How to Sell Anything.. Like a Mind Reader!
Updated: Feb 21
The world of sales can be frustrating, stressful and incredibly challenging... when you don't know what you're doing. Sales tricks and tips articles, blog posts and videos are a dime a dozen buried online. Nine out of ten times, the author is trying to sell a book or sales course. Not in this case! The author here is a professional mind reader and corporate mentalist, specializing in performances, and speaking engagements for over two thousand clients in the past 20 years.
Spending a lifetime on stage reading people's minds, he has developed an interesting and unexpected skillset as a master salesman. Selling a performance is inherently difficult as it is essentially an invisible product that you do not see until after you've paid and won't know what to expect until the show is already over. With a car, you can test drive it, go over features and trim packages and make calculated financial decisions. Booking a mentalist for your company party, banquet or trade show is somewhat riskier. Most people can determine a professional from an amateur performer, but it still takes a considerable amount of sales expertise to make the booking and get the deposit.
This article will show you a variety of psychological maneuvers you can use in your sales strategies that have been cultivated over two decades from a working mentalist.
Disclaimer: You will not actually be able to read minds... I mean come on.
Strategy 1: LIMIT THE OPTIONS
Have you ever been overwhelmed shopping before? Looking at a thousand similar products and eventually you just get so fed up you walk away? It happens often. Never flood your prospect with a multitude of options right at the start. If you're selling a car, insurance, stocks, etc. always start small, with the basics. You'll notice good car salesman only start talking about added features once you've already chosen the vehicle and trim package. Now they can add on the extended warranty (that can only be used at their dealership...) or the door guard that costs $300 and will prevent massive damage to your doors if someone opens theirs without looking and dents you! Or perhaps the unlimited oil changes and maintenance if you pay $1,000 up front now.
They trickle in, one at a time. Some salesman make mistakes and lose a client completely by bombarding them with options. Even if they're great, reasonably priced and provide a necessary and needed service. You'll likely lose your customer if you drop everything on them at once.
Instead, pace it out. Have certain points in your sale where you can casually bring up additional services. And Never, ever bring up a service or added cost during critical parts of the sale. For example. Do not recommend extended warranties during a test drive. Instead, wait until after you've had the drive. Walk to their current vehicle and ask them about the maintenance history of their car. Say things like "What do you normally do for maintenance?" and "How often do you remember to get your oil changed or tires rotated?" - the key here is to never ask "yes or no" questions. Once you've gone in with a direct answer question, you're at their mercy. They will most likely say no because they'll smell a sales pitch coming. Instead ask open-ended questions that can start an organic conversation. From here you can do what mind readers and mentalists call "cold reading." Basically you can determine what their habits and routines are like and can then tailor your responses to fit their particular situation.
"So how often do you get your oil changed?"
"Oh whenever the light goes on."
"Oh of course.. duh. Is it expensive? Your current car must call for full synthetic, I bet it's like $90-100 every time."
"Yeah something like that, but I get 9-10k miles between changes."
"Right, thats why full synthetic is great. But so expensive. Even if you are saving a little bit by not going every 3-4k miles."
"Yeah that's true."
"You know, the reason I love this place is because they'll call and remind you to get your service taken care of, and the best part is - they rotate your tires, do your alignment, top fluids, check brakes and rotors, replace wipers and broken bulbs. And it's all in one service. That's why I always come here."
And then Stop talking about it. Go back inside and change the subject completely. Let all that groundwork you laid get stronger in their minds. They know what you were doing, people are not stupid. But because you didn't come right and say "Man you really need this extended warranty.. it's so blah blah blah." they will have a little more respect for the process and be easier to pitch to more directly later on.
Some sales specialists believe in layering options in a package deal. This can work in some cases but overall you're going to run into the same overwhelm affect. I prefer the stagger and build mindset. It may seem more risky, but when you've proven the supreme benefit over their fear of spending more, you will make the sale.
So do the following:
1. Never offer too much up front
2. Always ask open-ended (not yes or no) questions
3. Don't layer or package unless absolutely necessary
4. Lay the ground work before you make the pitch (sometimes this will require extra layers - which bring us to...)
5. Read their mind! Well, not really but cold read their mind. As in pay attention to how they react, respond, and communicate. Once you have an understanding of a person's vocal behavior and overall body language you will be so far ahead of them it will almost be unfair.
Side Note: this can all be done over the phone, through email or even a video chat if necessary. If you can hear their voice, you're half done.
Strategy 2: The "FOMO"
Fear of missing out. This one is tricky and usually called something like "loss aversion" or something equally technical sounding.
The basic premise is simple to understand. Do it now, because you can't later and you'll be losing X because of Y.
It's an old strategy, and even though this kind of sounds like I'm against it. I am not. It has its place in sales. However you have to be very careful and particular when using it. Some people don't care if they're missing out on some great added benefit or feature.
Example: Let's say you sell personal training sessions at a gym.
You'll most likely offer a complimentary session to get the person to see what it's like and then hopefully pitch them on more sessions at the end. Now you will have to time this right. If you do pitch them on more sessions at the end of the free one, you're going to be in a position where they start to question the quality. They will then think "hmm.. this one was good but I'm just so out of shape it'll take forever to see results and will cost me a fortune with the trainer." or the opposite "hm.. this guy/girl is good but I'm already in great shape and I think I can save money and just continue to do what I'm doing by myself."
Instead sell the additional sessions at a discount in conjunction with the free one. Using the FOMO strategy you can justify the lower cost of the sessions now. If they wait, they will lose the discount. The discount is only available one time per person, no exceptions. Also consider the psychological effect here. If they book the free sessions and a package of paid ones, the free one will be much more effective when they know they have paid ones coming up. It will go from "hmm.." to "That wasn't bad" or "Man I hope I can get through the next two better." or they might hate it and say "phew.. thankfully I only bought two more"
So do the following:
1. Sell the fear of loss, not the product itself
2. Explain the benefits, not what they physically get (they get tired and sore.. No! Sell they get healthier fast with an experts help. They get a motivation boost and a solid, perfected workout with someone who's sole job is to whip your butt into shape!)
3. Never say "You need this!" - Immediate reaction is "No I don't, shut up."
4. Be genuinely helpful. Never offer too much up front (see strategy 1) - and only offer what you think they can actually benefit from.
5. Using FOMO, never make it do or die and don't push when they've said no more than twice. Let them miss out if they're stubborn. The worst thing to be is a pushy, greasy salesman/woman.
Quick Sales Tips:
1. Always look people in their eyes - make a personal connection from the very beginning. You'll be seen from then on as non-threatening, friendly and warm.
2. Use gentle touching (don't be creepy!) - handshake, hand on shoulder, lean in and get close to mention a nice feature. "hey you know, the gas mileage on this car is by far my favorite part."
3. Always dress neatly, be well groomed, and for the love of all things holy - brush your teeth!"
4. Don't dress overly fancy. The sleazy car salesman can be seen a mile away in his pin-stripe suit, leather loafers and gold bracelet. You can almost smell the chest hair.... gross.
5. Be casual, relaxed up front and then shift your body posture, demeanor and vocals to match your customers. Do they talk fast? Talk fast but not as fast as them. Do they make jokes a lot? Make small jokes and keep it clean. Do they smell like waffles? "Man I love Denny's! If we have a great day here, Moons over MyHami on me after!"
6. Never push people! It's tacky, sleazy and the quickest way to burn a sale.
7. If customers are hesitant, ask them to tell you why. What's their reasoning? You're not looking to catch them out and say "Shut up Jim, here's why your wrong!" You want to know a person's thought process. Once you know how they think, you can tailor your pitch, presentation or sale to fit within their mindset. This is major part of the mentalist & mind readers professional skillset. Sometimes people will just Tell You what they're thinking!
8. Study and understand body language. Read books on how people act the way they act. What certain postures, hand positions or facial expressions typically mean. Learning and understanding how to read a person's body will give you a Huge advantage over them. Again - not in a deceptive or intentionally treacherous way.
9. Never, ever fake anything. Do not fake handshakes, smiles or interests in people. In sales you have to always be on your A-game or you'll mist out, which results in missed commissions, lower performance for the quarter, loss of job, homelessness, eating dog food .. you get the idea. Instead, be honest. If you're having a crummy day, use it to your advantage. But don't go all sob-story on them! Remember, match them as much as possible without being overtly obvious.
10. Treat everyone with the utmost respect. When you give you get. It's and old line but it's 100% true. Be rude, expect rudeness in return. Be kind, expect kindness. Now that's not to say sometimes you'll be as sunny as a May afternoon and be met with someone who just got rear-ended and now needs to buy a new car. That guy is having a bad day. Be helpful, courteous and considerate. You're there to help them, not sell to them.
11. Let them sell to you! What most salespeople forget is that people want to buy, but hate being sold to. Let them sell to You why they want to buy from You. Ask them why they want to buy, whats going on in their lives where they need to workout, buy insurance, buy a car, buy a new home, etc. Gently, make them give you reasons why You should sell to them. "What brings you to me today?" - "How do you think I can help you?" - "Where do you want our meeting today to end up?" - Not only will you throw them psychologically, you'll endear yourself to them by showing that you care! Because remember, you do!
Bonus: Incite Reciprocity! When you give away something, whether it's free tires, a personal training session, back taxes review, or whatever. There is a natural human instinct to return the favor through reciprocity. Now this can get tricky as you might try and use it to make the full sale. But that's not what we're talking about here. Don't offer free windshield wipers and expect the sale of a car. Or don't offer complimentary tire-rotation if they do an AC recharge. You need to offer value and benefit, not item or service. It may be a good benefit for them if they got the first 3 car washes completely free when they buy a year package. Maybe money is tight and they need a clean car when they meet new clients. That value affects them on a psychological level instead of a financial one. It shows you care and want to help. Because remember, you do!
Overall, remember to work with the client. Don't be over-focused on making the sale right away and then onto the next one. Make the connection, and have a customer not once, but for life. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in sales for a long time to say the best customer is the one that comes back.
Christopher Grace is an expert mind reader, magician and sales trainer. He travels nationally and internationally performing for and speaking to corporations large and small on how to grow their business, maximize sales and turn their staff into competent selling machines.