Get them to buy like zombies



It was a brainstorming session to end all brainstorming sessions. A war room. Around the table: our agency’s artistic director, two web designers, SEO guru, head copywriter and marketing coordinator. Our goal? Figuring out why the he** we were not getting more conversions from our web site. Overall, sales were sluggish, including our flagship product. The VCs and president and brown-socked accountants were flipping out. The sales team was freaking out, but casting blame on every Tom, Dick and Harry as to why their leads weren’t moving down the funnel. As head of sales and marketing, I was under the gun to fix the situation. And fast. Like yesterday. Apart from harassing threatening my sales reps, getting involved in client schmoozing, a part of my plan of attack was centered on the recent changes the team had made to our web site. The design was impeccable. The copywriting was fantastically executed. The content marketing strategy seemed innocent enough and we were regularly engaging with prospects via social media. We were driving traffic to our web site—but mysteriously not converting that ever-elusive traffic into paying customers.

“Were the colors wrong?,” the stressed out designer whispered.

“It can’t be the texts—I respected the brief, used the right keywords…damnit, that’s my soul I wrote there,” the angst-ridden copywriter said.

“We respected the brand,” the artistic director adamantly stated like Drago flatly telling Rocky “I must break you.”

“We did customer benchmarking!” shrieked the over-eager marketing coordinator.

“We did the A/B testing. The SEO is stellar. I am monitoring the stats like a rabid dog. I just don’t get it.” The highly caffeinated SEO guru flatlined. Poor guy hadn’t slept in days.

So I decided to throw a curve ball.

What if we had all the ingredients for a mean-green-selling-machine website but were missing that special ingredient that would actually make the sales?

You see, we listened too much to the artistic director, the designer, the writer, the SEO guy. Hell, we even listened too much to our sales and support guys (I know this is contradictory to my other blog post, but hear me out). We listened to our clients. But we listened too much to too many people, like a bridezilla shopping for her wedding dress.

We forgot that despite the features and benefits, the beautiful design, the engagement with the brand, we…forgot to SELL to our prospects and customers. That’s right. We forgot to brainwash the heck out of them. We threw the psychology of selling right out the window.




Yep. Welcome to the world of behavioral psychology, selling and how the two fused together can actually boost conversions. This is not “just” your grandma’s John B. Watson or Ivan Pavlov. In fact, more and more companies and web agencies around the world are turning to behavioral psychology to train their sales reps and revamp their marketing collateral—both online and offline—to get people to buy more.

Oh, and you purists out there huffing and puffing about “manipulation” and “soft selling to nurture relationships”…puh-lease. We need people to buy, not at any cost, but to buy, if we want to…ahem…stay in business.

The problem stemmed from our A/B testing (and even before that, but I’ll move right along here). It was random. It was based on gut feelings. It was based on stats (important…but read further). We were so razor-sharp-focused on the distinct prowess of each team member from our web agency, we hadn’t bothered to coral them together to ensure that they convinced people to buy. We wanted zombies clicking the ‘buy’ button and giving their credit card information. What we got: picky toddlers weeding out the veggies from the spaghetti sauce—only to leave everything on their (insert mildly ear-bending swearword here) plates! The toddlers wanted our competitor (read: the cookies. YE GADS. THE COOKIES!).

And I mean no disrespect to the company’s great customers writing that. So what is a desperate CMO/web agency to do? I’ve compiled a list of excellent resources that delve deep into the tweaks you can make—in your sales pitch, website design, SEO and content marketing strategy. The whole gamut.

To start, read about what makes people tick:

How behavioral psychology can increase conversions

Research studies from SEO Moz. Dates back, but still oh-so-relevant

A compilation of videos from Twenty Six Digital

15 behavioural psychology principles

Next, here are some great tricks to get ‘em to part with their cash:

KissMetric’s ideas on A/B testing

Optimizely gives unconventional ways to determine kickass ways to improve your A/B testing

Shopify prompts you to sell more using their compiled research

Marketing Land’s spin on behavioral psychology in marketing 

Fast Company’s blatant take on the psychology of selling

ClickZ’s quick tips on getting inside the head of your customers

Phew! That’s a load of stuff, isn’t it? But consider this. If you don’t get on the bandwagon, if you are the last one at the party, chances are, that hot zombie has probably gone home with someone else.

Tracey has over 15 years experience in sales and marketing in the high-tech sector. She oversees all of DasthThis’ sales and marketing initiatives. Her philosophy: everybody in an organization is in sales. Period.

Category: Marketing, Sales Comment »


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