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RAB Research Archive

Uncanny Valley



Think about people you meet who act as if they know what you do, but are off just enough they make you feel uncomfortable having a conversation with them. They have fallen into the Uncanny Valley.

Uncanny Valley is a term used in the video animation industry. It refers to a character’s look that is between real and unreal. Think of a photo of Tom Hanks (real) and Tom Hanks playing Sheriff Woody in Toy Story (clearly unreal). Neither image makes you feel uncomfortable.

When an animated character looks almost real, but not exactly, human response is a feeling of discomfort. It is an uncanny look. Think Tom Hanks’ character of the conductor in The Polar Express. Reviews of the movie said it emotionally derailed. The dip when charting reaction between high real and high unreal comfort levels is the Uncanny Valley.

When you have a conversation showing you almost know a client’s business, but not really, you enter the Uncanny Valley, making the prospect feel uncomfortable.

Do your research, review the client’s website thoroughly, know the business and the industry before you try to bluff your way through a meeting, especially a CNA. When you know enough to ask intelligent questions, the customer will be glad to TELL you their business. This builds trust and leads to more conversation, which leads to more sales.

Source: John Potter, RAB





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