The email came in at 4:32 PM. It was the kind of response I feared most.
“Are you free at 4 PM tomorrow to catch up?”
What an ass. He’s going to make me wait. Is he too busy to squeeze in a three-minute phone call?
Here’s what happened.
I applied for a project that’s a bit outside my area of expertise. Getting it is a longshot. I went for it anyway because I found it interesting. I want to know just one thing. Am I still in the running for it?
I’d be okay with a yes or no response via email. Maybe he prefers a verbal discussion? Sure, I get that. A quick phone call would have been fine too.
Instead, he makes me wait.
The Powerful Human Desire Nobody Talks About
Waiting triggers anticipation. You don’t hear it discussed much among sales, marketing on persuasion experts. It’s one of the most powerful urges we face. It’s the driving force behind page turning novels. It keeps us awake at night, too anxious to calm down.
When I saw the email telling me to wait until tomorrow, it began. I started fidgeting. I banged my fist on the table.
Then, I tried to interpret his nine-word email.
Does that mean he has good news to tell me? Is that why he wants to schedule a half hour call?
Wait a minute. It can’t be good news. Wouldn’t he just write that we’re moving forward but we’ll discuss the details tomorrow?
When we feel that level of anticipation, we turn to a familiar strategy. Distraction.
First, I went for a walk. That helped until I finished.
My mind raced so I decided to write. That too helped for a short while.
Then, I hopped on Amazon and did some shopping. I spent $51 on books.
All these distractions helped to relieve that anticipation.
That’s the power of this urge. If you trigger enough anticipation in your audience, selling becomes easier. Your audience seeks to quell that anticipation. Position your solution as the only means of relieving the uneasiness.
How do we create this magic anticipation? It takes practice to do it well. I won’t lie. The formula is simple. Even a first time effort yields benefits.
- Curiosity – The first step is creating curiosity. Once your audience feels curious about something they seek the answer
- Mystery – Build up the mystery. This creates that feeling of anticipation. The deeper the mystery the more anxious they feel
- Hold Back – Once you give up the secret, the anticipation dies. Satisfy a smaller mystery but leave the big mystery open. Offer your solution as the answer to that mystery
Our meeting occurred. We talked for five minutes. He said they decided to go in a different direction. Don’t you just love corporate-speak?
I felt relief. I made the effort. That’s what counts. Now I can move on.
As the saying goes: “The waiting is the hardest part”Read More →