Jedi Mind Tricks?

So, I’m going to geek this one up a bit. But, what I share today is very relevant to marketing. Please read on! I promise you won’t be disappointed. If you are, give me a call and I will take you to lunch on me!

Star Wars is my all-time favorite movie. I remember seeing it in the movie theater in 1977 as a nine-year-old. I also remember a scene that illustrates well my marketing point today. When Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker enter Mos Eisley in the Landspeeder (their “car”), they are stopped by Storm Troopers (the bad guys) who ask them how long they have owned the droids that are with them—R2D2 and C3PO.

Obi-Wan holds up his hand, points his fingers, moves his hand from side to side in a very confident and “Jedi-masterful way,” and says, “These are not the droids you are looking for.”

Then, the head Storm Trooper repeats almost word for word what Obi-Wan has said, “These are not the droids we are looking.” He then adds, “Move along! Move along!” dismissing Obi-Wan and Luke.

This iconic scene has been spoofed on numerous TV shows from shows like House, movies, commercials, and even to MTV music videos. I am so enamored with Obi-Wan and his ability that once in a while I will try this “Jedi Mind Trick” on my wife.

Yes, I will hold up my hand and wave it and say something to like, “This isn’t the laundry you want me to do,” or “These dishes don’t need to be cleaned by me.” Unfortunately, no matter how many times I try it, it never seems to work. I guess the force isn’t as strong with me as it is with Obi-Wan and Luke.

You may say, “Great story, Andy! But what does this have to do with marketing?” Indeed, a good question and I am glad you asked. What if you could figuratively wave your hand and get your prospects and customers to buy your product and/or service consistently? What I am saying is that if you market your products or services correctly, it is almost like you are using a “Jedi Mind Trick.” That truly would be one-heck-of-a feat, if possible, right? One that seems almost too good to be true.

But, hold your judgment for just a few more seconds before you conclude I’m high on crack and label me a nut case. Let me share with you an insight that will help you see that what I am suggesting is really not too far out there.

Here it is! (Unfortunately, as far as I know none of us has that ability to read minds. In many ways this is probably a good thing, I’m not sure that most of us are really ready to know what others truly think of us.) But, back to the subject at hand, my point is this: When a consumer has expressed interest in your product and/or service, someone who has never bought from you before, that person has only your marketing communications and materials—what you say about yourself and your product—on which to base a decision to buy or not to buy from you. The consumer looks at your marketing to see if you are credible—if you actually walk your talk.

If, for some reason you are inconsistent with your marketing—for instance, if one week you are in contact with them and then three weeks go by before they hear from you again–, then what is the consumer left to think? Most likely they will make the assumption that you do not really want their business, or worse, they might simply think that you are not good at what you do.

Remember once again, nobody out there can read minds or the intentions of others. We are all left to judge others based on what we see them do and, of course, on what they don’t do.

It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if you aren’t consistent. You can be the best chiropractor out there. You can make the most healthy and best tasting food at your restaurant. You can have the best business signs in town. But, if the consumer doesn’t receive a consistent, compelling message about what you do and how good you are at it, you become the best kept secret in town. And, the consumer is left wondering if it is smart to even do business with you. Sorry, these are just the hard cold facts.

In Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, he writes much about how the human mind seeks to see commitment and consistency in others. (It is an amazing read. I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand better how marketing can impact the consumer. The book is truly full of “Jedi Mind Tricks”). On pages 70-85 of the book, Mr. Cialdini writes about how American prisoners during the Korean War became very comfortable and actually embraced many communist ideals after receiving consistent pro-communist messaging (If that isn’t a “Jedi Mind Trick”–someone being held against their will eventually embracing the ideology of their captors–I don’t know what is).

Whether “fair or unfair,” the how and why consumers make the decisions they make is irrelevant. What is relevant is…Are we being consistent with our marketing messages? Do we consistently let the consumer know why we do what we do? And how we do it?

The best of all “Jedi Mind Tricks,” is to consistently let the consumer know that you are ready to solve their problems! That you are there to help them live a better life! That you can indeed be trusted and you know exactly what you are doing!

This world holds no mind readers, nor does it hold any kind of marketing Jedi-master who can simply wave his hand and get the consumer to buy. The solution to getting consumers to buy your product and/or service lies in being consistent with your marketing. Consistency leads to credibility. Consistently disseminating a marketing message over time is the only “Jedi Mind Trick” that I know works.

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