13 Persuasive Techniques To Hack Into Your Customers’ Minds and Make Them Buy From You

Home Tips and Tricks 13 Persuasive Techniques To Hack Into Your Customers’ Minds and Make Them Buy From You

Persuasion is the art of convincing people to do what you want. It’s a natural skill all living beings are born with. In fact, our very survival depends on this skill. A newborn baby is a persuasion grandmaster – even without the absence of language. While nature is persuasion at its best, how can we use persuasive techniques in business and make our customers buy from us?

How can we use persuasion techniques psychology to take our sales through the roof and watch our revenue multiply?

Table of Contents

Persuasion Techniques #1: Attractiveness Sells!

Countless studies have shown that attractiveness is key to persuasion. If something makes you like it, you want to do it. The feel-good factor is very important if you’re going to convince your customers to buy from you. 

That’s why they tell you in marketing schools to impress your customers with good design and aesthetics. Whether it’s the interior of your physical store, an online store’s web design, your logo, or your packaging, good aesthetics sell every day of the week. 

No wonder why businesses spend thousands of bucks on designing – it’s truly worth it. 

But apart from getting a good designer on board to revamp the looks of your store, what is one other thing that sells? 

The looks of the person selling something!

Now you know why supermarket aisles are lined with women all donned up in pretty suits and makeup. They know where your persuasion points are, and they are pressing just the right buttons. 

Research conducted by the University of Minnesota studied how male students interacted with their female fellows on a ten-minute telephone conversation.

Prior to the phone call, the male students were shown a picture of the person they were going to talk to (an attractive vs. an unattractive person). The study concluded that when the male students perceived the person they were talking to as attractive, they responded more warmly and positively.

How to use it: Your website design, product images, and other visual elements should all look good.

Persuasive Techniques #2: Attract Attention by Surprising Your Prospects

Incongruity or surprise refers to something so unexpected that it takes our mind hostage. 

Incongruity is the tool you need to capture your prospect’s attention. Once you have their attention, you’ve done half the work already. Selling them now takes less of an effort. 

When you see a beggar holding a placard sign, what do you think is written on it? Another story of bad fortune? Yeah, that’s so EXPECTED. No surprises here. 

But one beggar in a dejected street of San Francisco knew how to mug the passers-by legally. Instead of the usual hard-luck stories, this is what was written on his thin sheet of cardboard: 


A persuasion genius, wasn’t he? He diligently got people poking around in their coat pockets, giving him whatever small change they had!

Incongruity is often seen in successful marketing copies these days. Instead of the usual and expected, think of how you can go against all the odds and give your creative ads an edge. 

Look at another piece of marketing genius. 

Their queues must have become longer after using this persuasion technique.

And don’t think Avis was having an easy time with their competition. Their competitor Hertz went full-on in competing with these incongruent creatives. 

Key Takeaway: Surprise your customers with your marketing campaigns, social media posts, web copy, and advertisements. Be out of the ordinary and catch their attention. Incongruity is your secret weapon to stop the brain in its track and hack into its system, so it does what you want it to do. 

This is the persuasion technique at play in Brooklinen’s and Polysleep’s “leaked” emails on Black Friday. Click here to read all about it.

Persuasive Techniques #3: Show Empathy

Next in our line of persuasion tactics is empathy. Empathy is another key element that catches your prospect’s attention by creating a human connection with them. With good empathy, you get down to your prospect’s level and appeal to their emotions instead of their mind. 

“If you have to win the heart and mind, start at the heart.” – Some famous person. 

By putting empathy in your marketing techniques, you reduce the psychological distance between your prospect and you and increase similarity with them. 

Have you ever heard of a successful salesperson who bought himself a BMW just by being a genius salesman? 

Meet Pat Reynolds. This is how he makes cold calls:

He calls people out of the blue and asks them a strange question like, “Are you superstitious?” followed by something else that makes them laugh. Once he has grabbed his prospect’s attention with incongruity, the next spice he uses is empathy. He tells them that he understands how they want to watch a popular show (he names the show and makes sure he calls just when the show is about to start) and how he also understands that they probably don’t need the services offered by his company (more empathy). 

Once incongruity and empathy have done their magic on the prospect, he asks them to give him a favor: numbers of friends and family who they think would be interested in his services and also permission to call back. All craftily and empathetically said, of course!

No wonder about the BMW.

Persuasive Techniques #4: Give and Take Favors

Go back to Reynolds’ story and notice how he managed to get so much out of a cold call. 

First, he makes them laugh and then shows empathy by mentioning the show and letting them off the hard sell. 

Next, he requests them for a favor: referrals of friends and family interested in his services and permission to call back.

Why did people even succumb to these requests? He actually got people up from whatever they were doing to go through their phonebooks and give him referrals. 

This trick worked perfectly because of the power of reciprocity: a natural tendency of humans to give back and return favors. The human tendency that makes you invite someone to your party just because they invited you to theirs. 

The key takeaway here: Give favors to your customers like some valuable advice, tips, or guidance. Give them some kind of value, and they’ll be ready to drum up business with you – just to return the favor. 

Persuasive Techniques #5: Say the Things Your Prospects Talk About

Get down to your customers’ level and understand them. What things do they talk about? What challenges do they face? Why type of lingo do they use? 

One way to do that is to join Facebook groups where you think your target audience hangs out. Spy on their conversations and observe them. Take notes. Have empathy.

And then use those observations to create messaging that truly resonates with them. Your content should hit the nail on the head and create an instant connection with them. 

Empathy works the same way as incongruity – it intoxicates the mind. 

Persuasive Techniques #6: Tell Stories to Create a Human Connection

Good marketers tell good stories. With interesting and relatable narratives, you can connect with your audience like a human and win their hearts. 

People remember stories 22 times more than facts and figures alone, which leads to a 30% higher conversion rate. 

Here is an example of the art of storytelling working its magic in persuasion. 

An elderly but independent lady wouldn’t change her mind about getting home assistance, no matter how her daughter tried to persuade her. All her attempts at reasoning with her mother went to no avail until one day, she tried a different approach. 

Instead of reasoning and appealing to the brain’s cognitive abilities, the daughter told the mom a neighbor’s story and how she seemed so happy after getting home care. The trick worked. Mom changed her mind and agreed to give it a try. 

Key Takeaway: Create a connection with your target personas through empathy. Get down to their level and show them you understand. Give them favors in the form of valuable content. Talk about the challenges your customers face and offer advice and tips to deal with it. Create stories that appeal to their emotions. Win their hearts, and the mind will follow. 

Persuasive Techniques #7: Use Simplicity in Marketing Messages

Countless studies have shown that the brain loves simplicity. 

When our brain processes information, it looks at how simple and fluent something is when deciding whether to run with it or not. Simple is good. Complicated is bad. 

There are two ways a message can be conveyed – simple vs. complicated. People often think they sound more professional when they use a lot of buzzwords and complicated language. But that’s not true. 

A bit of technical jargon that your audience uses every day in their lives is ok but make sure your content is readable and looks like a human, not a robot wrote it. 

Successful politicians have been using this technique on us for years. When they are running election campaigns, their policies and speeches become simple and basic.

Consider these two sentences and decide which one is more persuasive:

“This nutrition plan changes the reuptake of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, ultimately impacting the regulation of appetite.”

“This diet flips a switch in your brain and makes it easier to eat healthy.”

The second one, right?

Persuasive Technique #8: Keep Customer Experiences Simple

Everything from the UX of your site to your product design should be simple. If you need to add a button on your site, make it look like a button, and nothing else. 

Remember incongruity – the element of standing out? In an effort to stand out, a lot of people screw up on simplicity. Incongruity shouldn’t conflict with simplicity – in fact; it should only enhance it and make it spicier.

Key takeaway: Simplicity should be everywhere – whether it’s your marketing copy, web design, or even the product you’ve created. The simple, the better. 

Check out this post on the feature checklist of eCommerce sites to make sure you have a simple and intuitive online store.

Persuasive Techniques #9: Gain Your Customer’s Confidence by Pricing Appropriately

Persuasion is about winning people’s trust and confidence in you. And nothing inspires confidence more than raw confidence itself. 

If you want customers to trust you, be confident. 

But what goes into it? How do you sound more confident?

You can gain your customers’ trust by pricing yourself appropriately. Want to make your product or service sound like a luxury? Well, it only has to be priced and look like a luxury.

In a study, people were given some bottles of the same kind of wine but with different price tags. The wine that was perceived to be cheaper didn’t impress the participants’ taste palates as much as the wine that was perceived to be more expensive. 

Raise your customers’ expectations by pricing yourself right. Higher expectations lead to higher perceptions about performance. 

Key Takeaway: Gain your customers’ trust and confidence by giving a thought to your attire, body language, and also your price. Sprinkle confidence everywhere in your marketing. 

Persuasive Tactics#10: Use Social Proof 

The customer will only buy something from you when they think it’s in their best interest and to their advantage. 

But how do you make them think that way?

Social proof is a virus that helps people figure out the most suitable thing to do when they’re not so sure themselves. It gives you a message that “If everyone else is doing it, it must be in your self-interest too.”

Add user testimonials, endorsements, and figures like the number of customers, social likes, etc. on your web copy and creatives to gain your prospects’ trust and to appeal to their self-interest. 

How an Infomercial Writer Used Social Proof to Increase Sales

This is exactly how an infomercial writer changed the sales game of a TV shopping channel. By adding just a few words to the sales pitch’s call to action line, the writer sent the channel’s sales through the roof. 

He tweaked the call to action from “Operators are waiting, please call now” to “If operators are busy, please call again.”

Can you spot the difference it makes? The original call to action paints a picture of bored operators, waiting for the next call while the next one makes you think the channel is bustling with sales, and everybody is out to grab their products. 

That’s exactly the reason why you see many online stores still having their sold-out products on display with a big SOLD OUT written on them.

And that’s also the reason why auctions work so well. It takes me back to a memory of a dolphin show we attended several years ago. The show included a sea lion that was trained to scribble with paint on a canvas. At the end of the show, the ‘painting’ was put on auction, and it started off at a very low opening bid, which attracted a lot of bids and a huge crowd competing for it. 

And since there was such a big crowd competing for it, everyone thought it was in their best interest to get the painting.

The result? The painting finally sold for 100 times greater than the opening bid. 

It proves that social proof can kick logic out of the window. 

Persuasion Technique #11: Use Anchoring Points when Pricing your Products

Why do people price their products $499 instead of $500? 

Most people think it’s because it makes their products appear less expensive. But that’s only one of the reasons. 

The idea behind it is when you give a round-off price to someone and tell them to estimate its wholesale cost, they come up with a lower amount as opposed to when they are given a precise amount like $499 or $475. 

With precise amounts, people start thinking precisely too instead of thinking in whole, round numbers. And they tend to estimate a higher wholesale value. 

This makes them think that it’s a bargain for them – an appeal to their self-interest. 

Another way you can use anchoring points is by creating product bundles in your store. By creating a product bundle and highlighting the cost savings for the customer, you can appeal to their self-interest and make it sound like a bargain.

Persuasive Techniques #12: Focus on Benefits Instead of Features

Ask any copywriting expert, and they’ll tell you the same thing: focus on benefits more than the features. 

In other words, stop bragging about how great your product is. Instead, brag about all the benefits your customers will get from your product.

Appeal to their self-interest first. Scientific facts can go later – once you’ve hacked into their brain. 

Persuasive Tactics #13: Use the Principle of Scarcity

If something is scarce, people think it’s in their best interest to buy it. That’s why ‘RARE’ is such a buzzword in marketing. 

Make your products appear scarce by using phrases like “limited edition,” “only 10 pieces available“, “limited seats,” etc. 

Conclusion: Persuasive Techniques

With the right persuasion techniques, you can hack into your customers’ brains and sell them anything at any price. 

The SPICE formula is effective in persuasion. Just use these five elements together to put your sales and revenue on fire. 

Starting an online business? Codup uses all these five elements of persuasion when designing and developing websites for our clients. Whether you are interested in B2C or B2B development, our eCommerce development solutions and WordPress solutions will set you up for success. 

Maria Ilyas

A writer by profession, Maria Ilyas is an eCommerce and digital marketing enthusiast and is always digging into the latest marketing trends, best practices, and growth strategies.

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