Three tips for influencing your buyer

Decisions, decisions. If you are in the business of influencing buyers to buy, then you have lots of decisions to make about how best to communicate your message to secure the behavioural outcome you want.

Here are three tips to get started.

1. Eliminate barriers to buying

Often we get stuck by convention, and it’s only when a new market entrant pops up that we see opportunities for doing things differently. For instance, a few short years ago it was convention to buy clothes from a bricks and mortar retailer, and now that has been changed with the emergence of online. The barrier of “what if it doesn’t fit?” has been mitigated by free return policies.

And convention has been that you have to wait for your dry cleaner to open their doors to drop off your clothes right? Not in a suburb of Sydney where The Red Box allows its customers to get on with life according to their schedule, not the shop’s.

The Red Box eliminates a barrier

Tip: Look for any barrier to the buyer doing business with you. Opening hours, location and trading policies (e.g. payment options) are a great place to start.

2. Reduce choice regret

Part of your buyer making a choice is assessing whether they will regret their final selection. Buyers will try to avoid putting themselves through any pain of regret, which means they may defer their purchase unless you help them over the hurdle.

Coles’ My5 forces choice

On the subject of choices, I think one of the failings of the Coles’ FlyBuys program’s “My5” is that it forces people to make a choice about which items they will buy most often and commit to that as the basis of their discount. The risk is that they regret their decision whenever they buy things other than those nominated – creating an unhappy psychological tension that will dilute the ‘loyalty’ proposition.

Tip: money back guarantees and/or price match guarantees can reduce choice regret.

3. Normalise the behaviour

We all want to be normal. I know, I know, you are above average but, for most of us, we are greatly persuaded by what others are doing and we seek social acceptance. Why else would be buy ridiculously expensive cars and use Facebook? If you can tap into the desire to be normal through your marketing communications you will increase your chances of success.

Rexona ad uses normalising

One of my favourite advertising examples is Rexona deodorant’s “Do you sweat more than normal?” This works because no one really knows what a ‘normal’ amount of sweat should feel like, we just know how we sweat. The ad plants the seed of doubt that we are not normal and provides a solution to that tension.

Tip: Use “most popular” and “best selling” to help guide your buyer’s choice but be selective and authentic – buyer’s will be able to smell if you are lying.

Communicating with your buyers in an effective manner is a deceptively complicated task. Set yourself up for success by being clear on what behaviour you want from the buyer, eliminate any barriers to buying, reduce any risk of regret and use the desire of the buyer to be socially accepted to influence their decision.

Bri Williams runs People Patterns Pty Ltd, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues. Bri is a presenter, consultant and author who you can find out more about at, or by following on Twitter @peoplepatterns. Bri’s book, “22 Minutes to a Better Business”, about how behavioural economics can help you tackle everyday business issues, is available through the Blurb bookstore.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.