Information can be objectively true but have no relevance to you personally.
This is the difference between objective reality and perceptual reality.
The opposite is true, as well.
You can perceive a person to be beautiful when that person is objectively average. You can also perceive information to be important when in truth, it is not.
But in perceptual reality, that person is beautiful.
In perceptual reality, the information is important.
Objective facts do not win the heart and mind. The magic that creates perceptual reality – personal truth – is relevance.
Relevance is a happy shout of Yes to the question, “Do I care?”
Just because a thing is true doesn’t mean we have to care.
The first time I taught publicly about perceptual reality was in 1994 when I was invited to speak to 1,500 jewelers in London at the 400th Anniversary Celebration of the Goldsmiths of the United Kingdom. Afterwards, Pennie and I were whisked away to the world headquarters of DeBeers to meet with Roger Van Egan, their director of marketing.
DeBeers wanted to know why my small handful of jewelry clients were selling 20 times more diamonds than the average American jeweler.
My answer, in a word, was “relevance.”
On date nights, my jewelers were on the radio speaking to couples in cars.
“The Christmas season is a GREAT time to get engaged. She’s going to want to show her new engagement ring to everyone she cares about, and most of those people are going to be conveniently gathered together at Christmastime. If you show up at the Christmas party of your girlfriend’s parents and she is NOT wearing an engagement ring, you get to listen to Great Aunt Gertrude talk all night long about her recent gallstone operation. But if your girlfriend IS wearing an engagement ring, the only thing Aunt Gertrude will want to know is whether you’d like another piece of pie before, or after you ride Cousin Larry’s new motorcycle. One more thing: the day she starts wearing your engagement ring is the day her Mom quits calling you “What’s-his-name.”
“But your ad didn’t say anything about why he should buy an engagement ring from your client! You said only that he should buy an engagement ring!”
Au contraire, mon frère. That ad made my jeweler fun, approachable, and most importantly, NOT SCARY.
But when courtship mode has run its course and the honeymoon is over, men who believe “actions speak louder than words,” tend to be poor communicators.
Seeds of doubt, disillusionment and divorce are planted when a woman thinks, “This is not the man I married. He doesn’t love me anymore.”
“Ladies, many of you will be fortunate enough this Christmas to find a small, but beautifully wrapped package under your tree bearing a simple gold seal that says Schiffman’s. Now you and I both know there’s jewelry in the box. But the man who put it there for you is trying desperately to tell you that you are more precious than diamonds, more valuable than gold, and very, very special. You see, he could have gone to a department store and bought department store jewelry or picked up something at the mall like all the other husbands. But the men who come to Schiffman’s aren’t trying to get off cheap or easy. Men who come to Schiffman’s believe their wives deserve the best. And whether they spend 99 dollars or 99 thousand, the message is the same: men who come to Schiffman’s are still very much in love… We just thought you should know.” [Hard stop. No location tag.]
That ad on the radio said to men, “Buy a diamond from Schiffman’s and she’ll know that – unlike “other guys” – you are still very much in love. Now won’t THAT be grand!”
Jewelers today are intently focused on reaching engagement ring customers because there are slightly more than 2 million weddings in the US each year.
But there are currently 62.34 million married couples. Do the math. I did. And I quickly came to the conclusion that the jewelry business needed an objective way to categorize a diamond as an “Anniversary Diamond.”
So I made one up.
“You gave her an engagement ring at the beginning of your journey. You’ve come a long way together. Now it’s time to give her a big Anniversary Diamond.”
“What’s an Anniversary Diamond?”
“It’s a diamond that’s at least twice as big as the one in her engagement ring.”
“Why twice as big?”
“Because that’s how you say, ‘I love you twice as much today as the day I married you.'”
Do you remember what I said about relevance? If Mister “actions speak louder than words,” still loves her but can’t find the words to tell her, I’m confident he can still find his way to the jewelry store.
She wins, He wins, the jeweler wins, and I win.
The first rule of persuasion is this: you cannot take a person where you want them to go until you first meet them where they are.
When you enter the perceptual reality of the customer, you meet them where they are.
Now all you have to do is speak to the felt need – something that they already care about – and support your position with an objective fact.
Objective facts are always delighted to support you.
“Win the heart and the mind will follow.
The intellect can easily create logic to support
what the heart has already decided.”
Roy H. Williams
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