Building Psychological Debt To Increase Sales

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Stressed Out By DebtI was recently reading an article by Tim Connor on two subjects close to my heart; sales and psychology.

As a salesperson, there’s always a lot you can learn from others who have been in the field longer that you, as long as you’re willing to open up your mind to good things that people have to offer.

Tim mentions a number of good points in an article I read of his.

He talks of ‘failing to build psychological debt’ in your customer’s mind.

What do you do when someone gives you a complement like ‘You really know your stuff’ or ‘Your products are excellent’ or ‘Your company sounds great’?

Naturally, you reply with a ‘thank you, I appreciate that!’ or something similar.

You have, in effect, educated them on a problem they have, or given them the benefit of your experience, or offered something of real value to them, i.e. your time.

You’re building a psychological debt in the client’s mind.

They owe you something, and the way they subliminally pay you back that debt is by giving you some kind of compliment.

By accepting the compliment with a ‘thank you’, the debt is repaid.

So Connor suggests you don’t accept the compliment.

Doesn’t that sound a bit crass, you may be thinking?

Of course when someone offers you a compliment you’re going to thank them!

What he’s referring to here is that the compliment needs to be backed up with action.

When the client compliments you on your product knowledge, you can reply with ‘Thanks, and that’s the reason we should be doing business together, because I can support your future growth plans.’

When the client compliments you on your company back-up services, you can reply with ‘Yes, and that’s how we can make your company successful too!’

What you’re doing is taking the compliment and using it to advance the sale.

Simply by acknowledging the compliment, you’re repaying the psychological debt that the client thinks they owe you.

By advancing the sale to the next logical point of action, you are showing them that the debt isn’t going to be repaid until they accept that next stage.

It’s a logical thought, and helps you build belief in your client’s mind that takes the relationship with you onto the next level.

So, next time you get a compliment from a client or prospect, use it to build the next stage and help you create further opportunities for your client’s business.

When you’ve got the sale, that’s the time when you can say ‘thank you!’

Happy selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 2 June, 2016

Related Articles

Arrow down

Search For More

Arrow down