Just one more hour and we’ll be in the clear. That’s what we said to each other as the surgeon went into the operating room. My son had a minor procedure done. As a parent, any surgery is a nail-biting experience no matter how minor.
An hour later, the doctor emerged. He told us everything went well. They brought us in to see our son, He was scared, groggy and confused.
“In a few hours, he’ll be back to relative normal.”
Sure enough, a few hours later he was playing like nothing happened. It was a relief.
The doctor told us to expect an interrupted night of sleep. The Tylenol only lasts four hours.
“He may wake up from the pain.”
At 3 AM, he woke up crying and coughing. With a little coaxing and pain meds, he went back to sleep. We knew it would just be one or two bad nights and we’d cross the final hurdle.
With each challenge, we were one final hurdle from getting back to normalcy and relief.
The Final Hurdle Illusion
That’s how things are in life. There’s always one more hurdle before you reach relief, success or any other goal.
It’s true for kids, parents and adults of all ages.
It’s motivating to think that way when we’re shooting for a goal.
“Just one more skill and I’ll land that dream job.”
It’s comforting to think this way in times of trouble.
“Just one more night to get through before things are back to normal.”
I’ve repeated a similar phrase in mind countless times in my life.
“One more course on writing and I’ll be a good writer.”
“One more customer and I’ll feel secure in business.”
“One step away from crossing that threshold to [fill in the blank]”
The Marketing Advantage
I’ve wasted a lot of money on books and courses I didn’t really need. Some were useful but not really necessary. In marketing, we call it
The Final Hurdle technique.
The seller presents their product as the last book you’ll need or the missing link to fixing your problem. It almost always works.
By instinct, we all feel there’s one more hurdle to overcome before we reach our goal. By presenting your product as the final hurdle before reaching their goal, you confirm what they already believe (or want to believe).
This is true for all of us, myself included.
Is it ethical to use this technique?
Like any other tool, it depends on the context.
Does your solution make it possible for your customer to reach her goal or solve her problem? If yes, use it as you see fit.
Sometimes our solution solves the first or second problem among a string of goals. In those scenarios, avoid using it in your pitch. Not every tool fits every situation. This is a powerful persuasion tool in the right situation. Force fitting it weakens your overall message.