The Psychology of Marketing and Sales

Updated September 24, 2010

Doc Sheldon

For those of you in sales and marketing, it should be no great revelation to hear someone say that psychology plays a great part in your successes (or failures, for that matter). To the rest, however, it may not be so obvious.

Psychology as it applies to the customer

No salesman relishes the thought of approaching a potential customer that is involved in a row with a spouse, or is obviously in a bad mood. That customer is already in a mode of heightened resistance, and as a result, will be less receptive to suggestion. Conversion becomes much more difficult.

On the other hand, a prospect that is clearly in a good mood, obviously enjoying the experience, will usually be more receptive to solid sales and marketing techniques. This is something that salesmen have known and taken advantage of, since the first fur-clad salesman plied his craft, in front of his cave.

It applies equally to the effectiveness of both sales and marketing efforts, and it’s just as valid for on-line businesses, as it was in the prehistoric era.

Psychology as it applies to the vendor

This sword, as is often the case, has two edges. The vendor also needs to keep his focus on the correct target. Many salesmen assume that means the sale or the close. A great many sales and marketing training programs even stress that focus as paramount.

However, focusing on one individual sale is similar to focusing on one battle, rather than the entire war. Wars have been lost, and companies have failed, by following such advice. The optimum focal point is the customer!

Thus, it’s important for vendors to adjust their perspective to focus upon what the customer needs or wants, as opposed to what the vendor wishes them to accept. If you expect them to be satisfied with something different, then you must shift their mindset, to make them think that what you’re offering is what they want. Until the vendor recognizes the importance of that subtle distinction, he will endure many disappointments… as will the customer.

Start planning your sales and marketing ventures with an eye toward the psychology involved, and you may see much better results.


  1. Dean Cruddace says:

    This I suspect we need to expand upon’

    “make them think that what you’re offering is what they want”

    We need to make sure what we are offering is exactly what they are looking for!

    Catching those at the end of the buying cycle would be ideal in every circumstance, but catching them early in the funnel to steer them in the exact direction of their initial search would be gold dust

  2. Agreed on the gold, Dean. I think that’s where we’d really like to grab them. Just takes some planning, foresight, clairvoyance and a dash of luck! 😉