The Two Things to Help Change Your Customer’s Behavior

It’s clear to me now that to achieve happiness and success, we need to be experts in changing the behaviors of others and ourselves.

In business, getting the market to do what you want does not happen through magic (although it is magical when it happens).

One common factor I’ve found in my pursuit of knowledge is that great marketing and sales strategies don’t try to create mass desire.

Rather, they look to unearth already existing desires and channel them.

We can influence others and change their behavior if:

They are motivated to do what we are asking them to do

What we are asking them to do is relatively easy

Remarkably, the same goes for the individual when trying to change themselves.


On the surface, motivation psychology can seem complex.

However, it can be broken down to be composed of two different factors: individual incentives and social norms.

For individual incentives, pain and pleasure are key drivers.

We chase after pleasure in the form of rewards and things that make us feel good and secure.

We are averse to pain in the form of punishment and things that make us feel bad or insecure.

Considering the rewards and punishments for a particular behavior you want a prospect to take must happen if you expect any action to be taken.

If a prospect buys your product, what pleasure and pain are associated with it? Most, if not all, decisions we make will have both.

Using incentives (conscious and non-conscious) to their max will proportionally increase motivation.

For social norms, we must remember that the individual is not a hermit and is governed by societal influence and order.

Will the motivation to take such an action (buy a product or service) be supported by social norms or is it completely against the norm?


Ad Men of the past usually focused on influencing behavior by changing people’s minds (aka motivation).

Making the change in behavior and action to be taken easy is a vital part of the two components to changing behavior.

Just as motivation does, Ease has two components: ability and opportunity.

  • Ability — Does someone have the right attributes, resources, internal factors, access needed to complete a behavior? (Are they able?)
  • Opportunity — Is the person’s current environment conducive to that behavior taking place? (Does their environment allow them to do that behavior?)

The Medium is the Message

Daniel Kahneman’s work offers this observation; if you want people to engage and believe your message, you have to make the message easy to understand and intuitive.

Consumer psychologist and ad-man Adam Ferrier’s powerful book “The Advertising Effect” shares these three techniques he uses to make his marketing and sales copy simple, intuitive, and most importantly; effective.

  1. Highlight and bold key words and phrases
  2. Use simple language. Compelling research shows that knowledgeable people who use everyday language are more believable than those who use jargon
  3. Stories and anecdotes are used to illustrate points because they’re more memorable

When we seek to change, whether others or ourselves, we must define the motivation and ease to change. Only then can we expect that this mental soil is fertile for action towards change.

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps” — Confucious

Omar M. Khateeb is medical device marketer with a focus on surgical robotics.

His interests reside in sales psychology, neuromarketing, and self-development practices.

Check out his virtual bookshelf here to find your next great read, and connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or SnapChat.