Does it start with your most attractive feature and benefits?
    • Does it proceed through your other features/benefits in order of importance?
    • Does it move from the general to the particular?
    • Does it use frequent visual aids?
    • Does it get the prospect involved?
  • Make sure your materials look neat and attractive;
  • Rehearse your presentation until giving it feels easy and natural.

Once you’re confident that you’re fully prepared, double-check that you…

II. LOOK AND FEEL THE PART

Make time before every sales presentation to recap the first two recommendations on how to build better rapport.

Make sure you look and feel like the top salesperson in your industry before every appointment then walk into the buyer’s offices and…

III. START STRONGLY

Buyers will make much of their buying decision within minutes of meeting you.

To maximise the odds in your favour:

  • Be extremely punctualALWAYS start on time.
  • Treat EVERYONE with courtesy and respect – From the cleaners to the CEO;
  • Smile and give firm, full-handed handshakes;
  • Look people in the eye and ask “How do you do?”
  • Thank the prospect and reaffirm their choice to meet with you;
  • Refuse to sell standing up – Sit or suggest you reschedule;
  • Ask to move somewhere with minimal interruptions;
  • Move or ask the prospect to move to avoid putting physical (e.g., tables) between you;
  • Sit on the right-hand side of the prospect so you don’t reach across them when turning pages;
  • Sit straight, lean forward slightly, face the prospect directly;
  • Keep your body language open – Arms and legs unfolded; feet flat on the floor;
  • Get the prospect to open their body language – Ask questions, get them moving and/or hand them something to read;
  • Get them saying yes right away – Ask permission to begin. Then ask permission to ask a question.

NOTE: When selling in someone’s home…

  • Ask to sit at the kitchen or dining room table – big decisions don’t happen in the living room;
  • Wait to be seated – don’t accidentally sit in your prospect’s favourite chair; and
  • Maintain and alternate eye contact to make sure everyone feels involved.

With the meeting set up for success, the next step is to…

IV. QUALIFY EARLY

Every buyer is on their own journey:

  • Some are close to the sale and able to take action immediately; while
  • Others may need more time, information, input or money to move ahead.

To understand where your buyer is on their journey (and adapt your approach accordingly), you should qualify them early.

One powerful way to do this is to with the demonstration close.

To use the demonstration close, open with a powerful question that tests their readiness to buy if you can demonstrate the key benefit of your product or service.

For example“Mr. Brown, if I could show you a way to increase your sales by 20-30% over the next 12 months, would you be in a position to go ahead with it right now?”

If the prospect says yes, you have permission to demonstrate your promise and can demand a clear answer at the end.

If the prospect says no, have learned something valuable about their limitations or objections and can qualify further and/or adapt your next steps accordingly.

In either case, qualifying the prospect early is an important part of your presentation.

It’s the first step in your endeavour to…

V. TEACH AND LEARN

Once you’ve qualified your prospect it’s time to start giving your sales presentation.

But here’s a key point to remember: Selling is not telling.

Selling is an interactive process of:

  1. Working out what matters most to your customer; and
  2. Demonstrating if/how your product can help solve that problem.

DON’T: Blurt out every feature and benefit and ask the buyer for feedback at the end.

DO: Work through each feature, one at a time, in order of importance and:

  • Show – Briefly explain the feature (“What is it?”);
  • Tell/demonstrate – Explain the benefits (“What does it do?”“So what?”);
  • Ask questions – Ask for feedback or approval to discern interest.

Use open-ended questions. Pay attention to the questions they ask.

Listen and watch carefully for exactly which benefits matter most to the buyer, then…

VI. FOCUS ON THEIR HOT BUTTONS

The features and benefits which matter most to your buyer won’t always be the top features on your list.

Don’t let the script (or your own biases) get in the way of the sale.

Listen carefully for each buyer’s “hot buttons” and adapt the focus of your sales presentation accordingly.

And whatever that “hot button” turns out to be, make sure you…

VII. ANSWER THE BIG 4

Even if they don’t ask explicitly, every buyer has 4 big questions they need answering before buying:

  • How much do I pay?
  • How much do I get back?
  • How soon can I get these results?
  • How sure can I be that I’ll get them?

You MUST answer these questions during your sales presentation but…

NOTE: Pricing ALWAYS comes last. Otherwise, it tends to peoccupy buyers.

If a buyer asks for pricing information early, reply:

“That’s a good question. I’ll come back to that in a moment.”

And then continue your sales presentation.

And if the buyer is insistent on pricing?

Then you may need to…

VIII. ADAPT TO THE BUYER’S PERSONALITY

There are four common kinds of buyer:

  1. The analytical buyer (~25%) – Is focussed on accuracy and details (numbers, specs). Slow down, allow silences, be specific, clear, precise and able to prove claims on paper. Give details. Expect questions. Be persistent but don’t rush them;
  2. The relater buyer (~25%) – Is self-contained and sensitive to people’s opinions. Slow down, relax, ask questions, build a relationship, focus on happy customer stories and expect them to seek other people’s opinions before buying;
  3. The driver buyer (~25%) – Is focussed on business results. Speed up your presentation, get straight to the point, demonstrate the results they care about and answer the questions “What’s in it for me?”;
  4. The socialiser buyer (~25%) – Is outgoing, extroverted, focussed on individual achievements and will usually ask lots of questions about you. Gently steer them back and get agreements on paper quickly in case they forget.

And two more special cases that make up a small proportion of buyers:

  1. The apathetic buyer (~5%) – Is negative, indifferent, dealing with big issues in their personal and business lives and won’t buy at any price. They are wasting your time so excuse yourself ASAP and go talk to someone else;
  2. The self-actualising buyer (~5%) – Knows exactly what they want, what they’ll pay and will buy the right solution immediately with no/few questions. Sell them exactly what they want or tell them where they can get it.

The exact proportions of each buyer that you come across will depend on your product, service and industry.

But here’s the important thing: You must learn to spot and adapt your style to the kind of buyer that’s in front of you.

We all tend to see the world from our own perspective and successful salespeople tend to be a mix of socialisers and drivers.

But asserting YOUR personality type and preferences on the wrong kind of buyer will create resistance and jeopardise the sale.

So, be sensitive and adaptable.

Learn to tailor your personality and pace. Develop 4 entirely different presentations.

Remember: The better you can flex personality and presentation the more diverse the people you can sell to.

And if you’re still struggling to get through, it might be time to think about…

6. How Can I Overcome Objections?

If you’re the right person presenting the right product to the right buyer in the right way and you’re still struggling to get a commitment, then it may be that the buyer is still worried about making the wrong purchase.

They’re afraid they won’t:

  • Get the ultimate benefit you’re promising – It won’t work; and/or
  • Be better off with your product – It works but it’s not worth it.

Fortunately, you can often easily tackle these doubts by:

  1. Putting buyers at ease with the approach close;
  2. Building credibility with testimonial letters;
  3. Presenting new ideas as improvements;
  4. Offering a better-than-money-back guarantee;

Let’s quickly dig into each…

I. PUT BUYERS AT EASE WITH THE APPROACH CLOSE

One of the most common fears buyers have is being sold or tricked into buying a product they don’t want or need.

The best way to overcome this concern is to call it out early with the approach close.

To use the approach close, begin your presentation in the following way:

“Mr. Brown, thank you very much for your time. Please relax; I’m not here to sell you anything right now. That’s not the purpose of my visit.”

“All I want to do in the time we have together is show you some of the reasons why so many other people have bought this product and continue to buy it. All I ask is that you look at what I have to show you with an open mind, determine whether or not it applies to your situation, and then tell me at the end of our conversation whether or not this product makes sense to you. Is that fair?”

This is a powerful way to put the buyer at ease, create a feeling of fair exchange, arouse their curiosity and allow you to ask for a close at the end of the sale.

And it’s also the perfect opportunity to transition into…

II. BUILDING CREDIBILITY WITH TESTIMONIAL LETTERS

Fully 85% of sales will not take place until a customer knows someone else has said your product or service is good.

Result? Take control of this factor and:

  1. Ask happy customers to write testimonial letters:
    • Describing how happy they are with your product or service; and
    • Addressing specific objections that you know often come up.
  2. Print the letters and highlight key phrases;
  3. Store them in plastic protectors in a 3-ring binder; and
  4. Bring them out early in your sales presentation.

People love reading testimonial letters and you may even choose to present them before your presentation even begins:

“Before we begin, let me show you some letters that I am particularly proud of, from some of my customers.”

But whatever you do, don’t leave social-proof to chance.

Take control. Gather testimonials in advance. Let them fill the buyer with confidence.

Then, as you begin your presentation, consider…

III. PRESENTING NEW IDEAS AS IMPROVEMENTS

You can position the same ideas in one of two ways:

  1. As something totally revolutionary and new; or
  2. As an improvement on something established.

But here’s the thing, even if your product IS revolutionary and new, you may want to position it as an improvement on something that people already understand.

New things are scary. Improvements on old things can borrow from their established track record.

Presenting new ideas as improvements can help ease buyers into change.

And if they’re still on the fence, give thought to…

IV. OFFERING A BETTER-THAN-MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE

When a buyer makes a purchase they don’t just risk their money.

They risk their reputation, their self-worth and the time, the effort and the opportunity cost of trialling and mastering your product.

That’s why a simple 100% money-back guarantee is rarely enough.

The alternative? Offer a better-than-money-back guarantee.

Promise the customer that if they’re not fully satisfied, for any reason, they’ll not only get their money back, they’ll also “receive, or be able to keep, certain special bonuses and gifts that have considerable perceived value.”

Remember: The goal of your sales presentation is to:

  1. Communicate how your offer solves your customer’s strongest personal and business need better than anything else available at this time or price; and
  2. Reduce people’s fear of making the wrong purchase.

If you’ve followed steps 1 through 6, you should have no problem achieving those aims.

And you’ll be in the perfect place to think about…

7. How Can I Close the Sale?

Remember: Every buyer is somewhere between very close to or very far from the sale.

Some will be ready to close before you even enter the room. Others will need more time and information to reach a decision.

And while you can’t close a prospect too early, neither does it make sense to keep selling if a prospect is ready to buy.

Result? You must:

  1. Listen carefully for obvious clues that the buyer is ready to close;
  2. Use frequent trial closes to check for readiness regularly;
  3. Help move the buyer closer to the end of the sale; and
  4. Ask for and take action on the close as soon as it makes sense.

Let’s look at each in more detail…

I. LISTEN FOR OBVIOUS CLUES

Some statements clearly signal that the prospect is ready to buy, e.g.,

  • “How soon could we get this in place?” and
  • “Does it come in this colour?”

The secret to noticing them is to listen carefully to what the buyer is saying.

If the buyer makes their purchase intent clear, ask for and take action on the close.

But if they’re not sending obvious signals…

II. USE FREQUENT TRIAL CLOSES

The trial close uses questions throughout (and without interrupting the flow of) the sales presentation to check how the buyer is feeling about your product or service and determine if they’re ready to close.

To use it, invite feedback on every feature/benefit by asking questions like:

  • “Does this make sense to you so far?”
  • “Is this what you had in mind?”
  • “Do you like what I’ve shown you up to now?”
  • “Would this be an improvement on your current situation?”
  • “Are we right so far?” and
  • “[State benefit]. Would this be important to you in your business?”

Listen to the prospect’s responses to discover:

  1. Their “hot buttons”; and
  2. Detect any clear signals that they’re ready to close the sale.

And if you feel like the presentation is getting bogged down, you might want to…

III. HELP MOVE THE BUYER CLOSER TO THE END OF THE SALE

If you’ve covered all your other bases and the sales presentation still isn’t drawing to a natural close, you may need to give the buyer some help.

To do so, try using:

  • The power of suggestion close;
  • The talking past the sale close; and
  • The hot button close.

To use the power-of-suggestion close:

Make statements or ask questions that encourage the prospect to create clear, exciting, emotional mental pictures of themselves enjoying the benefit of your product or service:

  • “You are really going to love the way this car handles in the mountains.”;
  • “Thank you for calling. May I ask you a question; are you looking for an ideal home in a quiet neighbourhood?”

To use the talking past the sale close:

Talk to the prospect as if they have already bought the product or service:

  • “You are going to love the type of service that you get from our company.
  • “You are going to adore living in this neighbourhood. It’s a great choice!”

To use the “hot button” close:

Dial-in on, repeat over-and-over and bring the whole sales decision to bear on the ONE most important hot-button that you discover during the sales presentation.

The goal of each of these closes? To create as many exciting and irresistible pictures as possible in the buyer’s head of themselves already benefiting from your product or service.

Which will put you in an excellent position to…

IV. ASK FOR AND TAKE ACTION ON THE CLOSE

If you opened your sales presentation with the demonstration close or approach close then asking for and closing the sale is as easy as referring to your opening agreement and asking the buyer for closure.

Another powerful way to take action on the close is to assume the sale. To do so, simply take out and start filling a sales or order form, taking down the buyer’s details.

DO NOT: Fail to ask for the sale because you fear failure or rejection.

Remember: 80% of all sales calls end in a no. It’s nothing personal!

DO NOT: Be rebuffed by variations on “I need to think about it.” 

Customers don’t think things over. They forget about you the moment you walk out the door.

If the product is appropriate and adequate, if the customer is excited by it, if you’ve answered the big 4 questions, if you’ve covered the most common objections then be polite but persistent to help the customer take action and conquer inertia.

If that doesn’t work: Then you may not have managed to show the customer that they will be substantially better off for buying from you than buying from someone else, or not buying at all.

(NOTE: The only exception to this rule is when selling complex, intangible products. In that case, a multi-step “diagnose” and “design” approach to selling the perfect solution may be more expected and appropriate.)

Thank the prospect, excuse yourself, review the steps above, work out where you can improve and try again another day (Remember: The same prospect might say no up to 5 times before they finally say yes).

8. How Can I Get More Resales and Referrals?

Brian doesn’t explicitly cover this topic but the rest of the book makes it obvious.

Revisit your satisfied customers and ask:

  • “Why did you decide to buy from me and not someone else?”
  • “What specific value or benefit do you feel you get from our product?”
  • “How could we improve it in the future?”
  • “What kind of customer do you feel could most benefit from our product?” and
  • “Were there any unexpected benefits of buying our product?”

Then follow up with the same strategies covered in steps 1-7 and ask for referrals and you’ll have no trouble filling your order book.

Bringing It All Together: Your Future Is Unlimited.

Sales is an important and rewarding job.

But the top 20% of salespeople take 80% of the rewards.

Result? If you want to succeed in sales, you must commit to being one of the best.

The good news? It’s not about talent.

It’s about doing a few small things consistently and well.

Getting into the top 20%, 10% or even 1% of global sales professionals starts with:

  1. Setting yourself up for success;

Followed by mastering each of the 7 key results areas (KRAs) in selling:

  1. Prospecting;
  2. Building rapport;
  3. Identifying needs;
  4. Presenting;
  5. Overcoming objections;
  6. Closing the sale; and
  7. Getting resales and referrals.

When you become one of the best in the world at each of these key results areas, you automatically become one of the best sales professionals in the world.

Your future will become unlimited.

And you’ll never worry about making sales or money again.

The Psychology of Selling Quotes

These Psychology of Selling quotes come from TANQThe Art of Living‘s growing central library of thoughts, anecdotes, notes, and quotes.

“If you do what other successful people do, over and over again, nothing in the world can stop you from eventually getting the same results that they do. And if you don’t, nothing can help you.”

— Brian Tracy, The Psychology of Selling

“Small differences in ability can lead to enormous differences in results.”

— Brian Tracy, The Psychology of Selling

“There are two major obstacles to making and closing any sale. They are both mental. They are the fear of failure and the fear of rejection.”

— Brian Tracy, The Psychology of Selling

“This fear of failure and disappointment is the number one reason why customers do not buy. So, one of the most important things you can do in the process of building trust and credibility is to reduce the customer’s fear to the point where he has no hesitation about going ahead with your offer.”

— Brian Tracy, The Psychology of Selling

“Perhaps the two most fundamental qualities for success in sales are boldness and persistence.”

— Brian Tracy, The Psychology of Selling

“The primary emotion in sales success is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm accounts for 50 percent or more of all sales ability. One of the very best definitions of a sale is ‘a transfer of enthusiasm.'”

— Brian Tracy, The Psychology of Selling

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The Psychology of Selling

30 MINUTE READ | A powerful, motivational and practical guide to becoming one of the most successful (and highest-paid) salespeople in your company, industry and the world – by self-help legend and sales guru, Brian Tracy.

URL: https://amzn.to/35EAY2V

Editor's Rating:
5

Enjoyed this Psychology of Selling summary? You might enjoy the rest of the books on this list of The 25 Best Books on Sales.

Arthur Worsley
Arthur Worsley
Arthur is a thinker and writer who helps people who want more from their lives learn to be more productive, find more balance and live life more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →

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