Lueny Morell

Ways to use human psychology to close more deals

Everyone in sales is looking for an advantage. Whether it’s a new untapped source of leads or some inside information that can give you an edge over the competition, you do what you can to close the deal. But what if there is an obvious, though often overlooked, way to give yourself a competitive advantage?

There is, and it is something that advertisers, authors, and even casinos already use to make you think and behave in a certain way: human psychology. Admittedly, human psychology is complex, and often our understanding of it is profoundly limited and constantly evolving. But the good news is that you don’t need a PhD to use this to your advantage in sales.

Here are some ways to use human psychology to benefit you in your next sales pitch:

Loss aversion

In cognitive psychology and decision theory, loss aversion is when people would rather avoid losses than acquire equivalent gains. In other words, most people would rather not lose $5 than gain $5. In sales, you can leverage loss aversion by letting your prospect know that they are likely to lose money on a deal by putting off a decision, or perhaps going with your competitor. Focus on what they will lose to clarify the point. It may be what puts them over the edge and turns them into customers.

Focus on speed and convenience

We are programmed to expect quick gratification and instant results. No one wants to wait weeks for their Internet purchases to arrive, and no one loves the idea of working out for months just to lose a few pounds. This is why you should always emphasize the ability of you and your company to solve the potential customer’s problem quickly and with as little hassle as possible. Write this on a post-it note so that you can include it in each of your arguments. Convenience and speed tend to be a big consideration in marketing, but can sometimes be missed during sales presentations.

Admit shortcomings

Studies on human psychology have shown that companies that admit some “strategic failures” are able to gain the customer’s trust more easily than those that blame their mistakes on external forces. This is why you should not shy away from admitting where you and your company may not be so strong, rather than denying or deflecting from your weaknesses. That said, remember to provide unnecessary information in an effort to build trust.


Humans tend to trust people they consider to be an authority on a particular subject. Therefore, if you are able to present yourself as an authority in your respective space or industry, you will have a huge advantage when it comes to closing a deal. Of course, you should try to become an authority in an honest way; learning your products and the industry inside and out, including understanding the entire competitive landscape. But it never hurts to write about your industry and publicly showcase your expertise, if possible.

Provide fewer options

If you haven’t noticed, there has been a growing trend among all companies, from restaurants to software companies, to simplify offerings and provide people with fewer high-quality options. There is a good reason for this; reducing the number of options helps people make decisions. If you are offering your potential customer too many options, they will likely become confused and overwhelmed. Instead, use your qualification questions and research the prospect to narrow down the options you present to him. You will make their decision-making process (and your life) easier and will likely see a more positive response.

Surprise them

People love surprises. Think of the rare occasions when you ended up paying less (or getting more) than you expected. You can use this strategically during your sales arguments and presentations by withholding extra benefits and presenting them as a bonus on top of everything you are already offering. Not only will it help create value in the potential customer’s mind, but it will also delight them and make them feel special, which is exactly how everyone wants to feel.

How important is the handshake?

Did you know that a small gesture like a handshake can be crucial for your professional success? Not many people attach importance to it, but the truth is that the handshake can dictate the entire course of a professional conversation – after all, it is the first contact between you and other people and the first impression is the one that stays, right?

In this post, we’ll tell you more about the power of the handshake for your career and give you some tips on how to craft the best handshake to help you in a job interview.

So, how important it really is?

We know that speech is not the only way we communicate with another person. Gestures, facial expressions, and postures – the famous body language – are also responsible for transmitting emotions, intentions, and even personality traits.

You know that story about someone who is lying usually crosses his arms or legs, adopting a defensive posture? This is a great example of how body language is able to send a message and cause a certain impression on the interlocutor.

This is precisely why the handshake is so important: it can reveal traits of your personality and state of mind. If you are an insecure person or are feeling afraid, for example, your handshake can give you away.

And if you think this is all nonsense, think again: Forbes magazine published the results of studies that prove that a good handshake can significantly improve the quality of an interaction, producing a greater degree of intimacy and trust in a matter of seconds.

In the same vein, other research has shown that a good handshake before a social contact increases the impact of a positive interaction and decreases the impact of a negative impression. So if you happen to say something stupid during the conversation, that handshake at the beginning of the conversation can be your salvation!

For all these reasons it is indispensable to invest in a good handshake in professional situations. After all, if your greeting is too weak or too strong, for example, it can affect the entire opinion that a prospective employer or a client will form about you – and this can be crucial to your success!

What to Avoid in a Handshake?

what can be considered a bad handshake? There are six types of handshakes that should be avoided at all costs in a professional situation like a job interview, for example.

See if you recognize any of them as your own, and if so, get rid of them at all costs!

The hasty one
A too quick greeting is not even impolite, but it can end up giving the impression that you don’t have time to waste on the other person or that the situation doesn’t deserve your consideration. Therefore, avoid extremely quick handshakes.

The long one
On the other hand, a very long handshake should also be avoided. By prolonging the greeting too long, your interlocutor may become uncomfortable with the situation and worse: with the impression that you are so desperate that you don’t want to let go of the opportunity at all – literally!

The Hulk
Many people still believe that a strong handshake is synonymous with a show of power. However, this type of greeting can jeopardize everything in a job interview, as it demonstrates a need for dominance on the part of the candidate.

The slacker
Just as it is not advisable to use excessive force, you also need to avoid a handshake that is too loose. This type of greeting is synonymous with passivity and lack of commitment, which is not an interesting characteristic for a good professional, right?

The wet one
It is perfectly understandable to be nervous before a job interview or at a meeting with an important client. However, a sweaty handshake does not go over well! With it, your nervousness is immediately revealed, which can make it difficult to build a trusting relationship between you and your interlocutor.

The distracted one
If you’ve ever greeted someone who didn’t look directly at you and kept wandering his or her eyes around the room, you’ve encountered the distracted handshake. This kind of behavior is detrimental to your career, because it gives the impression that the situation is so uninteresting that anything else is more likely to hold your attention.

What does the ideal handshake look like?

Now that you know the points to avoid, it’s easier to understand what can be considered a good handshake. To help you with this task, we have listed some tips that make all the difference when it comes time for a good handshake.

Be prepared
The first step to take is to be prepared. If you know that in a few moments you will meet someone who can influence your career, keep your right hand free from now on: this prevents that awkward situation of getting in the way of changing hands while your interlocutor is waiting with outstretched hands.

If you sweat a lot on your hands, dry them discreetly on your clothes before greeting someone.

Pay attention to posture
Body language is so important that it deserves attention not only when shaking hands, but also before shaking hands. So if you are sitting down, stand up before you shake someone’s hand; if you are standing up, keep your hands visible and out of your pockets – this shows that you are open to a new interaction and gives the impression of more honesty.

Make eye contact
Making eye contact during the greeting is essential to demonstrate trust and interest. As we said earlier, you don’t want to appear distracted at such an important moment for your career, right?

Be firm
Employ some firmness in your handshake, but without crushing your counterpart’s hand! This will demonstrate that you are a confident and assertive person. If you are not sure what a firm handshake is, use the same force that the other person is using.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy all the benefits that a good handshake can bring to your career.

InnovaHiEd Institute announces 20+ Training Modules for 2020!

The 1 ECTS modules can be selected as part of the International Engineering Educator Certification Program (IEECP), or, they can be offered as a stand-alone professional courses for engineering and STEM faculty, deans, graduate students and others interested. They can be offered on-line or presential. Almost all of the instructors are experienced professors who possess the Ing.Paed.IGIP academic certification.

Share with colleagues and contact us (below) for more information on how to organize a professional development session at your institution or institutions.

Module Themes:

E1 – Getting Ready for the ABET Accreditation (Lueny Morell)
E2 – Getting Ready for the EQANIE (IT) Accreditation in Europe (Eduardo Vendrell)
E3 – Design Thinking (Lueny Morell)
E4 – Fundamentals of Faculty Evaluation (Wilson Rivera, Lueny Morell)
E5 – Developing and Sustaining Industry-University Relationships (Lueny Morell, Rosa Buxeda)
E6 – Flipped Learning (Uriel Cukierman, Lueny Morell)
E7- Learning with Case Studies (Rosa Buxeda, Lueny Morell)
E8 – Teaching with Teams (Rosa Buxeda, Lueny Morell)
E9 – Jigsaw Puzzle Learning: an effective cooperative learning strategy (Lueny Morell)
E10- Capstone Design Course with Project Management (Lorenzo Saliceti, Wilson Rivera, Annie Román)
E11- Integrating Industry 4.0 into the Curriculum (Wilson Rivera)
E12 – Integrating Innovation & Entrepreneurship into the Curriculum (Wilson Rivera, Lueny Morell)
E13- Integrating Leadership into the Engineering Curriculum (Lueny Morell)
E14 – Establishing a Global Challenges Scholars Program at your Institution (Rama Bindinagavale, Lueny Morell)
E15 – Teaching Critical Thinking (Uriel Cukierman)
E16 – Teaching Oral & Written Communication (Rosa Buxeda, Lorenzo Saliceti)
E17 – Change Management in Higher Education (Lueny Morell, Uriel Cukierman)
E18 – Developing & Using Videos for Learning (Uriel Cukierman)
E19 – Integrating Data Science into the STEM Curriculum (Wilson Rivera)
E20 – Cybersecurity Awareness in Higher Education (Wilson Rivera)
E21 – Instructional Design Basics (Lueny Morell)


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