Friday, June 21, 2013

The Lazy Reader

Henry Ford once said, "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it." Henry was ahead of his time. Modern scientific studies have found that human beings naturally try to keep their thinking to a minimum. We seek "Cognitive Ease" because as Mr. Ford had guessed, thinking is the hardest work we do. Though it only makes up about 2% of our body mass, the brain consumes up to 20% of the energy used by our bodies. Because of this disproportionate use of resources, we have evolved strategies to conserve energy and limit our processing of information. This is why it is so important to make sales presentations and ads simple and easy to understand.

Using laser technology researchers can precisely track where a reader is looking on a page. These studies have shown that readers will skip over an ad that is crowded or too complex. Readers prefer an ad that is easy to follow and clearly offers them a benefit. The same is true of a sales presentation. FMRI studies, which track brain activity, show that most people  "zone out" when presented with too many facts or if the presenter is too hard to follow. Salespeople who present only one or two ideas at a time and who use analogies and other tools to help the prospect understand their message will be far more successful than someone who buries them in information. In presentations, more is certainly less.   

Obviously we need to get our customers thinking about our products. The best way to do this is stay completely focused on the customer's needs and desires. If we can use simple presentations to demonstrate how our products can help the customer, they will be more than willing to invest the energy required to consider our proposals.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post or found it useful please feel free to pass it along.

Jim B.

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