Sales Psychology: 6 Methods That Actually Work 

Selling stuff ain’t easy.

Whether you’re trying to sell a product, a service, a course, or selling yourself to a potential employer, for most of us, the act of selling doesn’t come naturally. 

But if there’s one thing that can make selling easier for just about anyone, it’s sales psychology—a methodology that helps you understand what’s happening in the minds of your ideal customers. 

The term originated in the bestselling book “The Psychology of Sales” by Brian Tracy, which is absolutely worth the read if this subject interests you. 

But in this article, I’m going to focus on my own brand of sales psychology, consisting of the different strategies I’ve developed in my 15 years working in agencies and running my own freelance businesses. 

While these tactics won’t work in every situation, having at least a few of them up your sleeve will definitely help you make more sales over time. Let’s dive in.


What is sales psychology?

Sales psychology is a method of identifying the different obstacles consumers have that prevent them from making a purchase, and then developing techniques to overcome those challenges. 

In other words, sales psychology is exactly what it sounds like: Practitioners who understand what’s going on in the minds of their target audience, and use strategies to make more sales based on that information. 

We’ll get into some of the most fruitful tactics in the psychology of sales, but before we do, a quick note about ethics.

Sales psychology can help you sell more products and increase your earning potential, but used in the wrong way, these tactics can be harmful. 

The methods below should never be used to sell low-quality products or services, nor should they be used to encourage people to buy things they don’t want or need. Using sales psychology in such ways might bring short-term income, but you’ll be damaging your personal brand in the long run.

However, if you’re looking to build a stronger connection with your audience, and you know what you’re selling will make improvements for those who buy it, then these tactics can be a game changer. 

With that being said, here are six of the most powerful sales psychology tactics I’ve learned in my years on the job.


1. Rapport and credibility are key

This might be the golden rule when it comes to the psychology of sales. If you want more customers and purchases, you must present yourself as someone who is credible and trustworthy

This is why companies spend so much time and money on social media—they know that platforms like LinkedIn, X, and Instagram give them a chance to showcase their credibility to their audience. 

On an individual level, the best way to demonstrate your credibility is to give away valuable stuff for free. This is my primary method of selling on LinkedIn (where I get most of my freelance clients).

A few times a week, I create posts that show my audience I know my stuff. These posts don’t do any direct selling—most of them don’t even have a call to action. Instead, they are focused on communicating this message: “I know what I’m talking about, and I’m here to help.” 

(By the way, all my best LinkedIn tips are right here.)

Some examples of the kinds of posts you can make to build your trustworthiness: 

  • A step-by-step walkthrough of how to solve a tricky problem 
  • A real-life example people can relate to
  • A video demonstration of a useful method/hack you know about 
  • An honest rundown of a mistake you’ve made and how to fix it 
  • A critique or live review of something relevant to your audience 

This kind of content can take many different formats; while social media is a great place to get the word out, you can also consider things like hosting webinars, starting a podcast, sending a newsletter, or joining online communities where you can showcase your knowledge. 

Every time you create something like this, you are investing in your “credibility score.” Over time, you’ll gain followers who see you as a trustworthy person, which makes it much easier for them to buy from you when the time comes.


2. Give your buyers choice and power

Have you ever noticed that many companies offer different “tiers” or pricing plans when it comes to their products and services? Any time you see this, you can bet it’s part of their sales psychology tactics. 

No one likes to feel forced or limited when it comes to making a purchase. Your target audience wants autonomy; they want to feel as though they have a choice in what they buy, when they buy, and how much they buy—even if those choices are limited. 

If you only have one offer or pricing structure, people will feel locked in, and therefore far more likely to walk away. Pricing tiers are just one way to overcome this issue. 

My personal pricing structure for pitching my services is similar. Any time I send over a quote or proposal, I give three options:

🥉 Bronze: The cheapest option, containing (close to) the lowest price I’m willing to offer. I make sure the amount of work I’m offering is also significantly lower than the other options, to make those more appealing and ensure I don’t invest too much of my own time on a low price.

🥈 Silver: This is the sweet spot—the one Goldilocks would choose, and the one buyers select nine times out of ten. It’s the best deal; a higher price than Bronze, but with significantly more beneficial deliverables for the client. 

🥇 Gold: The maximum amount of work I’m willing to do, with the highest price tag. While I have had customers go for this option, more often than not, the primary purpose of the Gold choice is to make the silver option look more appealing. 

By providing choices like this, my buyer feels like they’re in control. Even though I’ve carefully curated the options available to them, they’ll be more at ease purchasing because they can select the plan that works best for their needs and budget.


3. Identify common objections and prepare for them

Here’s another ground rule for sales psychology: You should operate under the assumption that your target audience is always looking for a reason not to buy whatever you’re selling. 

Most people don’t want to part with their money (and who can blame them?), and their minds will come up with a thousand reasons why they shouldn’t purchase any given product. 

The objections your audience will have are unique to whatever it is you’re selling. For example, let’s say you’re selling knives for a living. Three of the objections people might have to your product include: 

My current knives are good enough.

I can’t afford knives that will get dull quickly. 

I don’t have time to hand-wash expensive knives. 

You can’t stop people from having these legitimate concerns. But if you know about them ahead of time, you can counteract them with your sales pitch: 

My current knives are good enough. | Demonstrate how your knives chop better and are more durable than any others on the market.

I can’t afford knives that will get dull quickly. | Tell customers about your knives’ lifetime warranty upfront. 

I don’t have time to hand-wash expensive knives. | Highlight the fact that your knives are dishwasher safe

By meeting these objections before your customers even have a chance to voice them, you’ll put them at ease and make it that much easier to get over these objections and sell the product. 

The key is doing proper research into your audience. You can do this through interviews and surveys, looking at competitors, or simply by trying different sales pitches and listening to what people say (more on that later).


4. Examples and storytelling do the selling for you

Imagine I’m trying to sell you a course, and I say this as my sales pitch: 

Students will learn vital skills to get ahead in their field. They’ll walk away with a deep understanding of the best strategies for XYZ, and earn more money as a result.

Not very compelling, is it? But what about something like this: 

Before taking the course, Wendy was struggling to make ends meet. She had a few clients here and there, but all the projects were small and not enough to cover her expensive student loans. But just a few months after graduating from the course, Wendy’s income has doubled. She’s on track to pay off her loans four years early, and just booked a week-long cruise that she could never have afforded before.

Simply telling your audience about the benefits of purchasing your product or service isn’t enough. You need to show them the results, using real people and examples to make your story more compelling. 

I could make this sales pitch even more enticing by adding a video testimonial of Wendy, showing before and after photos or data, or gathering quotes from influential people and peppering them throughout my marketing materials. 

Indeed, storytelling and real-life examples are some of the most powerful tools in your sales psychology kit. In fact, I’ve written an entire article about the power of storytelling in sales that goes much deeper into this specific type of sales psychology.


5. A sense of urgency will convert people faster

It’s human nature to procrastinate, but in sales, urgency can be the nudge a customer needs to make a decision. Creating a sense of urgency isn’t about pressuring your clients; it’s about highlighting the limited nature of what you’re offering. This could be a time-sensitive discount, a limited availability of slots for your service, or exclusive access to a product.

For instance, I often say something like, “I only have two slots left for new clients this month, so let me know if you want me to save some time for you.” This statement is true and it lets potential clients know that they need to act fast if they want to work with me. It’s a subtle way of saying, “If you want this, you need to decide now.”

Remember, the key to creating urgency is authenticity. Don’t create false scarcity. If you say something is limited, it should genuinely be limited.


6. Turn rejections into opportunities

Rejections are a natural part of the selling process, and while they might sting initially, they are the best opportunities for you to improve your sales going forward. 

Each “no” is a chance to understand what didn’t work and refine your approach. Whenever I face rejection, I make it a point to ask for feedback. This helps me in two ways: it gives me vital feedback on my approach, and keeps the door open to turn around the rejection. 

I might simply write something like, “If you have a chance, can you provide some feedback on your decision?”

Or, if you think you might be able to turn around the sale with some persuasion tactics, you could ask them to join a call.

If you’re using email marketing as part of your strategy, you can automate the process by sending people a “Why didn’t you buy” email survey and a follow-up sequence to bring them back. 

You’d be surprised how willing people are to provide constructive criticism when asked. This feedback is gold—it’s direct insight into the mind of your customer.


The psychology of sales is always about putting yourself in the shoes of your customers.

Get to know their objections, use compelling stories and evidence to convey your message, empower your audience, and use their feedback to go further with your selling.

Though these tactics take time to master, it won’t take long before you see a transformation in your business.