How To Influence Your Customer’s Behavior

adepeju adenuga
5 min readFeb 8, 2021


I was tempted to stop writing, maybe because the articles so far has demanded a piece of me that is quite different from when I speak using a brand voice, or creating a commercial write-up.

When writing about myself, I tend to write all about my non-conscious motivation. Stories about how I literally got stranded at the wedding altar (drop an emoji if you want the full gist) or my love for children and dogs.

Well, as a writer, I am forced to learn all about my customer’s motivation. I am quite interested in their non-conscious motivation. As a brand, you should too as this drives them into interacting with your products or services.

Now if I should endeavor to write about myself, I would consider what makes me tick? I have dreams, you do too. Dreams are essential components of life. When you write about your customer’s personas, move beyond the specifics, pain points to writing about their dreams.

Actions may speak louder than words, but the motivations behind one’s actions will tell you everything you need to know.

In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow published a paper in the Psychological Review called A Theory of Human Motivation” which outlines the five needs that drives human behavior.

Imagine you enter a room to find two women fighting. You don’t know the women and neither shouts anything that reveals who they are or why they are exchanging blows. You wonder if it is a case of polygamy or side chick wahala. As a one time observer, the fight may mean little to you, unless you understand the context behind it. This applies to your customers, they want to know more about you beyond your products or services.

Non-Conscious Motivation:

Dr Robert Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion can help you understand how the unconscious minds of your customers want


Now that your customer has visited your website, you have to keep them interested to make an interaction with you. For example, if you reach out to your mentor or connection on LinkedIn, you would mention 3 or more things that is similar between you and your connection before proceeding to your reason for conversation. What this does is to provide a basis for a relationship or liking. You can include a compliment or flatter because flattery gets you everywhere.

Your customers will like you more and remember what you said when you flatter them. The principle of Liking can be summed up to “People like those who like them”.

Being liked, for whatever reason, opens up doors, improves one’s position within a social network and inherently increases the influence one can apply in their social setting.

Social Proof:

We all want validation and the sense of belonging. That’s why no matter how expensive Apple products become, many of us will dip into our deeper pockets to purchase one. “I must belong” is a way to sell to your customer’s need for belonging. Take a look at this year’s Valentine season, there are more Valentine vendors than buyers because your WhatsApp’s contacts are interested in taking care of your love needs.

Social Proof plays upon the individual’s need to belong to a group and be validated by the group for their choices and actions.

More often than not, the individual looks up to the group to learn how they should think about issues, interact with other members of the group (and external groups) and how to interpret situations.


Authority comes in different forms. It comes from a position, a uniform among other things.

If you live in Nigeria, authority comes in the form of Army officer bullying a bus conductor who dares ask for his transport fare. In Surulere, just yesterday, I witnessed another bus conductor who was not quick enough to escape the heavy belt distributed unevenly across his body for daring to challenge an armed official.

Authority may also come in form of a Nigerian Policeman on parade hoping to get his next N50 bribe. But then again, that is not the authority we are considered with.

Public endorsements aim to bring authoritative figures into the organization and have them associated with a product or a service. Typical example of this is for an organization to hire an individual who is considered an expert in their field and through the hire promote their services.


Reciprocation refers to the act of repaying a kind act with another kind act.

If I do something for you, you are more likely to do something for me in return.

Reciprocity is all about kindness, and the value of kindness has been known through the ages. Aesop, the famous ancient Greek storyteller writes:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”.

People tend to remember when someone was kind to them and offered them a hand of help. They tend to remember when someone offered them something (no matter the value) without a good reason and tend to take a mental note that they will repay the “favor” when they have the chance.


Commitment and Consistency play upon the individual’s need to present a stable attitude and follow through to their commitments. Most individuals will stick to a choice made (sometimes even if it’s the wrong one) and will try to fulfill all the commitments they made — especially if these commitments have been made in writing.

Here is where the concept of free trial is required. As a brand, offer free trials of your product or website. Give discounts and promotions, when you engage your customer at a zero cost, he or she is more likely to remain in the service and use it as a paying customer. Not if you are selling ‘indomie relish’ noodles, I won’t pay for it even if you give me for free.


The Scarcity principle is defined upon the notion of limited quantity. When something (a product, a quality) is available is limited quantities, it becomes far more desirable than when it can be found in abundant quantities. Although the Scarcity principle can be observed in multiple manifestations (art work, prime land spots, football transfers, etc.).

The fear of loss sometimes is a far better motivation than the desire to gain something. Wahala for limited offer. Offer available only today, only five items available, offer valid till 30th February.



adepeju adenuga

I love the power of stories, playing with words and my imagination to the rescue.