Did you notice all of the talk about the Rapture last week? If not, just imagine a situation where a few hundred people thought they could do math better than God, and CNN covered it.
Ok, seriously. What can we learn from the “Rapture scare of 2011”?
1. It takes more than an interesting message to make believers. This non-event had the power of the Bible (a difficult source to prove or disprove), some true believers, and a few people with (perceived) expertise all saying something that was hard to totally ignore. What was missing? Better credibility for one. If more big-name religious leaders were behind the message, more people would have bought into it.
2. You need a next step people can get behind. “The end is near…prepare” doesn’t give me anything to do, does it? When a doctor says you have one week to live, you know to get your will updated, say your goodbye’s, etc. If the world is going to end, my family won’t need my health plan right? The message here was very mixed up with earthquakes at 6:00 pm and all that. A better next step might have been to by some survival gear to make it through the five months (or whatever). Seems like Wal-Mart missed an opportunity here.
3. Be prepared to be wrong. How do you handle it when a product or service you offer isn’t purchased or worse, gets critiqued (with good reason) in the public domain? Do you keep doing the same things, hoping for different results? For instance, how effective is a “The end is near” sign if people have been sporting those for decades?
I realize those trying to convey the message weren’t doing so for profit, but my point is to give me a reason to believe there is something to the message. The fact that you quit your job and tanked your kids college fund doesn’t show credibility. It just reinforces the notion that you may be a bit crazy.
Give me a reason to believe you, a plan to prepare that my 21st century values can get behind and maybe you’ll make the sale. Of course, it helps if your service or product is real…