The Difficulty of Changing People’s Minds

Changing a mind is one of the hardest things to do.

When you are thinking about buying something, how long do you deliberate? Unless there is an emergency and you need something now, like an electric generator during a hurricane blackout, you will likely take a while to work through the decision to buy.

The truth is that a mind is an extremely difficult thing to change. Once we believe something, it is hard to move off of that position without a crisis or something emotionally compelling.

We live in a world where we have abundance and anything we want is accessible to us if we need it. We have too much, not too little. We likely have something that works adequately now. The new shiny items that we desire may be something better in their own right, but we have to overcome the emotion of changing what we are already using or doing. That is one of the largest competitive factors a marketer has to deal with.

My Food is Cool Enough

An example of an item on my buying list, among many, is my refrigerator. It is a stainless steel top of the line item I bought for a few thousand dollars several years ago. Its job is to keep my food cold and give me ice when I want it. It does its job very well.

I have had the repair guy out a couple of times because the logic board malfunctioned and the controls had to be altered. After the costly repairs about a year ago, everything works without much drama.

I think about refrigerator technology when I visit Home Depot every so often and the new functionality and designs would be fun to have, but not necessary. I even read over a few of the features – bottom freezers for easy top access, better water filtration systems, new shelf designs for easy back access.

The competition looked similar to each other. This is the luxury we enjoy as consumers. We get to watch the innovative ones duke it out, copy each other and work hard at getting our attention and dollars. The bigger competition that each of them has is my entrenched status. What I have works good enough. I have an option in place already.

Finding the Tipping Point for Buying

Where is that tipping point for me to consider swapping out my fridge for the new state of the art? I, like many people, am not ready to buy yet. If Whirlpool invited me into a program where I could learn about effective freezing, ergonomics involved with lower level freezers or how vegetables can stay longer with their technologies, I would be interested in engaging. It’s not selling at that point. They are simply educating and inviting me to understand how their industry works.

Of course, this would take work to put systems and content together. But the value would be that my mind would start changing. I would look at them as the authority in their industry the more content I read from them. They would have my attention and I would be eager to learn.

It is what I am doing on several fronts. There are buying decisions I have not made yet, but I am slowly making as my mind is being changed about foregoing the status quo for the next innovation. I have a friend that shared a link for How to Choose the Best Backpacking Tent and I have devoured it because I am thinking of upgrading one of my tents. I am not there yet as far as making the purchase, but I am on my way.

There’s a tipping point coming with deals that are happening for REI members on backpacking gear this month. I don’t need the tent, but my mind has shifted from where it was. My curiosity has been fed from all the wonderful content that helps me see the flaws of my current tent and the benefits of newer gear.

How You are Perceived

When a buyer is ready, they will buy because they reached that tipping point of wanting what they don’t have more than the status quo. So at that point, who do they go with? Imagine if you are absent during their whole research process. In their minds, you are not an authority. You are a commodity if you do show up on their radar at all.

Their perception will change if you make it into their mind and help change it gently and with authority. This does not mean having content with bias. It means knowing what you are talking about and offering value in the form of information, use cases, education, decision matrices and an overall way to assess your specific industry. It is trust building and it happens much of the time without your face-to-face privilege.

In a lot of ways, your pipeline is unseen. Your buyers are researching and finding out what will work for their lives far before the sale happens.

This is why it is important to be there before they show up on your sales radar. Become a valuable resource to your customers and work hard to create positioning in a buyer’s mind. In the process, they will be changing their minds themselves as you validate what they are looking for and deciding for themselves. It is about engaging and influencing people that start buying with seeds of thoughts that you nurture and fertilize with your own expertise.

What if you were able to connect with people far before the sale? How would you change their minds?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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