Understanding the Nature of Epiphanies

So, you want to build interest in your new idea, book, company, etc. In the current hail of media and electronic devices and distractions, that's a tall order.

But, it is doable. It happens every day. People change their minds, they get on board, they fall in love, they start listening in a different way to what they are hearing. Epiphanies happen, and when they do, you can almost hear the heavenly music playing.

For people to have an epiphany, they need 3 things: They need information; they need time to process that information; and they need to trust the messenger. Too often we want people to decide NOW, and that is not very likely in most cases.

I first learned about epiphanies when I was a boy. We belonged to a Baptist Church in Houston and on Tuesday nights we would go out into the neighborhoods near our church and knock on doors and invite people to Sunday morning services. It was called 'Visitation', and we were out there every Tuesday.

Even at that tender age, I was fascinated by the range of responses we would get to those efforts. Sometimes, people would slam the door in our faces and tell us to get lost. Sometimes they would ask what time church started on Sunday morning and then, sure enough, they'd be there with their families. And, there were all kinds of responses in between those two extremes. Why?

My contention is that those responses had almost nothing to do with us being there and everything to do with what happened BEFORE WE GOT THERE -- life experiences, information gathered, etc. When it worked, it was because we happened to be there at the right time.

Here's the lesson I learned -- epiphanies happen when they happen. You can't make them happen. You can just provide information, time and trust until they do.

The implications for marketing are myriad. Everything you do as a marketer should be to start as many conversations as possible. That's where people learn to trust you and where they gather information about why what you're doing matters so.

Things and ideas are sold in a dialogue. Paradigms move in a dialogue. I have never sold anything or changed anyone's mind in a monologue. Never.

If this is true, then take a few minutes and think about how your version of 'Visitation' is going. Put this template down over everything you are doing-your website, your messages, your tools you use every day to connect with people and 'speak' with them.

Then, when you have opened up the avenues so that it is easy for people to have their conversations with you, be patient. Keep conversing. Keep dialoguing, and one day, something great will happen. You'll see that your neighbor has shown up at your 'church' right on time and they'll be ready (even eager) to listen.

Dennis Welch is the author of "So...what are you saying?" which tells a few success stories about how to connect with your target audience and have a meaningful dialogue with them. Here is a link to him speaking on the topic