Understanding the psychology in the sales funnel

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Emotion is the driving force in every customer decision. Whether it’s choosing which link to click on Google, or which $100,000 car to buy, a consumer will trust their subconscious to make the right selection.

Emotion is the strongest weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. If you’re able to meet a customer’s emotional needs at the right stage in their journey, you can make sales quicker and more cost-effective.

It’s important that you’re able to decipher the different stages of your customer journey, and what emotional need a customer has at each.

We’ll use this funnel taken from the blog over at Search Engine People as an example.

We like this funnel, because we can make an easy translation to ticket sales.

A prospect knows your business exists.
A prospect wants to experience your show/event/accommodation, and they know your business exists, but they’re not sure that yours is the best business to use.
They’re confident that yours is the best business, but they’re not sure whether purchasing is the right thing to do.
The prospect is ready to buy, they just need pushing in the right direction
The customer has used you before, enjoyed the experience and might want to use you again.
The customer enjoyed the experience with your business so much that they’re ready to tell people about it.

Once you’ve decided on your funnel, there are two important journeys to map.

The first is the touch-point and technology journey. This journey is all about meeting customer needs by speaking to them in the right ways at the right time.

For instance, a review site such as Trustpilot is a great place to send customers at the advocacy stage. You’re directly giving them the tools to tell others about their great experience.

If you search for Booking Protect on Trustpilot, you’ll find we have a 5-star rating from our customers. You’ll also see we’ve received more than 1,300 reviews. We understand the importance of advocacy in the sales journey and ‘completing the loop’.

Other areas of the touch-point and technology journey are trickier to map. Social media, for example, suits the consideration stage. But if your customers aren’t on social media, you’ve got a problem.

The best way to solve that problem, is to concentrate on the second of those two customer journeys. The emotional journey.

Mapping the emotional journey requires you to figure out how your audience is feeling at each stage of the sales funnel.

Before we look at how the emotional journey connects to the funnel above, we wanted to go through some of the emotions you may encounter from your suspects, prospects and customers:

Risk and Reward

When a customer makes a purchase, they’re subconsciously calculating that the reward is greater than the risk; they’ll benefit more than they stand to lose.

If you buy tickets to see Ed Sheeran, you’re accepting that the reward of seeing one of your favourite artists is worth the risk that you’re buying from a tout.

When you’re dealing with risk and reward, you have to accept that all customers are different. Some are happy with a higher level of risk for a greater reward.


In all walks of life, people put up walls and guards to protect themselves. Those walls only come down when trust enters the equation. Trust makes a person vulnerable, so it’s not given lightly. But when it is offered, it’s the key to any sale.

Fear and Joy

Fear and joy are at the very core of the human condition. Fight or flight, the pursuit of happiness; fear and joy drive every human at two different ends of the spectrum.

Examples of fear in the sales process include fear of losing money, getting ripped off or choosing the wrong venue.

And joy, as the complete opposite, is the feeling a customer gets when they see a great show or have a fantastic customer experience.


We’ve coupled fear and joy in the point above, because they are the two extremes of the emotional spectrum. But when it comes to sales, we don’t combat fear with joy. Unfortunately, fear often rules joy; it’s easier to convince yourself the worst will happen.

So in this respect, the opposite emotion to fear that we use in marketing is actually security.

The way you encourage a customer to move away from fear is by convincing them that the worst won’t happen because of the security net you’ve put in place.

Security is the emotion that has led Booking Protect to lead the world in refund protection. We understand the fear that customers have when they’re shopping online, and we offer the security that if a customer can’t attend an event, they won’t lose their money or get left out of pocket.

Opposites attract

Back to that funnel, and now we can attribute some of the emotional responses to different stages:

A suspect doesn’t know what the reward will be from picking your business.
A prospect thinks the risk is too great, because they don’t know enough about your business.
The customer is feeling vulnerable and unsure about giving you their trust.
The customer needs to trust you to do what you say you’ll do.
The customer is full of joy that the experience was so good and wants to trust you to give them the same experience again.
The customer wants to trust that they can give you a good review, but also fearful that you’re not going to live up to their words.

The key to pushing any customer through the sales funnel is understanding the emotional opposites – the emotional response that trigger to negate the emotion the customer is currently feeling.

We’ve already given some examples above.

When a customer feels the risk is great, you need to highlight how great the reward is.
When a customer feels vulnerable, you need to show why they can trust you.
When a customer feels fearful, you need to offer them security.

When you’ve worked out the correct emotional responses, you can connect them to the touch-point journey and build your sales funnel. Decide which platforms and communication channels are best for soliciting your desired reaction.

Earlier, we spoke about Trustpilot. We use it in a big way at Booking Protect. That’s because it’s a very good channel for creating trust. It’s great to show people at the consideration stage of the journey, and at the advocacy stage.

Booking Protect is also a touch point in itself. We partner with venues across the globe, because our refund protection is the security that combats the fear. We’re also great for creating trust.

So there you have it…

A small look at the emotional customer journey.

We hope you enjoyed the read and can take away some tips to add to your own sales process.

If you’d like any more information, please feel free to get in touch with us via our LinkedIn page.

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