In the season three final episode of the hit TV show Dallas, J.R. Ewing was shot. For eight months until the show re-aired and the perpetrator was revealed, there was a media frenzy with everyone speculating “who dunnit.”
That particular episode represented one of all the all-time great cliff-hangers in television history.
Cliff-hangers are used extensively in media. Right before a commercial break, a radio host will tease what is coming up in the next segment. Not only are cliff-hangers used before every commercial break in television, mini cliff-hangers are used during the show.
One plot line will be established and a conflict will arise but before that conflict is resolved, the director will cut away and start another plot line and a conflict, leave that unresolved and cut to another plot line and then jump back and resolve the conflict in first plot line.
Doing this causes the viewer to keep watching the show because they need resolution. Cliff-hangers create a feeling of tension that only can be released through the resolution.
In selling, we call this creating “open loops” and they are very powerful although few people use them properly or even know about them.
Creating open loops in your sales presentation will keep your audience engaged throughout your presentation. This is mission critical today because attention spans are so short.
Properly utilized open loops can also dramatically increase your sales. For example, let’s say I’m doing a presentation to sell a webinar training program and I tell you that there are three important things you need to do to get maximum registration but then only tell you one of them. You immediately want to know what the other two are. So when I get to the close and explain that I go over all three things in my training program, you are more likely to buy because you want to “close the open loop” I created inside your brain.
There is a much more sophisticated way to create open loops which involve planting thoughts and ideas in your audiences’ minds so they create their own internal pressure. I’ll be talking more about that in my Psychic Sales Masterclass I’ll be doing later this month. Details are coming soon.
See what I just did there? 🙂
Kick butt, make mucho DEEnero!
Dave “Cliffhanger” Dee