January 27, 2016


As I write this, I am sitting on my couch watching the heavy rain fall down on the window, listening to the pitter-patter. It seems to add to the atmosphere of the movie I’m watching: “The Godfather”. It is dark and it is gloomy, reflecting the conversation Michael Corleone is having with Tom Hagen that hits me between the eyes. There are many ways to learn and gain insights into human behaviour and this movie has it in spades. The comment Michael said cleared up two areas people struggle with throughout their lives, in relationships, at work as a boss, a sales person, a person that needs to influence people to understand their way of thinking. Let me ask you some questions:

  • How many times have you had to ask your kids to clean up their rooms?

  • How many times have you spoken to your sales people to do their paperwork correctly?

  • How many times have you sold to people who were (simply) a pain to deal with?

I’m relaying here the sequence where Michael Corleone is talking to Tom Hagen about a situation where the other families are plotting to assassinate him.


Michael gives a lesson in understanding human behaviour to Hagen and tells him, that his father taught one valuable lesson: that the people working for him, even though they were killers, were business men, who made business decisions on what was best for them. So don’t expect loyalty.

The great line from the movie was “always think like the people you are around… Once you do that, the possibilities are endless.”

How many times, when you are in a selling situation, do you lose your perspective and it costs you money? The key to influence is to think like the person you are planning to influence, what are their drivers, their wishes and desires, the things they keep secret from you, maybe from their partners because… you really haven’t understood that persuasion and influence only happens when you understand the person and start to read the sub text behind what they are saying. What are they not saying? What people say and mean are often totally different things. I am sure you have experienced this at some stage at home, at work and definitely from people you sell to.

The author is a specialist in studying human behaviour and training sales people.

January 27, 2016


I am a student of human behaviour and I specialise in understanding human decision making. Being a keen observer of human behaviour, specifically how people interact with each other, I find that coffee shops are great places to observe the interactions between the staff and customers coming in to buy coffee and food.

One of the things that many retail staff don't seem to understand is that they are actually in a very strong position to influence the customer on what to buy and how much to spend. There are a number of possible reasons this occurs:

  1. They may not have the training

  2. They don't care, or

  3. "It's just a job" attitude

They often feel the customer is in charge. The customer asks them for a coffee, say a latte, and they go and make it. They hope the display of biscuits and cakes will stimulate the person to buy that as well. At this particular coffee shop, I sat there observing this interaction and noticed that hardly any customers bought anything additional but what struck me as strange was that they weren't asked to buy anything more than they came in for! The lesson here is simple.

If you don't ask you don't get.

Think about your own purchases, how often have you said that you were only going to spend a certain amount of money but then walked out of the place having spent more and in fact enjoyed the process of doing that as well?

It's about asking questions. It's what McDonalds do very well. "Would you like fries with that?" This one little question adds an extra 20% to the bottom line. Go to a McDonald's store and see how many people buy the meal of extras. When you have a captive audience, realise the power you have on the situation to influence buyer behaviour.

Chance favours the brave. At the most all a prospect can say is "NO".

January 11, 2016


I was in my car with my 18 year old son and we both noticed a road sign, you know, the ones giving you directions or advising you that there is a delay up ahead. This sign was very different in that the message was clear and easy to understand.

Plan your trip, manage your future

Very succinct, very direct. Quite opportune as well since it is the holiday season in Australia and many families are on the road, going to their holiday destinations. The curious thing about this is, how many people actually spend enough time planning their holidays versus their business lives?

Let us take a simple example. Planning a driving holiday:

Some of the things we do prior to starting our journey are:

  • Research about the destination

  • Read reviews about the accommodation

  • How long it will take to get there

  • Plan for any contingencies

  • Work out how much money we need

  • What we are going to do and

  • When will we be coming back?

Just like planning a short holiday, we need to plan how to achieve our goals. I just ran a workshop on the Psychology of Goal setting for some of the top real estate agents in the country and what was evident was the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.

What are some ways to understand what the gaps are?

  •  Start to examine the shortcomings in your planning

  • Examine everything you do on a daily basis, write it down

  • Examine where you spend your time, what activities or actions you do on a daily basis

  • Do these actions hinder or help you to achieve your goals or outcomes?

If you were planning on losing weight or wanting to get fitter, you would be writing down everything you eat and the amount of calories you consume on a daily basis versus how many calories you burn. The lesson here is simple; you need to write down a plan of the end goal or outcome first, then work a plan or steps that will get you there. Too many people make the mistake of trying to think of all the actions they need to take to get to the goal. You just end up either getting confused or irritated and lose interest fast.

All you need are a few simple steps. To give you an example, we were planning to take my son for a tennis tournament in Newcastle. Here was our plan:

  • What do we want? - Comfortable place, 2 bedrooms, cooking facilities, in Newcastle, close to the tennis courts

  • What needs to be done? - Book accommodation, research places to match our needs, i.e. shops, eating places, handy to beach, washing facilities, etc. Bonus if they have a pool and gym.

  • When do we travel? - Leave on Jan 16th and return on Jan 21st.

  • How much money do we need: $ XX

Now I know this is a simple plan, but if you keep the plan simple, most goals don’t become mountains either, just aim for small steps that get you to your destination.

  • Think about what you need to do to get you closer towards your goal/s.

  • Plan what you are going to do on a daily basis, all the important actions that will get you there.

What is the secret to getting your goals?

Just think about my road trip to Newcastle. Do you think other people have taken the same steps as me to get to Newcastle or any other road trip with their families?

If you answered YES, you are right. Similarly, getting success is not reserved for special people, it is for everyone. It can be as simple as my road trip to Newcastle. The only people who won’t achieve success are the people who do nothing.

Just like the person who prays to God every night, wishing to win the lottery; and finally God responds by telling him, “I can help you get the winning ticket, BUT you got to buy the ticket first”!

You see, achieving your goals is a series of doing the right actions. Know your Goalbefore you start taking any actions and then PREPLAN your actions.

There is only ONE variable here; TIME!

If I had a faster car I probably could have got to Newcastle faster, but did that matter to me? No, I wanted to enjoy the journey with my family. It might matter to you; everyone’s needs are different. So don’t judge, don’t compare yourself to other people; there are too many variables you can’t control. The only things you can control are your thoughts and your actions.