Selling is about building trust with your prospects and convincing them about the usefulness and the value of your offer.

But these aren’t easy skills to master, especially when you’re selling online and not directly facing your prospects.

Thankfully, though, we have data to help our cause.

Studies show that websites and sales pages that successfully persuade visitors to spend money have certain common elements.

These are psychological triggers that make people take action.

Here’s how you can leverage them to increase conversions and boost your sales numbers.

1. Use Scarcity to Accelerate Sales

One of the oldest and most effective ways to make your offer more attractive is by limiting access to it.

In psychological terms, this is called scarcity.

Limited offers, limited editions, and time-sensitive offers are typical examples of using scarcity to drive more sales.

Why does it work so well?

Because people are lazy and don’t take action unless they’re pushed to do so.

So when a product is not easily available, or available for a very short period of time, people fear missing out on it. Their perception of the product’s value suddenly increases, which forces them to take action.

Amazon product pages use this to great effect.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is the real factor that drives action here.

This is the same psychological trigger that makes discounts so appealing. When you offer a discount, it’s usually for a limited time period. It creates both scarcity and urgency.

For example, this portal uses the same trigger on its product pages

Source: Orbita

SaaS businesses that offer free trials also create scarcity by giving their customers a taste of the premium product for a limited time and then taking it away from them.

This is why free trials usually have a high conversion rate.

2. Establish Trust With Social Proof

Do you know what 84% of people do when they want to try a new product or service? They reach out to friends, family and their trusted contacts for recommendations.

More than 88% people trust testimonials and online reviews while evaluating new products and services.

Client testimonials act as social proof for your business. The more authoritative and credible testimonials you have, the easier it is for you to win the trust of your target audience.

This is why organizations frequently display client logos on their websites. Every logo acts as a testimonial for the company and makes it look more trustworthy.

A good example is Groove, a help desk startup. Apart from displaying the logos of their top clients, they also intelligently highlight their total member base which acts as a secondary form of social proof

Source: Groove

Since most online businesses never meet their customers physically, social proof is a crucial element of online sales.

If you have authority names in your portfolio, and your customers openly praise your work, persuading new prospects becomes much easier.

3. Simplify Decision Making by Limiting Options

When you sell something online, you pose a question to your prospects. They need to decide whether your offer has enough value for their money.

They need to evaluate your product from different angles and compare it with other similar products.

In short, they have a lot to think about.

Your job is to simplify this decision-making process for them. And that is why the typical “more is better” mentality doesn’t work here.

Studies show that limiting the options of your prospects drastically improves conversions.

Why? Because when you offer them fewer options, they have less to think about, which results in more action.

For example, this study shows how reducing the number of fields on your sign up form can increase conversions

Source: QuickSprout

Similarly, when you reduce the number of products on a page, or the number of colors or flavors of a product, the chances of conversion are significantly higher.

So even when it’s tempting to list everything on your product page, try limiting your focus to the most important product features and highlight just one call to action.

4. Have a Clear “Why” in Your Message

Several studies show that our minds are much likelier to accept something when it has a clearly stated reason (even if it’s a weak reason).

For example, an experiment by psychologist Ellen Langer found that people standing in a line at a photocopier were 34% more likely to let someone stand ahead of them, even when they had a meaningless reason like “I need to make some copies”.

That is why you frequently see “Why Work With Us” pages on corporate websites. In most cases, your marketing copy highlights the reasons why you’re better. But there’s a spike in conversions when you highlight the ‘Why’ part in a separate section.

Constant Contact, a leading email marketing software, use this trigger on their homepage.

Source: Constant Contact

Highlighting the ‘why’ behind your product also gives your customers a comparative analysis. Even when they don’t actually compare your offer with other similar products.

But the sense of reassurance they get from it is enough to drive action.

5. Use Information Clusters to Effectively Make Your Point

Another easy way to simplify the decision-making process for your customers and, as a result, increase conversions is to group together similar information on your sales page.

In sales terms, create packages for your prospects and help them identify the one that matches their needs.

This also helps you tap into different types of buyers and expand your sales net.

When a prospect sees a package that is tailored to his needs, he’s much more likely to take action.

Wrapping Up

Sales are not just about numbers and discount offers. There’s a lot of psychology involved in it as well. If you understand what makes people take action, and what doesn’t, you can mold your marketing copy and sales pages accordingly. As I said at the start, sales are all about persuasion, and persuasion is nothing but psychology.