I was reading a Tom Clancy novel in which he discusses the voting system in the US. While I don’t recall the number precisely, the explanation went as follows:
40% of the population will vote Democrat, because that’s what their parents and grandparents did, it’s how they’ve always voted, and always will.
40% of the population will vote Republican for the exact same reason.
10% of the population will vote based on platforms and issues.
10% of the population will vote for the man.
Okay, maybe my numbers are off, but essentially, 80% of the population is already decided (though they may profess otherwise, or give alternate explanations for their voting). Of the remainder, half are also already decided because of the stances the candidates have already made. Only 10% of the population is truly undecided throughout the election campaign, and will ultimately vote based on the person and personality of the candidates.
The focus of an election campaign is not about convincing the 90% of the population who have already decided how to vote (though they will not be forgotten). It’s about the 10% that can be convinced to vote, and presenting the image that it is believed they want to see. It’s about convincing those who are still undecided.
What does this mean to you?
Whenever you set out to promote your opinions, don’t focus on convincing those who have always opposed you, and are unlikely (though certainly possible) to change their opinions. Instead, you are more likely to see success if you focus on those who are open to seeing your point of view, who are ready to be convinced.
If you are promoting a product or service, don’t try to convince those who are already using a competing product or service about how much better your product is. Instead, focus on getting those clients who are not committed to anyone yet. Only once you have built your own following should you turn your attention to the customers of your competition, when you already have the successes of your existing clients to reinforce any presentation you now make.