Goldfish are cool little creatures. Small. Happy (I think). Cheap. Don’t ask for much. And boy, are they distractible.
Though there’s not much to do in a fishbowl (at least the kind that make it into my house), goldfish have an incredibly tiny attention span. Nine seconds is all you get with a fish – maybe 10, if you subscribe to the now-popular Ted Lasso “happiest animal in the word” quote. But, that’s it.
In the time it takes you to count to 10, they’ve forgotten you. They’re on to something else. In a minute or two, they’ll be ready to experience you again for the first time.
So, could you imagine having to sell to a goldfish, convincing them that you have high-end value to offer in the physical, occupational or speech therapy rehab services you provide?
Based on a well-known study released a few years ago by Microsoft Corp.1, we are sort of selling to goldfish. (No disrespect to our patients, of course.)
According to this 2015 study, the human attention span clocked in at a whopping 8 seconds. And, researchers fear it may continue to drop during the current digital age when brand messaging is more effectively targeting all of us, and at a growing frequency.
Think technology, smartphones, social media, TikTok, the age of swipe-left and swipe-right. Whatever the blame, this is the environment within which you work when selling the value of your rehab therapy services.
Ready for the good news? Catching and holding the attention of prospective rehab therapy patients is still an achievable feat, and I’m going to show you how to make it happen in the following three steps:
1. Quickly grab their attention.
You don’t have much time here. You need to reach out and grab the attention of your prospects with something shiny and polished – messaging that construes that value you’re offering and which sets you apart from others in your profession.
To grab attention, you need to be concise. Count the words it takes. Four words are better than five. Three are better than four. Don’t waste space with fluff. Remember, you don’t have a lot of time.
Be big. Use headlines. Use attractive typeface. Think Times Square with this one. The big guys know who they’re selling to. Pay attention to what you see out there.
Use color. Be bold with it. Own your position. You’ll come back to convince them you’re the best solution in a bit. Right now, you’re working against the clock to do one thing: Catch. Their. Attention.
2. Make a positive impression.
Now that you have their attention, you’re going to make a positive impression. Making an impression has to happen quickly, and it should be engaging.
If they look at you, smile. If they smile at you, say hi. If they call or email, drop what you’re doing. Make them feel as if they and their needs are all that exist in your mind at the moment.
Are they on your website? Leave a good impression by showing them what they want without a bazillion clicks. Provide your callback number and a front-and-center map to your location.
Are they on Google, Yelp, or any of the dozens of online directories people regularly use to find local businesses? Make sure your information is thorough and correct and that any online reviews they find are mostly positive.
Predict what they want and give it to them upfront without making them ask. That’s how you make an impression.
3. Leave breadcrumbs.
You’ve done the hard work at this point. You left a good impression, and the prospective patient might even like what they see in you. Don’t lose them now. You’ve got to leave breadcrumbs to allow them to find you again when they need something.
These breadcrumbs can be regular check-in calls (if you happened to get a phone number) or email correspondence (if they provided you with an address). Digitally, the breadcrumbs could be retargeted ads for people who have visited your website.
Regardless, it’s when they come back that you’ll sell … or at least be really close to it.
But leave no breadcrumbs, and you’ve possibly wasted time and money simply making that first impression. Next time they see you, you’ll have to start over again.
It’s certainly not impossible for rehab therapists to get through to people, even if they may have the attention span of a goldfish. But to do so effectively, you’ve got to know the parameters you’re dealing with: 8 seconds and 3 steps.
Quickly grab their attention, make a positive impression, then leave breadcrumbs. Go!
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1 Time, “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish,” May 14, 2015