Since We're All Goldfish Now Salespeople Must Become More Hummingbird

Sport, dead celebrities, mobile gaming.

Items that dominate Google UK’s supposed out-of-the-ordinary ‘most searched for’ ought not truly surprise.

Indebted to the always entertaining Harry Wallop I learn these are not in fact the actual most queried. Perhaps a relief, as the real weighty volumes are less easily broadcastable.

Prevalent among these are the rise in “how to” searches. So much so, that Google have crafted a tech they call ‘hummingbird’ around them.

It now places an answer box at the top of your results page.

They call it the “featured snippet”.

In part this builds on what recent Canadian Microsoft media research found. An incredible reduction in our attention span between 2000 and 2015. It slashed by a third, from 12 to 8 seconds. Invoking memorable headlines;

You Now Have A Shorter Attention Span Than A Goldfish

Yes. Humans now have less of an attention span than a goldfish (nine seconds average). One journalist when pondering what was at stake, later suggested McNugget time as a huge upcoming problem.

Attention span was defined as “the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted.”

Wow. You still here?

So Google reckon we can no longer be bothered even to click a link.

Mind you, I’m not sure whether I’m more perturbed that in the first place, only holding focus for twelve seconds was our Millennium norm.

I recalled a late twentieth century study which found managers were frustrated that their thought-trains were interrupted by underlings every seven minutes. Now we distract ourselves each eight seconds.

I sensed there simply must be a solution selling use for this thinking. Here’s a quickfire pitching trio.

Answer Boxes

The point of these seem primarily in immediacy. They aim to both remove a ‘step’ between you and your answer as well as jump on the fact that the most commonplace answer is usually good enough for most people.

On a tangent, there’s links with objection handling here. What are your most fielded buyer-questions? Have you got them listed this way?

But consider carefully the way your prospect is thinking. What do they wish to know ‘how to’ do? Crucially, how closely is this aligned to how and what you are trying to sell to them?

How To-ing

There’s definitely a good presentation idea around the ‘how to’ guide format. One readily adaptable to both slidedecks and Proposals.

For the image at the top of this post, I simply tapped into Google “how to sell”. Their auto-complete prompted me with a whole screen of options. This day saw the highest three as “your soul”, “a product” and “a car”.

Note to self, should I get into souls?

You suspect the result I then got regardless has the whiff of a paid-for ad presence (from an American mag aimed mainly at franchisees).

At least the concept can be built upon and happily referenced.

8 sec-ers

An obvious sibling to all the “x-word pitches”. Pretty much any small ‘n‘ can be suggested as your word limit. Make it punchy.

Also a cousin to the burning match pitch idea. In ye old days, managers would make telesales strike a match, then hold tight twixt finger and thumb. You could only let go once your pitch was fully uttered. Too long, and those pinkies would burn and hurt all day. (I don’t recommend this today, naturally). Meaning your target would be similarly burned, yawning as they hung up.

So now we have a one-elephant eight-times restriction.

You can even add impact – and hopefully stickability – by telling your lucky pitchee that you deliberately made it 8secs, and why.

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