Pattern Interrupt Marketing


Let’s call it the “Hunh?!” effect.

Call it whatever you like, introducing a “pattern interrupt” in your marketing can grab attention like a two-headed tiger in a china shop.

See, here’s the thing about selling… First, you need to get your prospect’s attention. Only then can you deliver your message with any real hope it will be received and hit the mark.

We all live by habit and expectation. Change one, and we are off guard long enough to pay attention. We have no choice – our brains are wired that way – if something is not comprehended, your brain immediately goes to work trying to make sense out of it. This was very useful to our ancestors when a crittur with fangs and claws suddenly appeared on the trail.

There are countless examples, but here are 3:

Case #1 – Smashing the Glass

When shatterproof safety glass was first introduced to the market, one Corning Glass rep stood out far above all the rest in sheer volume of sales. What he did was he’d walk into his prospect’s office with a piece of the new glass and a ball peen hammer and say, “Have you ever seen glass that doesn’t shatter?” Then he’d put the glass down on a desk and smash it with a ball peen hammer.

Once the frightened prospect opened his eyes and saw it hadn’t split into smithereens, he was instantly sold.

Case #2 – The Car Lot Star

When you walk into a car lot, or any retail store for that matter, what’s the typical conversation between sales professional and prospect? “Hi, may I help you?” “No thanks, I’m just looking.” Right?

A young rep in Austin, Texas named Ryan Reitmeyer however was selling cars like nobody’s business. Here’s how his conversations started:

“Hi, have you been here before?”

The prospect is thrown completely off guard and has to pay attention long enough to think of what to say. They are now engaged. From there the questions simply connect with the prospect’s deeper desire – which at the moment is not to buy a car, but to take care of their transportation needs and get back to more fun things than shopping for a car, an activity most consider only slightly more fun than a root canal or tax audit. *

Case #3 – Ugly Video

John Benson was obsessed with producing elaborate sales videos to sell his weight loss products. It would take hours and hours to produce a 20 minute video featuring himself and lots of whizbang stuff to move product with.

Then one day, he hadn’t shaved and just wanted get it done, so just put his script up on slides one phrase at a time, just black and white, as stupid simple as can be.

Result? Conversions shot up over 600% and the “Video Sales Letter” was born. His viewers just weren’t expecting it and had to watch because the disorientation their brain was experiencing compelled them to pay attention. In the meantime, the sales message gets through.

There’s a lot more psychology to why “ugly” video sales letters get such high response rates, but especially when they first came out, one reason was the pattern interrupt.

Okay, that’s all very entertaining, but how can you put that to work to boost sales in your business?

Before you do another thing, jot down 3 ways you could interrupt the normal flow of your selling process that might get your message more attention. Here’s a hint – sidle up to other messages being delivered by your competiton and either outperform them outrageously or parody them. That will get you noticed.

You have a great message – don’t let it go to waste! Interrupt, deliver your benefit to more of the people you serve and watch your profits soar!


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