Today’s newsletter is sponsored by BugHerd
Your boss has asked you to put together a quick presentation for tomorrow’s company-wide meeting.
That means pouring through 100s of pages of data to pull out the key nuggets the team needs to know.
It’s a daunting task.
Rather than starting with analysis—which feels overwhelming—you decide to work on designing the slide deck first.
You open up Canva…
Why did you choose to work on the least important part of the presentation first?
In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at Bikeshedding – why we spend too much time on things that don’t matter.
Let’s get into it…
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The Psychology of Bikeshedding 🧠
Bikeshedding, also known as Parkinson’s Law of Triviality, describes our strange tendency to spend more time on trivial things, keeping us from tackling the work that matters.
It was first pointed out by historian and author Cyril Northcote Parkinson in 1957.
Parkinson observed and theorized that people put more focus on easier matters, like putting a bikeshed in front of a building, in comparison to more difficult ones, like deliberations about the atomic reactor inside the building.
According to Parkinson, “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved.”
People gravitate towards the easiest task or decision and spend more time on it than the actual issue at hand.
Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐
Your colleagues might let you get sidetracked for a few minutes during a meeting, but your customers will not be so forgiving.
Don’t waste their time with messages that aren’t applicable to their needs and desires.
You might be super proud of how your product is able to upload files in seconds, but your customer doesn’t really care about that.
Your customer wants to hear how your product will:
- Make them more money
- Save them time
- Increase their status amongst their peers
Rule of thumb: Spend 3x the amount of time talking about the benefits that matter to your customer than other features.
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How To Apply This 🤑
Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?
After State > Features
The After State is the experience your buyers get once they’ve used your products and experienced the benefits.
Instead of focusing your copy on the great features of your product, you want to talk about the After State your buyers will experience.
FrostBuddy realized their buyers don’t really care about how FrostBuddy keeps their drink cold. They just care that it gives them the After State they were looking for: a cold drink.
Figure out the After State your buyers are seeking with review mining research 🔎
Try to tell your story in half the time
Fluff doesn’t sell. Instead, it repels your buyers from getting to your perfectly crafted call-to-action.
Before you hit publish on your copy…
- Reread your content aloud
- Delete sentences you think are unnecessary
- Read your content again
- Ask yourself, “Did you lose important context?
- If the answer is no, keep it deleted.
The counterintuitive truth is that oftentimes saying less communicates more.
Choose your one-liner (and stick to it)
A “one-liner” is a succinct sentence that describes your business.
Without that one-liner, we tend to go on tangents (online, in person, and on our marketing channels) that inevitably lose us business.
James Clear’s newsletter reaches over 2,000,000 people. His one-liner promises the OPPOSITE of Bikeshedding with his purposely concise content:
TIP: Resist the temptation to add a few more details every time you describe yourself or your business and take notice of how much easier it is for people to understand what you do and who you do it for.
The Short of It 💥
Your buyers don’t care about the details as much as you do.
Even though you’ve spent a painstaking amount of hours making your product perfect…
Your buyers only care that it’ll give them the experience they’re hoping for.
Cut to the chase (in your marketing and your to-do list).
Until next time, happy selling.
Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?
There are a few ways I can help:
- Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (3200+ happy students)
- Learn how to mine online reviews from real buyers to generate ideas and copy that converts (500+ happy students)
- Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence
- Apply to sponsor an upcoming issue of Why We Buy (next opening in June)