All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. – Miyamoto Musashi
In a police investigation, I understand, the most important thing is the timeline of events.
What happened first? What happened next? And so on.
It’s useful to keep this in mind because, although we sort of know time happens in this sequential kind of way we sometimes forget.
Actually, it’s probably fair to say we often forget.
And that probably has something to do with how our brains work.
For example, I read something on social media today that has a line that looked like “Why is no one talking about … thing?”
And someone responded, agreeing that no one was talking about it, and pointing to a report on the issue.
So, someone is talking about it – just because it’s news to you doesn’t mean that somewhere else there’s an army of people working on the subject.
When we first become aware of something our brain adjusts its filter, now showing you everything that’s similar – the so called reticular activating system.
It’s when you decide you want a new car you see models of the ones you’re considering everywhere you look.
Now, let’s turn this the other way around – what if you have a message you want to get out there.
Is the right time to send out that message when you’ve written it?
That’s what many of us do – we do stuff and send it out.
This post, for example, will come to your inbox in a short while when I press the right button.
And that’s fine if your focus is on creating material – that’s what I’m trying to do.
But you need to think differently when you want someone to react to your stuff – to respond to what you do.
If you want that to happen you first need to work out what their timeline looks like.
Let’s say you sell a cost reduction service.
When is the best time to get in touch with a person at a prospect organisation?
First, obviously, you need to figure out who the best person is to get in touch with – is it the Managing Director, a plant operator?
Who is the person or group of people with the responsibility and the power to commission your services?
If it’s the MD, do you work down a list of companies from A-Z, highest to lowest turnover?
Bash the phones or send spam email and hope you get through?
Or can you be more strategic about it all?
What if you look at companies and see how their results look year on year – which ones are under pressure to do something?
What if you look at companies where a new MD has taken over – someone who wants to make their mark quickly?
What about companies that have negative reviews and are struggling to manage the impact on their reputation?
All these organisations may be willing to listen to your message about how you can take out costs because of what you know.
There are many reasons why you might be rejected by someone – and it often has to do with when you’ve approached them.
If you adopt a random approach then you will have a certain success rate – because for a proportion of the people you talk to you’ll get the timing right.
The question for you is whether by looking more closely at the timeline of events you can figure out which entry point will increase your chances of success.
But that information isn’t just out there – it’s not easy to find.
It takes some detective work.
You have to get into the minds of your prospects – the way they act and think.
Maybe you interview them, maybe you gather research, maybe you set up google alerts for significant events.
You create a research division – even if it’s just you – your own private investigative office to support your marketing efforts.
You know how in stories the detective gets the bad guys by piecing together bits of evidence that are there for everyone to see – but only the detective put together.
That’s the skill we need to develop as marketers.
Because you can get your timing right by accident.
But if you understand the way the timeline works, you can get it right on purpose.