10 Buyer Psychology Nuggets Every Social Seller Should Know

Discover the buyer psychology insights every social selling pro should know

April 16, 2014


In social selling, prospect knowledge is power.  We can never know enough about our potential buyers, especially the specific reasons they buy (and don’t buy) from us. With powerful knowledge in mind, here are 10 buyer psychology nuggets every social seller should know:

Nugget #1 - People love to buy

Despite what you hear, people actually enjoy being “sold.” Learning about new products and creating new experiences can be a satisfying journey. What people don’t enjoy is feeling coerced or manipulated.

Making it your day-in, day-out goal to help prospects enjoy their buying experience is a fail-safe way to achieve social selling success while enjoying your job at the same time. You can never go wrong with fair, friendly and helpful.

Nugget #2 – Your prospects are egocentric

Your potential buyers are narrowly focused on what’s in it for them. More specifically, how can what you’re offering help them solve a problem or become more effective in some way.

And remember, it’s not just about them personally, but also where they’re at in their company and in their decision making process. According to IDC’s IT Buyer Experience Survey, “buyers want insights based on their role, their challenges, their stage.” So always make it about them and where they’re at in the process, never about you.

Nugget #3 – Buyers decide with emotion

On the surface, it may appear as if your prospects are making their decision through a logical thought process. They’re not. As you are helping your prospects, look for the emotional trigger you can focus in on. Inc. contributor Geoffrey James maintains “all buying decisions stem from the interplay of the following six emotions:

1. Greed. "If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded."

2. Fear. "If I don't make a decision now, I'm toast."

3. Altruism. "If I make a decision now, I will help others."

4. Envy. "If I don't make a decision now, my competition will win."

5. Pride. "If I make a decision now, I will look smart."

6. Shame. "If I don't make a decision now, I will look stupid."”


Nugget #4 – Buyers justify those decisions with facts

We buy with emotion, then we use facts and logic to explain why we bought. For example, a man purchases a set of golf clubs because his favorite player uses them and he thinks they look cool. But when others ask him why he purchased them, he’ll be sure to tell them about how they are ideal for his swing, are built to last a decade, have a bigger “sweet spot,” etc.

One of the mistakes sales people make is leading with facts, thinking they will sway the buying decision. Instead, always lead with determining “why,” then provide enough facts to help your prospect justify the decision.

Nugget #5 – People think in terms of people

Studies have shown that the main purpose of our brain is to help us manage our social interactions. This is why it’s much easier for us to stay engaged with a story when there are people involved. Tell your story using names, quotes, photos of people, etc. Keep your social selling social.

Nugget #6 – You can't force your will on people

Or can you? Just kidding – you definitely can’t. Your prospects are ultimately going to do what they want to do, so make people want to do business with you. Find out what your prospects’ needs are and then build a bridge between your prospects’ needs and what you’re offering.

Nugget #7 – Buyers are naturally suspicious

And some are more suspicious than others. The social seller’s blanket solution for managing suspicions is simple: never claim anything you can’t back up. If you don’t have data or a testimonial to prove your claim is true, then don’t claim it.

Nugget #8 – Buyers are all about value

Value is always relative, which is why it’s vital that you unearth each prospect’s individual perceptions. What are they used to paying? What could they do without? What would they gladly pay more for? How would they view your offer differently from others?

In the end, the value you show must be equal to or greater than your price. Understanding what your prospect finds valuable is the only way to ensure that the value equation works for all stakeholders.

Nugget #9 – People like to experience it before they buy it

Which is why nearly every sales organization provides either a sample or a demo. Social sellers are more apt to succeed when they can get buyers to envision themselves with the product or service. Captivate your prospects by vividly explaining how your offering will make them feel.

Nugget #10 – Most buyers follow the crowd

In their song, Black Gold, Soul Asylum sings “nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.” Most of us value proof in numbers to justify our decisions. If the majority of buyers are opting for option A, there must be a valid reason for it, right? We seek guidance from those who came before us. It’s why your first sale is usually the hardest sale you’ll ever make.

Social selling success is much easier with testimonials and case studies. Never miss an opportunity to document a success story.

Although we’ve barely dipped our toe into the human psychology pool, understanding the basics of what makes your buyers tick can go a long way toward helping you establish a social selling strategy that works for you and, even more important, your prospective customers.