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:
(We’re difficult like that, which is what makes us so fascinating.)
In marketing, the size of the gap between getting your prospect’s attention and changing their mind (the moment when they take an action like clicking or buying) depends on many things.
In her new book ‘The Right Story – A Brief Guide To Changing The World’, 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 gap with persuasion alone, and they forget about (or ignore) the connection part.
This might work if they’re selling something either 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 addressing the connection issue, it’s unlikely they’d sell to that same person again.
(Maaaaybe in the second 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 ‘essential’ or too expensive to be ‘a steal’?
That’s when you need to add the connection part to your powers of persuasion, to close what can look like a dauntingly wide Change Gap.
It starts with attention, but then trust becomes key.
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 – if 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 – like concert tickets, a fancy meal, a place at a conference, a new car – have already done the work to close the change gap.
Last year I paid a few hundred bucks in consulting fees to someone who I’d never met before, 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, 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 needed from anyone, because Bruce – nice 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 had my ‘Bruce Conversion’ listening to Nebraska on a battered old tape Walkman while riding the rails across the US?
(Truth is, Bruce is such a trooper he’s been doing the connecting part since around 1970, 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 folks who aren’t zillionaires and still 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.”
So it takes patience, but the process for establishing a connection with your best prospects is 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.
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’ll be spending the rest of this year doing for biz-owners like you.
If you’re interested in that, I’m over here.