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How to cross-sell using completion bias



What does a jigsaw puzzle have to do with selling?

Researchers successfully used visual representations of a jigsaw to sell more wine and more banking products.

We can encourage customers to buy more products across our range by changing the way we visually represent them.

In this video I explain: 

  • How to visually represent your product suite
  • What completion bias is and why it's so powerful
  • How an online retailer and bank used these techniques to drive sales 



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We’re happy to do the hard thing…later.

Back in 1999, researchers had people choose some DVDs to watch.

They were either choosing something to watch now or something to watch in a few days time.

When people chose something to watch in the future, they tended to choose earnest, highbrow movies. Schindler's List, for example.

When they were choosing something to watch that day, they opted for something more like an Adam Sandler movie.

If ever you’ve tried to change...

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Cooking shows are a lie


Cooking shows are seductive.

But they’re also a lie.

They don’t show you the preparation.

They don’t show you the cleanup.

Behavioural science can seem seductive, too.

You read a book or watch a clip and it seems so simple. Fast results! Easy fixes!

But try to do it yourself and suddenly reality dawns.

To really impact behaviour you can’t just throw some ingredients in a blender.

You need to go to cooking school.



Image by Mohamed Hassan from...

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The buyer you never meet


To proceed with a purchase, we need to help our customers do two things.

  1. Justify it to themselves, and
  2. Justify it to others.

We usually just think about the first one. Helping our buyer convince themselves.

We forget that they usually have to tell someone else about their decision.

That could be a spouse or their boss.

So when you are talking about reasons to buy, try to give them soundbites to use with others.

For consumers, that could be letting them know they got a great deal....

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The thoughtful no


Telling someone no can feel uncomfortable.

So we might put it off.

Let it drift.

Convince ourselves that they know it’s a no because we haven’t given them a yes.

It gets easier as time passes. The guilt subsides. The awkwardness. New pressures and decisions steal our share of mind.

But what about theirs?

As someone who has to often wait for others to make a decision - will we proceed or not? - a thoughtful no is all I want.

I want to hear the no, not so I can talk you out...

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Little e-Books of Behaviour Series

The dung beetle is small but mighty, pulling 1,000 times its own body weight. That's powerful!

And that's how I like to think of my Little Books range.

Small and mighty 

So I am thrilled to share I have made four of my little books available in the Amazon Kindle store.

I've also just...

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How to get a customer to proceed


Customer not interested in proceeding?

When persuading customers, your work is less about moving them TOWARDS something, and more about getting them to MOVE AWAY from something else.

To get someone to buy, for example, we need to move them away from not having the product at all or using a competitor’s. 

That means not only talking up the benefits of our product - but planting the seed that they’ll be worse off if they don’t proceed. That they’ll be going...

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Other people's meetings are a waste of time


Have you noticed that it’s only other people’s meetings that are a waste of time?

We lament having them, but we’re the ones calling them. Meetings are up 13% since the pandemic, largely due to distributed teams. 

There are lots of ideas about how to make meetings better, from having an agenda (rare) to limiting the number of attendees.

Here’s a reality check when it comes to meetings. 

  • People are often back-to-back in meetings, so the idea they will...
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How to communicate options


How should you communicate options to your customer?

Should you reveal them one at a time, like a waiter explains the specials of the day, or all at once, like you get on a menu?

This is the difference between sequential and simultaneous formats.

Job interviews, meetings, pitches and tender processes tend to be sequential scenarios, whereas product displays in-store or online are more commonly simultaneous. 

Neither format is good or bad, but each requires you to think about how...

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Overlooked, overwatered, overwhelmed


When an indoor plant is struggling, our instinct is to give it more water.

But that can drown the plant, making it worse.

Some managers are like this, and far too many sales people.

They can tell the person they are engaging with is struggling, but they keep talking anyway.

They share more advice or more information, which only adds to overwhelm.

Overwhelm is one of three core issues when you are trying to influence behaviour, along with Apathy (I can’t be bothered) and Anxiety...

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