Hollywood’s Secret Formula: The Psychology of Sales

Psychology of Sales

Did you know that, according to Harvard’s Psychology of Sales, 95% of our decisions happen in the subconscious?

That means what you want for dinner, what computer you buy for work, and what you want to wear is primarily driven by the emotions you feel. 

Back before I first entered the field of video marketing, I was just a young kid in Pittsburgh, trying to make my way in the world. However, instead of going into video, I was climbing up the ladder at a tech startup as a salesman. 

At the time, the world was rough. The recession was going strong, and many startups were struggling, including my employer. So, the question became, “what should our company do to stand out? Should we build a bigger PowerPoint presentation? Do we go more in-depth about the features of the software we’re selling?”

The answer? None of the above. 

Uncovering the Secret to the Psychology of Sales

The first video I ever made was a simple, 90-second explainer video that I hacked together about our software product. The video wasn’t anything special, but it focused on how our product improved our customers’ lives.

That video took off. We sent it all over, we took it to pitches, we sent it through email, and it kept working. Eventually, that video led to millions of dollars in sales. Without knowing it, I had hit on Hollywood’s secret—the video I made used stories to connect with my customers.

Like Phillip Pullman once said: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” This is the essence of the psychology of video marketing.

Skip ahead several years, and I’d produced two feature-length films, thousands of commercials, and worked as an actor on several shows. 

So, Why Do Stories Sell?

After the time I spent in Hollywood, I came to understand why my first video worked so well. There were five emotions I noticed in every movie scene and every ad. If you watch the deleted scenes from a movie, you’ll see that the director removed the scenes because they lacked an appeal to emotion (even if those scenes are still great).

The best movies are the best because they make people feel better, stronger, faster, thinner, you know, or better at their job. I call this use of psychology in sales, or appeals to emotion, “The Stuff,” which stands for sexy, touching, unique, funny, and fear. 

If you’re not hitting any of these emotions in your videos, you need to re-evaluate your script. Like I talked about in my recent interview with Christina Rivera on Savvy Business, Life Unscripted, even an accounting firm can reach these emotions. Think Turbo Tax and their ads that show attractive people excited to do their taxes.  

Also consider this explainer video we made for iTrade, a global powerhouse in food tracking and distribution.

These videos pull at different emotions to make the same point—that their product is worth buying. The psychology of sales is at play in every scene. 

Your Brand Will Thrive or Die Based on the Stories You Tell

That’s it.  That’s Hollywood’s million-dollar secret. If you tell stories that uplift your audience, that invite them to connect with you, then you’ll succeed. 

So, how do you want to move forward? Will you be crafting your own story, or do you need help getting started? Either way, we have resources for you to get started down a path influenced by sales psychology. 

Check out our storytelling masterclass or reach out to us to talk about making a killer video for your business. Your story starts here.