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Sales 2.0 – Psychology, Self-Selection, and “Getting There First”



I’ve read, heard, and studied lots of talk about the psychology of sales and marketing.

What makes buyers tick.

How decisions are made.

Prestige, Pleasure, Pain (relief), Profits, or Preservation.

But I was reminded today of another key psychological aspect of sales.

“Getting there first” is a simple rule that Paul Castain’s Sales Playbook talks about.

Want to be a budding (sales) rock star?

Get there first.

When it comes to lead management and generating new sales, showing up last is often worse than not showing up at all. Showing up last means expending time and energy that likely has little chance of success.

Sales studies consistently show that anywhere from 35 to 50 percent of all sales go to the agent who makes first contact. If you’re Vendor # 7 out of 10 attempting to contact a lead, what’s the realistic chance of creating an opportunity?

Furthermore, “Getting there first” is a natural process of self-selection.

As marketers, we spend so much time and energy on SEO because when we’re first on the results list, we have a higher chance of being self-selected. And when a user self-selects, they have a higher level of investment. They want to feel that their self-selected choice was a good one.

Being first means you have the chance to build that same relationship, to make the very first impression. If you’re the right fit, customers want to go with their first choice, because it’s easier, faster, and self-reinforces their belief that they’re “smart, savvy consumers.”

The point of metrics, split testing, sales and lead response software tools is ultimately to close more sales. But one of the key sub-steps to reaching that goal is to gain a psychological “edge” in the customer’s mind.

And being first is a critical factor in doing it.

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35 thoughts on “Sales 2.0 – Psychology, Self-Selection, and “Getting There First”

  1. Completely agree that “getting there first” is a key component to winning. If you have the right message at the right time to the right buyer….you get to set the stage for all that follows.
    My only point of disagreement is getting there first is NOT Sales 2.0 but rather Sales 1.0. From the inception of time any sales person worth their salt knew this. Those that sit and wait for automation to deliver a buyer to their inbox are those that are getting there late to the game. Sometimes to win the race you have to be first out of the box.
    Net/net… pick the races you want to win and then go pick up the phone and get the game started.

  2. Really good point, Trish.

    If we think of “Sales 1.0” as being our “classic” image of Willie Loman–guy with two briefcases walking down a city street–then I think you’re partially right. First guy in the door often wins.

    Perhaps it isn’t stated well in the article, but the idea is that a “Sales 2.0” world hasn’t completely devalued the need for “Sales 1.0” tactics. I think the Web, social media, etc. have lulled a lot of us into thinking that “passive engagement,” and “followers,” and “branding” are going to simply naturally, organically send leads our way, because that’s how our bright, shiny happy Sales 2.0 world works, right?

    I think “getting there first” is a Sales 2.0 tactic because it’s even more important now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Users want more than ever to feel that their process of “self-selection” has been validated. “Yes, I knew you were the right vendor, because I know that I was smart enough to find you first.”

    I’m going to have to research this some more, it’s a fascinating topic.

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