In 1956, a Harvard psychologist named Dr. George A. Miller did a study, a review, for Psychological Review Magazine behind the magic of numbers. The study specifically focused on the number seven.
Here’s what he came up with. He realized there is a certain magic about the audience, the customer, remembering seven digits. For example, he talked about the fact that there are seven digits in a phone number. Depending on which generation you’re a part of, there used to be a time prior to cell phones where we had to remember phone numbers. Most people had little pocket phone books where they wrote down phone numbers. Eventually, if you called the number enough times, you memorized it. Today I still remember my family’s home phone number that we used 25 years ago. I haven’t used that number for 20 years, but it’s stuck in my mind.
Here are some other examples of where the number seven is used:
- Days in a week
- The number of notes in a music scale
- Seven card stud
- The seven deadly sins
- Magnificent seven
There’s a lot of magic behind the number seven.
Seven worked back in the day. But if I were to ask you to stop everything you're doing right now, grab a piece of paper, and write down all the phone numbers you know off the top of your head, how many could you do? See how many you can actually remember. Don't touch your phone. Don't look at anything. Just make a list off the top of your head.
Can you remember 100? Can you remember 50? What is the limit? Odds are, you probably can't think of 50. Maybe a few of you can, but not everybody can remember 50. Why? Because you don't have to. And we lose whatever our brain doesn't use.
The new magical number for your business that you can use to simplify things and make everything easier for your customers to buy from you is the number three. Three is the new magical number.
Listen in here for some examples of how the number three is used.
So let's talk about how this applies to the product you sell. How many steps do I have to take to buy your product?
Write it out. Make a list of it.
Why does this matter? Imagine why restaurants came out with fast food. And McDonald's started crushing everybody. Why? Because of the number of steps it takes to buy their product.
Picture this. I'm busy. It's 5:30 p.m. and I'm leaving my job. I'm driving home. I'm hungry. My wife calls me and says, "I have nothing ready for dinner tonight." Or let's say that I'm single, and there's no food. I have to go buy food because I'm not a cook.
Or in the morning I forgot to make breakfast and I'm going grab something to eat. I'm driving, and I say to myself, "Man, do I want to stop over here?" Consider what would go through your mind if there is no fast food. In your mind you say:
• I have to park the car
• Then I'll turn off the car
• I have to open the door
• Then take off my seat belt
• My car is warm, and it's cold outside.
• I'm going to have to go inside and stand in line with four people ahead of me.
• Then I'm going to place my order and have to wait for it.
• Next I'll have to carry the food back to my car and get in and go through the process of starting my car and everything else.
Then the mind says, "No, I'm not doing that. I'm going straight to work."
Then McDonald's said, "All you have to do is place your order, make your payment and pick up your food." You don't even have to get out of your car. It's very simple. One, two, three.
Then you have Amazon. It's very simple. What do you want? Click on it. It's a simple, three-step process.
Companies that Scale the Most
The companies that make it easy to buy from typically scale the most. Why? Because people are more likely to buy when it's easy.
So again, let's go back to the question I asked you earlier. I'm a customer, and I'm going to buy your product. What do I need to go through? Make a list. How many steps does it take?
However many steps it is, see if you can eliminate some and bring it down to three steps. You may realize you don't need some of the steps.
Right now I'm in the insurance business myself. I went to one of the biggest re-insurance companies because I have a proposal about what I want to do for the life insurance industry. And it's gotten a lot of attention. Everybody's calling me saying, "Hey Pat ,we want to possibly put a couple hundred million dollars into this idea you have, and we want to see if we can make it work."
My idea is very simple. There are many purely unnecessary processes that I'm trying to take out. And it's getting investors' attention because we've reduced the number of steps it takes to buy the product.
For the longest time, insurance required so many steps to buy the product. But right now, we have product that we're selling that simply requires three steps. One, two, three. We've sold more of that policy than anybody else in the world, including the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. And the company is flabbergasted. But it's because we have the easiest process of selling the product.
Let me tell you why you out to pay attention to the number three. Think about how much is being fed to our minds today. Think about how many videos you watch on YouTube and Facebook. Another video, and then another video. And all of these videos and images we see require energy. Your brain burns calories to watch the images, the color, the emotions, all the stuff you're seeing. It sucks up all the data for you to store information, right? It takes it, takes it, takes it. We can no longer do seven. It's very simple. We can only do three.
By the way, don't try to fight it. It's like gravity. Don't say, "I'm going to try to change the law of gravity." It's not going to happen.
So don't fight it. But adjust. Adapt. And try to figure out a way to make it easy for people to buy your product.
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