Selling your company’s services or products involves a lot of psychology, whether you realize it or not. Marketing those services and products also involves understanding how and why people think the way they do. To understand the psychology needed for marketing, you have to have a deep understanding of your customers. What motivates them? When you know their motivations, you’ll know which emotions to target when convincing them to make a purchase.

Some of these emotions are universal and can be used by every salesperson and marketer out there. Here are three you should know before all others.


Instilling a sense of fear in your customers probably sounds mean. If you want to sell your products, however, fear is a powerful motivator. Keep in mind that there are different types of fear. You may not need to tell a horror story to make a sale.

First, there’s the fear of missing out. If your products or services involve a current trend, buyers will want to make a purchase just so they can run with the rest of the crowd. You can also use fear of missing out to point out special features. Does your product or service save buyers time? Those customers will then have the opportunity to do all those things they’ve been missing out on, like kids’ ball games and recitals, dinner and drinks with friends, or that romantic vacation they’ve been putting off. If you can tap into that fear of missing out, you’ll make a sale.

The more powerful form of fear might just require a horror story of some sort. Home security companies capitalize on buyers’ fear of break-ins. Athletic shoe companies might focus on the fear of causing injury with the wrong type of shoe. Credit card companies may encourage users to sign up for identity protection to avoid fraud.


Not only do people seek pleasure, they want it as soon as they can get it. Pleasure includes a feeling of belonging, of being loved, and of being respected. It also means feeling satisfied, whether with comforts or excesses. When marketing, focus on how your products give buyers pleasure.

Some products seem to sell themselves. We’re sure no one has ever had trouble selling chocolate or wine. Others might need a little bit of ingenuity. How can you convince your buyers that your credit card brings pleasure? Yes, the bonuses from points are a good starting point, but what about the card itself? Does it provide the opportunity to make pleasing purchases whenever the buyer chooses? Of course it does!

Every product or service can bring pleasure, if you know how to spin it. Focus on what will make your buyers happy. Then tailor your marketing to that. Some of the words to keep in mind include:

  • Easy
  • Now
  • Impress
  • Status
  • Belong


While instilling fear and promising pleasure, your main focus should be your buyer’s pain. That pain may not even be physical; it may just be a separation from pleasure. Your job is to ease that pain. Answer their questions. Provide solutions that make sense.

What types of pain may buyers feel? Confusion is a big turn-off when consumers are making purchase choices. Clarity is the answer. Be transparent and knowledgeable. Show comparisons between your products and those from your competitors. Expense is another pain many buyers feel. If you can explain the need for the cost, the pain of expense goes away, even if your products or services are more expensive than those from your competitors.

A thorough understanding of your buyers will tell you what their pains are. They want time, they want pleasure, they want quality, and they want it as soon as possible. Ask yourself the questions you know buyers will ask and then answer them first, better, and more thoroughly than anyone else.

By keeping these main emotions in mind when creating your marketing materials, you’ll be primed to attend to the psychological aspects of selling. If you need some help creating those buyer personas, reach out. We’re experts at digging deep to get to the very heart of your buyers.

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