STOP – Pattern Interrupt

So I’m in the city today, Sydney city that is. I saw a great marketing trick, that I just had to share with you.

Todays little marketing trick is as old as the hills, and just the like hills.. It’s not going anywhere.

I’m in the city today, like I said. Here to spend the better part of tomorrow day with a client in the travel industry. We do some work with them, helping them get customers who want to take an overseas trip as part of an entire holiday package.

However, that’s not what this episode is about. It is extremely cool though. I think only people with a real marketing and sales background will appreciate this as much as I do.

What I saw today when in the city was a cunning stroke of sales genius. You might call it manipulative and it kind of is.. But it was all done just and only to start a conversation.

Here’s a backstory to this, when I was going through UNI (or “college” for those of you listening from outside of Australia) I had lots of jobs. About 12 or so. Some were just 3 weeks labouring on a building site, there was a stint in fruit shop and also a restaurant. But probably my favorite job, well…the one that gave me the best experience was my direct sales job.

Have you ever had someone knock on your front door of your house and ask if you wanted to change electricity providers, or phone plans? I bet you probably have. I did THAT job.

Let me tell you that it was the best experience anyone fresh out of high school could do. And not from just a ‘learning to make sales’ point of view, that’s extremely important of course. But also for anyone who wants to run their own business.

The biggest thing I got from ‘door knocking’ as it’s called, is the ability to start and pick up a conversation with absolutely anyone. That is a great skill to learn BEFORE starting a career.

Door knocking also helps to develop a very thick skin, which is of course probably the most important weapon you can have. And it seems like it’s a trait that’s getting less and less developed over recent years.

Anyway, in direct sales you quickly learn that simply just starting a conversation is the quickest way to move towards making a sale. And that conversation doesn’t even need to be about what you’re selling!

Simple Examples:
a) “Great weather today.”
b) “Have you seen that new movie?”

And so on.

I assume that you’ve been on the street, or in a shopping centre and you have to walk past them salespeople who are in the middle of the the walk way, they are standing up straight. Looking at you, smiling (they are always very happy). And they are always carrying a clipboard.

Of course with all the smiling and waving, they are trying to get your attention so they can start a conversation and sell you something.

Over the last 10 or so years the ‘conversation starters’ they’ve been using, have been getting better and better. And I’m sure it was done decades earlier because nothing is new – but the “trick” of using conversation starters does seems to be getting more mainstream now.

These are what I and thousands of others call ‘Pattern Interrupts’. Pattern Interrupts are gold. You have to be using pattern interrupts in your business.

A few years ago, I was walking through a shopping centre. I think it was Westfield in Chatswood, Sydney. I saw one of these people up ahead, but they never phase me so I kept walking, I was busy sending someone a message on my phone as I was walking along.

As I got closer to the girl who was the sales person, she leant in and pretended to look at my phone and said:

Are you sending me a message?

I quickly said “no”, and kept walking.

But I thought to myself: “that’s a good one!

50 metres up the road I passed another group of the same sales agents. I think it was something to do with the Greens, or something to do with the environment. I remember they were all wearing bright green anyway, so that’s kind of a give-away.

So as I approached the next group, it was a guy this time and he quickly says

hey man, where did you get them shoes!?” – as if he wanted to go out and buy some.

Have you ever had someone try and stop you like this? With one of these pattern interrupts or ‘one liners’, or whatever it is you want to call them?

Actually, who has had the best Pattern Interrupt pulled on them? Or who has seen, used, or who HAS the best pattern interrupt?  Leave a comment down the bottom with the best one liner, or pattern interrupt you’ve heard.

It’s kind of like a pick up line, but for sales.

The guy that said “hey nice shoes”, worked for the same company as the “are you sending me a text girl”. I knew straight away that they had some good training before they went out onto the field to make some sales.
So today, I saw a new one that I think is my favorite so far. And some of you listening to this will say “noooo, she didn’t do that on purpose”.

But I’ll tell you, nothing in a good sales process happens by accident.

I arrived in the city a day early. My wife came with me. Usually we book an extra night or two and make a midweek weekend out of it. We go to our favorite cafes, restaurants, get some good food, etc, etc..

My wife and I had walked past this sales group earlier. Just on George Street near the Town Hall train station. I was watching them when I walked past the first time. And then on the way back we had to walk directly past them.

Here it comes, you ready? The best pattern interrupt I’ve seen in a while. So subtle, it was almost beautiful. It was a sales and marketing trick, pattern interrupt work of art.

As we approached the sales rep on the street, she turned around. As she spun around to walk the other way, she ‘dropped something’… and THERE WE, HAVE IT!

She dropped a cardboard something. It looked a holder, something you would put a bunch of papers or leaflets in.

And then she continued to very slowly walk the other way.

This is really genius. I loved it.

A couple of times, I just noticed that she turned her head and peaked out the corner of her eye to see if we had, or someone else had picked it up for her.

Because as soon someone picks it up and gives it to her, she has started a conversation. I should’ve stuck around to watch it all unfold but it was hot and we were walking back to the hotel.

But I can just imagine…

“Oh my god! Thank you so much, I’m so silly. What’s your name? I should give you something, here have a lolly..”.  Or whatever, right?

See what’s going on here?

Maybe she said: “oh my god, thank you so much. I’m so silly.. What’s your name? And then holds out her hand shakes it and doesn’t let go.”

Maybe she gave the person a big hug, and didn’t let go of their arm.

It was so great. I watched the folder thing drop to the ground, it fell off what she was carrying. She kept turning around as if she didn’t notice and walked the other way. A stroke of pattern interrupt genius.

In today’s day age, it’s 2018 now. The hardest thing to do is to get someone attention. That’s the hardest thing to do.

Once you have their attention, everything is just a little bit easier.

That’s why in marketing it’s called a Pattern Interrupt. The marketing is trying to interrupt the person from their usual walking along in la la land.

We see so many advertisements, and marketing messages that we’ve developed what’s called ‘ad blindness’. We don’t even notice or take in 98% of the ads that are all around us. On bus stops, on TV and on our phones.

What’s the very first thing you need to do, if you want to sell someone something? You have to get their attention.

Yes, it only takes 1 millisecond to get someone’s attention. But, is it possible to NOT get someone’s attention and still have them buy your product? Or to hire you? No, it’s not.

Instead of saying “hey how are you?”… and having the person just walk straight past, these direct sales agents on the street are using an actual pattern interrupt.

Because “hey how are you?” is not really a pattern interrupt is it? Not in 2018 anyway.
But “where did you buy them shoes?” – that’s a better way to stop someone in their tracks and to respond to you.

WHERE you take the conversation from there, and how well you manage the conversation to turn it towards what you’re selling is up to you. That part of this sales process is really a conversation for another day.

There are pattern interrupts all around you. Every headline you read in a newspaper or a magazine is a pattern interrupt in itself.

Perfect example: “Angeline SHOCKS UnExpecting Crowd” .

There are effective and non effective pattern interrupts. As you can imagine, any business owner who CAN stop people in their tracks more often than not.. Will make more sales.

Another important and powerful element of a good pattern interrupt, is that it can HALVE your advertising costs.

If you can get 50 people to listen to, or to read your Ad by using a good pattern interrupt that makes them sit up and take notice, rather than just 25 people (for example). You’ve doubled your return on that ad.

If you are advertising on Facebook, a good pattern interrupt can reduce the cost per click result that you’ll be charged by Facebook to run your Ad. I have reduced ad costs by 200% and 300% and more. What used to cost $2, now costs $0.70c.

Alright! That’s it I’ll leave you there. I hope you got something out of this and I hope you start to think about what pattern interrupts YOU can use across your marketing and sales process.

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