Aligning Your Sales Story With Customer Worldview

What is the worldview of your customers and prospects, and why is it important in marketing and sales? Your customer’s values, beliefs and biases have shaped their thinking — thinking that is unlikely to be changed, no matter the facts.

What is the worldview of your customers and prospects, and why is it important in marketing and sales? Your customers’ values, beliefs and biases have shaped their thinking — thinking that is unlikely to be changed, no matter the facts.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “worldview” lately, prompted by reading Seth Godin’s book, “All Marketers are Liars.”

Today I’ll share a few quotes from his book that I think are instructional to help you understand why you must reinforce what your customer already believes. Your prospects and customers seek out stories that reinforce a point-of-view that they identify with.

The premise of Godin’s book is that stories move people to action. I concur. Stories transform marketing positioning and messaging and create stronger memory and recall. People seek out stories that reinforce their worldview, even if the facts aren’t accurate. Nearly a year ago I wrote about the science of opinions and why facts don’t matter (read it here).

Godin writes that “worldview is the term I use to refer to the rules, values, beliefs and biases that an individual consumer brings to a situation. A worldview is not who you are. It’s what you believe. It’s your biases. A worldview is not forever. It’s what the consumer believes right now.”

Here are several thought-provoking quotes from Godin’s book:

This on why stories should agree with your customer’s worldview:

Great stories agree with our worldview. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.

This on why you shouldn’t try to change someone’s worldview (even if the facts and data reveal they are wrong):

Don’t try to change someone’s worldview is the strategy most smart marketers follow. Don’t try to use facts to prove your case and to insist that people change their biases. You don’t have enough time and you don’t have enough money. Instead, identify a population with a certain worldview, frame your story in terms of the worldview and you win.

This, on preconceived worldviews:

Worldviews are the reason that two intelligent people can look at the same data and walk away with completely different conclusions—it’s not that they didn’t have access to the data or that they have poor reasoning skill, it’s simply that they had already put themselves into a particular worldview before you even asked the question.

Finally:

Every consumer has a worldview that affects the product you want to sell. That worldview alters the way they interpret everything you say and do. Frame your story in terms of that worldview, and it will be heard.

In a time when opinions are strong, and consensus and compromise are elusive, remember that facts often don’t matter, and your prospects and customers engage and buy from (or donate to) organizations that align with their worldview.

Read more about the science of why facts don’t matter in Crack the Customer Mind Code, available from the DirectMarketingIQ Bookstore. Or download my free seven-step guide to help you align your messaging with the worldview of your prospective buyer. It’s titled When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.

5 Copy Approaches to Influence Gut Reaction

Call it a gut reaction, but oftentimes our prospects and customers make decisions and respond based on intuition, a hunch, or professional judgment. In direct response, we want quick action. We know if the prospect drifts away from our message we’ll lose them, usually forever. So while the logic and quantification of your sales story may be overwhelmingly in your favor, it can be intuition that turns the prospect away because

 

Call it a gut reaction, but oftentimes our prospects and customers make decisions and respond based on intuition, a hunch or professional judgment. In direct response, we want quick action. We know if the prospect drifts away from our message, we’ll lose them, usually forever. So while the logic and quantification of your sales story may be overwhelmingly in your favor, it can be intuition that turns the prospect away because of something that felt too good to be true, leaves room for skepticism, or an unintended nuance in copy that you overlooked and loses the sale for you.

Even if all the arguments you’ve made in your content are authentically and credibly in your favor, a person’s gut decision often prevails.

And here’s what is frustrating: Studies suggest that often a person’s gut reaction is wrong because it’s subject to bias. Your prospect might overestimate his or her ability to assemble a product, for example. Or may think it takes too much time to read your information, learning materials or book. Perhaps when your prospect has made a mistake related to what you’re selling, he or she doesn’t understand why, or is hesitant to ask for help or feedback. And she or he forgets. That is, customers forget the last time they made a poor decision based on their gut instead of listening to logic.

How do you overcome gut emotion and reaction? You have to help your prospective customers or donors through the decision making process. Do it with these ideas:

  1. Lead your prospect to a sense of revelation. That happens when the obvious in your conscious mind finally learns something that your subconscious mind already knew. Ask yourself: When are you most creative (what you might consider right brain thinking)? For most people, it’s when we are exercising, walking, jogging, listening to music, in the shower, or in an unfamiliar environment. Some of my best ideas have struck me while on vacation, when my mind is suspended from the consciousness of day-to-day responsibilities. Lead your prospect to an awakening.
  2. Give ’em chills. A reaction inside the mind often is accompanied by a physical sensation. It could be chills or goosebumps. For some people, it may be an unusual feeling in the stomach or throat. You can create these physical sensations when copy is accompanied by strong visuals that paint a picture. Music is another way to stimulate a physical reaction. While you can’t pipe in music to printed material, you can use music in video or on your website.
  3. Past experience recall. Your brain’s hippocampus stores long-term memory. Long-term memories are with you for your entire life, unless something comes along to pave new grooves and create a new memory. You aren’t likely to replace past long-term memories, but you do have the opportunity to create another memory that neutralizes a bad memory, or enhance a good memory. Creating new memory is harder to do than drawing on a past memory. When you can, allow your content to take your prospect to a positive place, or hit a negative memory head-on with something so strong you can overcome the negativity.
  4. Challenge the perceptual rules made up in the mind. For some people, changing an ingrained rule is impossible, even if it’s wrong. If when a person can’t articulate why the rule exists, you may be able to use an overwhelming amount of empirical data or statistics from credible third party sources to turn around a rules-based individual. But don’t count on it.
  5. Recognize Patterns and Cross-Index. Help your prospect see something familiar to engage intuitive skills. The more material about your product or service that you can provide to cross-index in the mind, the higher likelihood your prospect’s intuition will kick in on a positive note for you.

You won’t always be able to prevail over intuition or gut reaction, but when you anticipate that probability in your copy, you can turnaround a potential lost sale.