One of the top needed skills for the job market in 2019 is negotiation skills, persuasion, and influence.

LinkedIn: The Most In-Demand Hard and Soft Skills of 2019

Forbes: The Skills You Need To Succeed In 2020

… and what a better way to tackle this, than making the best of my favorite subject of consumer behavior?

Consumer behavior is the study of how consumers search for, choose, buy, and use your products or services.

Consumers are people. Whether you influence them to buy your products or services or influence them to buy into your ideas, you can more or less follow the same concepts.

Persuasion and influence could be one of the hardest tasks anyone can be assigned to. Some people are skilled, while others are left dazzled, not sure what could be the next step they can take to improve in that area.

I know. I know because I bet you are a bit like me and face this situation every single day — at work or in social settings. After all, I am a nerd, and well, I did study software engineering. This is quite far from negotiation skills if you ask me.

Read: Learn how consulting changed my life

The good news is negotiation skills, persuasion and influence can be taught. Yes. Some people think that only the born talented are the ones who can exceed in that area, but I beg to differ.

Let me remind of my favorite quote that I live with every day of my life.

“A few modern philosophers… assert that an individual’s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism… With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgement and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.-Alfred Binet

But again, where to start?

Knowing is not enough, right?

Application is what drives action and brings results.

I could talk as much as I can about the consumer behavior concepts I have learned, such as the rule of reciprocation, social proof, scarcity, etc.

But, what does this mean? How can one put them into practice?

Just imagine if you had a book of tricks that can get you started.

One of the books on consumer behavior that I was very happy to read, and actually read multiple times was “Exactly what to say” by Phil M Jones.

The book is so simple — with practical tricks that you can put into action right now. Not even tomorrow. 

If I could do it, would you give it a try? 

Let me tell you a story. I love stories. I hope you know that by now.

A colleague of mine, let’s call him John, was a bit hard to get a hold of and get some input from. He is a busy man. Everyone wants advice from him.

One of my other colleagues finds it very hard to get some feedback from him. He asked me, “How do you get John to do things for you?”

My answer is simple, “I ask nicely, and then I say thank you.”

People are simple.

Say, please, and then say thank you”.

This is was just my initial approach, but after reading the book “Exactly what to say” by Phil M Jones, I learned a new trick.

It’s called, “A favor”.

So, I added it to my ask nicely approach.

I say, please, and I ask for a favor.

Me, “Can I ask for a favor please?”

John, “Yes. Sure. It depends though, what is it?”

“It’s a very small favor, I promise,” I say. “Could you please help me out do X?”


John helps me out. 


Then I say, Thank you so much. I really appreciate your help. You saved me.” 

Do you see how it goes?

There are types of people in this world: those who conform with the status quo and stick to what they know; and those who are willing to test new concepts, push their personal limits, and see where it will take them.

Which one are you?

One last thing… 

Just out of curiosity, what do you personally do to improve your negotiation skills, and what would stop you from trying this bag of consumer behavior tricks to influence and persuade others? 

(Visited 70 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Oz September 22, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    This is a great post! I’m a treasurer/accounts guy at a privately funded Saturday school and the premesis which we hire weekly to provide the service to our pupils is increasing its costs year on year. We have got to the point where the parents may start to feel the pinch so we know we can’t keep passing the costs on. We are now looking at alternative funding options which will involve us seeking out local businesses to sponsor, donate or invest. We need a strong narrative which is something you are passionate about and I will also check out the book “Exactly what to say” by Phil M Jones. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    1. Sherwette - Site Author September 23, 2019 at 12:07 am

      I am really glad you find it useful. On writing stories, I recommend checking out “Building a story brand” by Donald Miller. I can’t wait to know how those tricks helped you out. In fact, one of my friends used one of the lines, “I am not sure this is for you, but…” to convince potential customers to try and give feedback on her newly designed handbag… AND actually it intrigued people to come and try… (Link: so, keep me posted and I also would love to write about your story here ?

  2. Pingback: Learn how favor banks can help you influence others | Sherwette