How long does it take to change someone’s mind?
A minute? Five minutes? A year?
The answer, of course – like so many answers to questions about people – is:
Yep, people are difficult like that, which is what makes ’em so fascinating.
In marketing, the size of the gap between A) getting your prospect’s attention and B) changing their mind (the moment when they take an action like clicking or buying) depends on a number of things.
In her new book ‘The Right Story – A Brief Guide To Changing The World’, storytelling advisor & business consultant Bernadette Jiwa talks about how we can close this gap:
The time between attention and action is what I call the Change Gap.
To close this gap, we must first build trust and then reinforce the opinions and beliefs of the audience we’re trying to reach.
We bridge the gap with connection and persuasion.”
So often we see marketers and businesses trying to bridge the Change Gap with persuasion alone, and they forget about (or ignore) the connection part.
This might work if they’re selling something completely life-or-death essential to their prospect at that moment… or if they’re selling something so obviously undervalued it’s perceived as ‘a steal’.
But without creating a genuine connection, it’s unlikely they’d sell to that same person again.
(Maaaaybe in the ‘it’s a steal’ instance…
People like a bargain, and often put their values and secondary needs aside to get that ‘bargain buzz’ hit again.
Like I said, peoples be difficult.)
So, what if you’re selling something that’s not ‘life or death essential’ or which is too expensive to be considered ‘a steal’ (like coaching or consulting services, for instance)?
That’s when you need to expand your powers of persuasion to include connection, and close what can appear to be a dauntingly wide Change Gap.
It starts with ATTENTION, but then TRUST becomes a key component.
Here’s Bernadette Jiwa again:
You can buy attention, but you can’t buy trust.
Trust is earned. Trust takes time. Trust is the enabler of connection and persuasion.”
That’s not to say you can’t earn your prospect’s trust in as little as five minutes. Of course you can – as long as you know what ‘trust triggers’ they’re looking for.
Testimonials, social proof, authority stamps, a clear demonstration your product or service does what you say it does…
You know they’ll be looking, so you setup your sales message to address those elements…
And you may make a sale in as little as a minute. Maybe even thousands of sales.
But consider that for many people, the things they’ll fork out more than a handful of change for in a matter of moments – such as concert tickets, a meal at a fancy restaurant, a place at a conference, a new car – have already done the work to close the change gap.
In 2018 I paid a few hundred bucks in consulting fees to someone I’d never met, and who didn’t even have a sales page setup for this service…
…BUT whose emails I’d read and enjoyed for around five years.
So it took time, but when the right offer arrived, presented simply and clearly, I knew it was right for me and signed up in a flash.
If I hear Springsteen is playing my town, I’ll grab a ticket the moment they go on sale.
It might cost me anywhere between $50 and $150, but I’ll buy my ticket without any persuading required from anyone, because Bruce – considerate guy that he is – has spent many years doing the connecting part before that product (the gig ticket) went on sale.
So how long did it take for that particular Change Gap to be closed?
Was it one minute, the time it took for me to hear about the show and leap into action?
Or was it actually much longer, going way back to 2001 when I first experienced my ‘Bruce Conversion’ listening to Nebraska on a battered old cassette Walkman while riding the rails across the US?
(Truth is, Bruce is such a trooper he’s been doing the connecting part since the late sixties, long before I was even born.
Now that’s dedicated salesmanship!)
The reason people are able to sell highly-priced products like holidays, conference packages and cars to ordinary folks who aren’t zillionaires and still have to count their own money is this:
Because the marketing for those high-ticket items addresses the Change Gap before selling takes place.
Time is spent building a brand that earns trust, and establishing a connection with a potential customer, before they start ‘selling’ directly to that person.
This work matters. As Bernadette Jiwa explains in ‘The Right Story’:
Our impatience leads us to tell the wrong story – we end up using tactics that feel inauthentic or desperate and that inevitably lose the people we hope to engage.”
I’m sure you’ve experienced that as a consumer at some point – whether it’s been a pushy salesperson or a laughable banner ad.
For biz-owners and marketers, it takes patience, but the process for establishing a connection with your best prospects is actually pretty simple:
Start by focusing on what’s unique about your personality, or your business.
Then demonstrate it to your ideal clients and customers in a way that gains attention AND builds trust.
Then, do it again. And again.
It doesn’t really matter how wide your Change Gap is…
As long as you know how to bridge it with persuasion AND connection.
That’s what I enjoy doing for biz-owners like you.
If you’re interested in learning more, I’m over here.