Can You Reach Your Prospect's First Friend?

At time of blogging, 236 of the twitterati pitched in with a response to this best-selling philosophical author's musing above on issue reappraisal.

I can perhaps save you the trouble of scrolling through them. Many pondered in the same vein as the first respondent;

But what causes their friends to change their minds?

Which is something we solution sellers constantly consider.

A key aspect of gaining a client in a complex sale (one where more than one person is involved in the decision) is to get those who see our worth to persuade those presently less convinced.

How to resolve that circular argument Catch-22? And how to spot that elusive 'first friend'?

The generalisation sparking off the debate here gave rise to some insight we might mobilise. Here's thirty statements of those that followed to get your selling juices flowing:

And also when it's in their socioeconomic interest to change their minds

The strongest opinion most people have is that being ostracised from your social circle sucks

Or when they see some advantage or chance of profit in the new idea

It takes enormous courage to change one’s opinion

This (imo real) phenomenon is modeled brilliantly by Alfred Adler in his cohesive theory about human relationships, the need of acceptance in a group and, eventually, the "striving for superiority" of individuals.

Conventional-minded people crave consensus. Independent-minded people crave truth.

There is always this “Leading” Friend

Pain helps too Pain of regret has been a useful motivator for me...

And that FIRST friend who changes his/her mind is like a saint

Individual personalities seek the truth, groups seek consensus

Your mind changes when people you are connected or respect changes. Not so much from well crafted arguments or evidence.

*or they THINK their friends changed their mind. Manufactured consent.

mimetic mind-changing

“It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his social status depends on his not understanding.”

some people change their friends when their friends' minds change.

Max Planck once said: “I have never persuaded any of my critics. Luckily, they all died one by one.”

I prefer Max Planck’s version: People stop believing bad ideas because those who support them died off.

Identity always trumps evidence.

“You want what you want because somebody else wanted it first, or else you would not know about it.”

Minds are either prepped to change or prepping for change. No one goes from 0 to changed in one conversation.

This rings true. But I'm going to have to ask my friends what they think just to be sure.

Or just as potent, when their enemies change their mind

It is much easier for people to change the story (lying) than it is to change your mind.

In other words, people only change their minds when they perceive it to be in their own interest to do so

Great point. Social validation > proof

Well, it seems like a recursive problem ... So, the hardest part is finding someone in the chain who is willing to change

Or when reality hits and they run out of money, or health, or time.

And a contrarian will change his mind when too many people start to think like him ?

Pedant alert: "cogent" makes more sense than "potent".

how is this any different from the standing ovation model of Miller & Page [2004] ?!

The main point of curating these, is not that they may represent killer tactics - although there are are few gems - but more so that they show the kinds of planning (often part of Enterprise, 'big ticket' political mapping routines) needed to manoeuvre yourself around the minds of your prospect organisation.

Use them to your advantage. Uncover what you can unleash that is really important to each individual, both professionally and personally. Find that first friend aligned closest to you. Turn them into a cluster, and allow the group to converge around their thinking.

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jamie@example.com
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