Want to give your career a boost? Find ways to persuade your customers, clients and coworkers to see things from your point of view, so they’ll do what you want them to. Whether it’s making a purchase, or agreeing to the deal you proposed. That’s from behavior expert Steve Martin, who wrote the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. He based the book on more than 60 years of research on ways to effectively influence human behavior. Here are his suggestions:

  • Make someone feel like they belong – or want to belong – to your group. Because if they feel like they’re part of your group, they’re likely to imitate your behavior. Remember the slogan “the Pepsi Generation”? That was Pepsi’s attempt to make you part of their group and drink their soda. The Marines used that tactic in their slogan troo: "The Few. The Proud. The Marines." It makes you want to be part of that elite group. Or what about when a hotel posts a sign in the guestroom that says: “80% of the people who stayed in this room reused their towels." Guests are 33% more likely to reuse their towels – because they want to fit in.
  • Reciprocity. In other words, people are more likely to do what you want when they feel they owe you something. For example, restaurant customers whose bill arrives with candy are more likely to tip their waiter well, compared to customers who don’t get candy.
  • Explain why saying “no” is a bad move. How does that work? When giving people a choice, don’t explain why saying “yes” would be a plus. It’s better to flip it around, and instead, tell them why saying “no” isn’t the best decision. Because we naturally focus more on negative things – and give them more weight. For example, in one study, executives were asked to approve or veto a new computer system. The result? Twice as many executives voted “yes” when they were told that by not doing it, the company would lose half a million dollars. That’s compared to those who were told the computers would help the company earn half a million bucks.

Comment on this story