The Psychology Test
To be successful in selling to you, a seller must quickly work out what kind of a person you are so they can adjust their sales pitch to appeal to someone like you. If you’re a positive, extrovert, glass-half-full person, then they’ll probably try to sell the dream – stress how what they’re selling will improve your life. But if you’re more of a glass-half-empty worrier, then the seller will sell security – focus more on the features and performance of what’s being sold.
Sellers will have many tricks to make us like them as the more we like someone, the more likely we are to buy from them. One of the most frequently used techniques is called active listening. With active listening the seller will use all kinds of non-verbal gestures such as leaning forward, inclining their head slightly to one side, widening their eyes, pursing their lips thoughtfully and stroking their chin to show their interest in us. Some sellers even sit in front of the mirror at home practising their active listening skills.
The Trust Me
Many salespeople are trained to portray themselves as trusted advisers helping us make the right buying decision rather than being seen as commission-hungry vultures slavering to get hold of our money. One of many ways of achieving this is the same side of the table. Rather than standing or sitting opposite the customer creating a situation where the seller and buyer are like adversaries facing each other, the seller changes their position so they’re standing or sitting almost beside the customer as if they’re working together with the customer to solve the customer’s problem – which house, car, TV, phone or insurance to buy.
Having managed to get us interested in buying something, the seller then needs to get us to make the decision to move ahead. To put pressure on us, they might try the closing door – suggest there’s only a limited time to get the deal they’re offering; or the phantom buyer – tell us there are other people interested in buying what we want even if this isn’t true; auction fever – use other real or phantom buyers to make us feel we have to offer a higher price if we’re to get what we want; or even the deliberate mistake – when adding up the price of something, they deliberately ‘forget’ some small part so that the buyer, thinking they’re smarter than the seller, rushes to complete the deal.
The One-Step Negotiation
In the West, we’re used to most things we buy having fixed prices and so often feel uncomfortable haggling over price. Sellers understand this and will often quote an inflated price then allow us to negotiate a small reduction. Relieved at having supposedly achieved a price cut, most of us will then buy. Very few buyers will do two- three- and even four-step negotiations.