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Published:May 2nd, 2008 09:56 EST
180 Degrees in an Instant

180 Degrees in an Instant

By Joel G. Block (Mentor/Columnist)

Did you ever wonder how somebody`s opinion could change in a second? Did you ever wonder how the opinion of the entire nation could turn in just one moment?

Recently I was at the health club exercising next to my friend Larry, and he was telling me a story about how his parents met back in the early 1950s. They had been introduced on a blind date. Larry`s Dad (before he was Larry`s Dad) had said to the woman on their first date that he had forgotten his wallet and that he needed to go back to his apartment to pick it up. He asked the woman if she would like to accompany him to his apartment. She immediately became suspect but she agreed to go to the apartment just to be cordial.

Once they got to the apartment, he told her that the wallet was in his bedroom. He asked her if she would like to accompany him to see his bedroom. She was now becoming completely furious because this man was not the gentleman that she had expected. His conduct was so vile to her that she wanted to get away from him just as fast as she could. But out of sheer nervousness, she agreed to see the gentleman`s bedroom. The moment they walked into the bedroom, Larry`s Dad walked over to his desk and said, "Here it is " exactly where I left it. Let`s go."

The two of them then walked out of the apartment and on to dinner. In that moment, she recognized that he was telling the truth and that he was in fact a gentleman. She fell for him shortly thereafter and gave him her heart. Something happened in a moment that caused her to turn on a dime.

The attitude of our entire country turned on a dime on September 11, 2001. Our opinion about safety, air travel, other cultures and the role of our government changed in a heartbeat. Everything was different in just one moment.

How about the campaign of Howard Dean in 2004? The clear Democratic front runner had one dramatic outburst that caused the media and the country to see him in the most negative way. The big money raiser`s campaign was over in a heartbeat.

There are so many other examples of times when something goes from good to bad, bad to worse or terrible to great - in a second.  There is always a reason that something makes a 180 degree turn. I call these reasons "triggering events." A triggering event can be anything that causes us to turn on a dime.

My question for successful entrepreneurs is "what creates a triggering event for your customers?" How do you create an opportunity for someone to fall in love with your business, your product, your service, your staff and the approach that you take to take care of your customers?

If you can figure that out, you`ll have a dramatic and successful business. Maybe you could hire somebody to help you figure out what your triggering events are. But maybe you`re going to have to figure out some of those triggering events yourself. A good idea is to have a round table meeting with your team or with colleagues who are close to you so that you can help each other to figure out what the triggering events are that control the opinions of your customers as it relates to you and your business.

So, as you are working hard every day to build your company, or as you`re building your career, think about triggering events. Think about the kind of activities that get people to turn on a dime. Focus on people who have no opinion or a potentially poor opinion of you and figure out how to turn that opinion into one that makes them a lifetime customer and an advocate of your business, your product or your services. Taking this action will make a world of difference. Just think about how it affected Larry!

About Joel G. Block, President of Growth-Logic, Inc.
Often dubbed a "Growth Architect" by his clients, Joel Block advises companies on explosive growth strategies by driving revenue and sales. Well known in the capital markets, Joel is a successful entrepreneur, speaker and advisor. To bring Joel into your company, please visit  or