So you have something to sell. It could be your business idea, your product or even yourself. In this post, I want to teach you how to sell anything to anyone using SCIENCE!

1. Start with a Bang

Always start with a bang. One study tried to figure out how to increase room service tips for waiters in hotels. They found there was a super easy thing waiters could to increase their tips. All they had to do was start with a positive comment. When hotel guests opened their door, waiters said “good morning” and gave a positive weather forecast for the day. Just that one positive comment increased their tips by 27%!

How does this help you? Never start a sales meeting or pitch by talking about bad weather, traffic or being busy. Always begin with a positive comment or anecdote. Great weather, fun weekend plans or a favorite sports team winning a game. That gets you off onto the right foot.

2. Don’t Self-Sabotage

The biggest self-sabotage mistake is to speak ill of a competitor. Research has found something called Spontaneous Trait Transference. They found that whenever you say bad things about someone else people can’t help but put those same traits on you. The brain can’t help but associate your gossip with you, even if logically we know you are talking about another person. If you say your competitor is low-quality and unreliable, your potential client can’t help but associate those traits with you. No matter what, when it comes to gossip, always say “no comment”.

3. Use Awesome Labels

When you assign someone a positive label, like having high intelligence or being a good person, that actually cues them up to live up to that label. In one study about fundraising, the researchers told average donors that they were in fact among the highest donors. Can you guess what happened? Those donors then did in fact donate above average. We live up to our positive labels. When you are with a client or potential customer give them genuinely good labels—I never want you to be fake or manipulative. So be sure to stick to positive truths. You can say, “You are one of our best customers” or “You’re such a pleasure to do business with”. In that way, they will actually want to be one of your best customers and try even harder to be a pleasure to do business with.

4. Use Your Body

Study after study shows that you have to use nonverbal communication to be an effective salesperson. In one study, Sales people who used power body language increased their sales numbers by 56% after only one training.

5. End High

Lastly, end on a high note. Ok, let me explain a really gross, but fascinating study involving one of my least favorite topics: colonoscopies…I’ve only ever heard one thing about colonoscopies. They are super unpleasant. And doctors know that they have a bad rap. They wanted to do research to find a way to give colonoscopies a better reputation. A little background: a colonoscopy is only a few minutes long, but they are pretty uncomfortable. They found that if they added one minute at the end of the procedure that was pain-free, people remembered the whole experience as more pleasant. In other words, even if it takes a bit longer, ending on a better note makes someone recall the entire experience better. Before someone leaves your pitch, end on a high note. Gift a final perk, offer them a mint, pay them a compliment. It will make the entire time with you even better.

About Vanessa Van Edwards

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Lead Investigator, Science of People

I'm the author of the national bestselling book Captivate, creator of People School, and behavioral investigator.

I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes. More about Vanessa.

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