The rule of three principle states: Things that come in threes are inherently more appealing than those that don’t — something we take for granted but so powerful of a proposition. In the marketplace, we are obsessed with this principle. No matter where you look, this “odd” combination is lurking and demanding notice. However, how did this number lineup become part of our daily compulsion and what’s the meaning behind it? More importantly, how can we learn to leverage its powers to integrate this rule into our marketing and sales pitch opportunities to help with our product offering and attract customers?
Wikipedia defines the “rule of three” as a writing principle that suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers. The audience is also more likely to remember the information conveyed. We at [n] reach couldn’t agree more, the simpler, the better! People are hammered daily in the marketplace that by using this numeric strategy, it helps your audience experience bite-size chunks. As we’ve learned from our experiences, prospects will resonate to at least two of your three options, and the third option usually becomes a throw-away. Below are some examples of the grouping of three that have become a staple in our culture:
Three Wise Men
Three Blind Mice
Three feet in a yard
Three Books in a Trilogy
Three colors in the USA flag
Three Hockey Goals are a Hat Trick
Three Flavors in Neapolitan Ice Cream
Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil
Three traffic light colors (red, green, yellow)
General garment sizes: small, medium and large
Three Hands on a Clock (with the Seconds Hand)
The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth
The strongest geometric shape is a triangle (having three sides)
Three energy/calorie sources to the human body: carbohydrates, fats, and protein
When utilizing this powerful numeric principle into your sales and positioning strategy, you want to craft a formula that focuses on your product’s benefits. It’s best to begin by asking your team some hard-hitting questions like, “why should our target audience care about our product?”, or “what makes our product any different than the competition?” Do a deeper dive into understanding the emotional opportunities that can connect your product to your customer for alignment opportunities. Attempt to summarize your responses into three short, compelling sentences that focus only on the benefits that can change their lives and NOT your features.
Continue asking questions like, “What does our customer seek help in their world?” or “Does the competition offer or say the same thing?”. Your goal is to discover a point of difference that your product can claim that no others can. Try attempting to streamline your responses frequently. Because people have a lack of attention span, your strategy of the three will need to become digestible, but also allowing your sales team to present them naturally. Prospects do not like a long-winded explanation of how great your product is, so by setting up these three camps of information; it’s easier to state the benefit facts quickly. Finally, label these short sentences with one powerful adjective word or two for easy memory and a clean layout.
In conclusion, using the rule of three will not only aid in presenting significant benefits but will keep your sales team sharp for what’s essential in the discussion. They can always adlib and build upon them in dialogue, but that will depend on the audience’s particular interest. Through applying the rule of three to your marketing and sales process, you will capture customer’s attention, paint a clearer picture of your advantages, and ultimately increase purchases. When discovering your three patterns, be sure to make the attempt fun! Watch this amusing animated video parody from the Schoolhouse Rock series to help get you in the mindset. It’s what many of us grew up listening to and will set the tone.