Here’s an easy read from 2007. With 75 bite-size sections only a handful of pages each, you can leisurely dive in and out of Microtrends. The book aims to show how counter intuitive trends eventually buck conventional wisdom. They manage this after reaching a magical tipping point of 1%. That is where their micro-movement includes 1 in a 100 people in a population. It then goes on to affect change.

One random example features the doom-mongers portent of social security collapse and imminent pension timebomb of an ageing populace. The microtrend is that elders are in fact opting to work for longer. Their health permits it, they enjoy the prolonged mental stimulus, and welcome the continued social interaction postponing retirement allows.

As a piece of pop-culture analysis grit your teeth through the American bias, and with its genesis in political polling, it’s open to the typical derisive dismissal hindsight meters out to most such predictive work. Nevertheless for the solution salesperson there are a couple of entertaining tangents.

Conventional Wisdom

Just about every successful seller in our sphere has little time for conventional wisdom. The authors share this view;

The tendency then is for conventional wisdom to be both very dogmatic and very wrong

How do you demolish the brick wall of such ‘wisdom’ when it stops you in your tracks? Promote individuality?

Microtrends reflects the human drive towards individuality, while conventional wisdom often seeks to drive society towards the lowest common denominator.

Tipping Point

Having read Malcolm Gladwell’s initial signpost on this concept, it’s fascinating to realise that only 1% of people are required to make a difference. How many people operate in the sector you’re in? Or work at the megalithic blue-chip client you account manage? Who does one percent represent?

In addition, whilst they promote you think of how to supply products to the microtrenders, they talk perhaps more excitedly of the opportunity in allowing that community to communicate.

Impressionable Elite

These five pages discuss the strange finding that the more educated you are, the less likely it is you choose a politician on the issues and policies. Instead, apparently, you decide on personality.

This has stark parallels with complex selling. For Elites, read C-Level execs. They are today so far removed from “mainstream” problems, they’ve developed a new term of reference. In other words, they no longer care for coal-face detail. Do not try and woo them with tech specs. Be the kind of person they like. Know the big picture and also introduce how other Elites work. They’ll love it. If you think about it, this trend is hardly new.

Long Attention Spans

This is the counter to the prevailing chorus to soundbite everything. As they write, “some people are on a totally different wavelength“.

An example used is how James Dyson goes into such extraordinary depth with long explanations of his vacuum cleaner technology.

Is there a way you too can capture these ‘long spanners’ with an infomercial style hour?

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.