MOST sales people think selling is all about persuading the customers to buy. As a result, all their techniques or tactics are aimed at this outcome, which puts off the customer.

In contrast, the top 1 per cent of high-performing producers are more interested in how the human mind thinks and make decisions.

Over my years in learning about human behaviour, I created the MBA Influence methodology in human behaviour, which has three cornerstones in influential selling, also known as the three cornerstones of influence.


One decision pattern people use to help them make a decision without consciously knowing exactly what is going on in their mind is the past, present and future.

“Past customers” are those who base their decision on what had worked for them in the past and think it should work for them in the future.

“Present customers” base their decision on whether your solution can solve their problem now. “Future customers” are always looking for futuristic, exciting and future-ready solutions.

If you are selling to the “past customer”, you must integrate your solution into what has worked for him in the past, learn more about how the past solutions have evolved over the years and how they complement the past. If you do not know how your customer makes his decision unconsciously, your knowledge of your product or solution will not matter.


Buying a car in Singapore is a big-ticket purchase. Customers invest months into the process before they make up their mind, and some never reach a decision.

But if a new car purchase policy were announced, people would take action and commit to buying. In this scenario, the principle of scarcity wins the day. People want more of what they have less of.

The environment (in this case, the new policy) influenced the behaviour.

Be sure what behaviour you want from the customer. Is it to take advantage of the limited time offer or to establish a sustainable business relationship? Or are you more interested in giving your customer an opportunity to present his problems to you through power questioning?


If you can predict a customer’s habitual patterns when making decisions, you can leverage your knowledge to steer him towards your desired outcome. One habitual pattern is timing. There will always be a time when customers are not open to new solutions. For example, when it’s near the end of their accounting period, all purchases will usually be frozen. Or when a new chief executive officer comes onboard, the “purchasing mind” is closed as everything is uncertain. And when it comes to the yearly serious audit, they choose not to spend on anything that can be questioned.

Through the MBA Influence Model, you can understand what motivates people and predict an answer. When you can identify what positive behaviour you want customers to exhibit, you can influence their environment positively.

When you can decode customers’ habits in their decision-making process, you can predict their pattern. In the end, it is never about just your product or solution but influencing how people make their decisions and get them to say “yes” to you and not others.

Article by Joseph Wong, a behavioural transformation coach and the author of The Power Science Of Influence with Richard Gavriel Speaker Management. To contact him, e-mail