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Understanding The Psychology of Reactance Will Help You Increase Sales

Psychology of Reactance

Sales and marketing are some of the cardinal points of entrepreneurship. Your products can be the best in your industry, but if your sales funnel is empty, with no leads, you will be out of business soon. The question is not if you are going to be out of business, but when you will be out of business. That is why as an entrepreneur, you need to understand the psychology of reactance.

Understand Change

Online sales and marketing have had sporadic growth since the advent of COVID-19. The online sales curve isn’t going south any time soon. At worse it may be flattened post-COVID-19. This is because of social distancing which is gradually becoming a norm as a way of flattening the COVID-19 curve and reducing the spread of the virus. Hence, the reduction in brick-and-mortar shopping.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Yes, there is a drastic increase in online shopping and the buying patterns and behaviors of people are gradually changing. Sales numbers for E-Commerce firms have quadrupled in the past few months. A survey by Engine found that people are spending on average 10-30% more online. 

Knowing that the buying behavior of people is changing, it’s time you change your strategy as an entrepreneur. You need to change your sales and marketing strategy to evoke a psychological buying behavior that a lot of entrepreneurs aren’t aware of- the Psychology of Reactance.

See Also: ReDahlia Workspaces; a beautiful co-working space at the heart of Ikeja.

Psychology of Reactance.

The authorities of a particular University wanted to disseminate important information to all its students in the fastest possible time. This was before the advent of social media and online PR. They decided to paste a boldly written memo on their notice board with a “PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE A STUDENT!” caption. According to the University, that was singlehandedly the fastest way that information reached each and every student on campus, with 99.9% lead generation. 

It is a behavioral pattern that happens when we feel our right to our own decisions is being undermined. Reactance is a subconscious defense mechanism that we put to use when we try to get back our freedom and right to choose, especially, during a buying decision. We become ‘motivationally stimulated’ and are pumped with an overabundance of inspiration that drives us to battle for our freedom of choice and action.

The psychology of reactance is something that digital marketers should be aware of and infuse into their marketing. If digital marketers don’t put the psychology of reactance into consideration, they will lose a lot of leads.

See Also: 100 Profitable business ideas to start now for aspiring entrepreneurs and investors.

Buying Decision

Reactance can prompt two types of psychological behavior when people want to make a buying decision. It can make you not want to carry out an action that is forced on you. For instance, when a marketing campaign of a brand comes with a call to action that almost forces you to buy their product at all cost. On the other hand, this defense mechanism can also inspire a customer to action.

You’ve at different points in your life acted based on the psychology of reactance. From childhood; you mostly did the things you were told not to do. This isn’t because you wanted to do them, but because you were told not to do them.

The moment you feel the slightest infringement to your freedom to act, you react based on this cognitive bias. You were most likely drawn towards contents that had the 18+ age restrictions. Not necessarily because you wanted to view those contents, but your defense mechanism towards that particular age restriction just decided to play out psychologically.

See Also: How businesses can access the COVID-19 Relief Fund


The moment I tell you not to think about a white towel. That is the exact thing you start thinking – a white towel. Even if you don’t have a white towel, you instantly start thinking about how you will get a white towel. This happens, because you feel the need to get back your freedom of thought.

This knowledge about human behaviour can be channeled into neuro-marketing. It will increase your sales funnel; increase leads, sales, and ultimately, revenue for your business.

See Also: How to reduce business expenses and increase your revenue.

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Psychology of Reactance In Your Call To Action

If you have a female product, start your online marketing campaign or ads with statements like: “Don’t allow women see this…” or “Females shouldn’t watch this…” or “This content is strictly for men, make sure women don’t see this….” Of course, you would have targetted your online ad or content towards the desired female demography and done all necessary market surveys. The psychology of reactance can then be deployed to influence the buying decision of the prospect.

So, entrepreneurs should learn how to use their prospects’ emotions to their advantage. Tell them the opposite of the action you want them to take in a subliminal way. Then, watch how your conversion rate skyrocket. No one wants to be forced or told what to do, they will always want to find out why.

Instead of telling them; “please subscribe to my channel!”, why don’t you tell them – “Make sure you don’t subscribe to this channel if you don’t want to improve in…!” Tell them, “Do not click on this if you are a Nigerian!” and watch how all Nigerians that come across that content will click on it.

So, redefine your marketing strategy today and watch how the psychological power of reactance will help you meet and exceed your sales and marketing targets.

Entrepreneurs.ng will help you increase your brand’s visibility and position you as the preferred choice. Contact us today to put your business on the world map.



5 thoughts on “Understanding The Psychology of Reactance Will Help You Increase Sales”

  1. Miracle Achodo

    This is truly insightful. Definitely going to implement this in my ad campaigns from now.

  2. Miracle Achodo

    Wow, this is very insightful and makes a lot of sense. Looking to implement this in my ad campaigns.

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