Author: David Gikandi

So you have a web site. No matter what it is all about, it was built for use by people. The good news for you today is that people, no matter how complicated they may all seem, run on a common psychological framework. They use this framework to do just about everything, including use and buy from your web site. Let us look at some standard psychological phenomena that work beautifully when it comes to online sales. Learn and apply these and your online success will definitely soar.

1. Give free stuff

Eventually you must ask for the sale (yes, you must clearly ask your client to buy, but only at the right time). But until the point where all your prospects emotional and logical requirements have been fulfilled, you must look like a free information service or at least provide useful information along the way even in your product information sheets. Give people free and useful information and let that lead subtly but persistently to the sale.

By the way, a good reason to offer something free and useful is that it allows you to be a part of your prospects life. Once you have entered their life, you will be more readily accepted and can then work up to the sale.

2. Listening to authority

We all know it - people listen unquestioningly to authoritative figures. If you hold anyone in high regard, you will usually listen to and do as they say. Like your doctor or lawyer. These people can tell you to do what most people can't and you will almost always do it without questioning it.

This means that your site should have someone or some organization of recognized authority in that field saying something positive about your product or service. It doesn't have to be famous people, just authority heads. For example, a travel service can have a review by some magazines and a vitamin store can have some comments from some doctors.

3. Conforming to groups

Peoples' judgment is highly influenced and dependent on the collective judgment of groups. What this means is that you will often make judgments that you believe are entirely your own, but in reality they are based on what other people are doing. For example, you may go out and decide to buy something or take a trip somewhere, but that decision is most likely highly influenced by your observing or reading about or hearing about other people doing the exact same thing. And you will often avoid things that most other people avoid.

What this means is that you should have as many features within your site as possible that allow users to contribute to, feel and be influenced by group opinions. For example, you must have testimonials. Depending on your site, other things you should consider adding are voting, forums, statistics and surveys. All these allow users to contribute to the group thought and be influenced by it.

4. Needs satisfaction

Whenever people buy something, they do it to get some need fulfilled. Simple. Even if you go out to buy a boomerang, the principle is the same. There is a need you wish to fulfill, such as exercise, amusement, discovery, fun. 

Examine your products and services and forget all the hype that you enjoy about your product. Forget the way you love that super-cool feature you built in. Just think on the needs level and find out what needs a buyer wants to fulfill. Needs are not features. Needs are things like saving time, spending time with the family, knowing something, and achieving success. That is what you will be selling all along. You only mention the features as a side item to seal the decision logically, but the decision to buy will be based on emotions, needs.

5. Small agreements lead to bigger ones

If someone came up to you and asked you for your agreement on some major issue, they are more likely to get a no from you than if they came up to you and led you on with a series of much smaller issues that you can easily agree on, building up to the major issue. Getting people to agree to a major issue is a lot easier if you first give them related but smaller issues that they can automatically agree to.

One way to use this in your business is to provide a free trial. It is easy to get someone to try something free. After that, it is much easier to get them to upgrade to a retail version. Another thing you could do is to ask questions spaced out within your sales pitch and those questions are the type that has a yes answer. They must be questions related to the product or service. They must be they kind of questions that almost always have a yes answer. That build up of several related but easy yes answers make it much easier to get the final yes to buy.

Putting it all together well, there you have it. Now go back to your web site and re-examine everything about it. If you find that it really is very far off from what we have talked about, then you might want to re-build all of it. Whatever you do, make sure that you fully grasp what we have talked about here and apply it in full to your site. You cannot go about applying these selectively. That will only work half the magic. For example, a lot of webmasters are lazy or reluctant to offer free content and tools. Well, you must because most of these tactics depend on it.  Without useful free content that induces return visits, it is going to be very hard to effectively apply these principles. Like we said in the beginning, people run on a common psychological framework, rules that you can live and succeed by.