I think the word must pierce the heart as a sword. But many of the Jews who resisted Jesus, were told that their hearts were hardened, or that they were blind deaf etc even though some of them knew the scriptures very well indeed.
I think once the word pierces the soul begins to work its magic, it might convict e.g the Jews who desired stoning of the woman caught in adultery, or it might cause a person to cry out for help, such as the blind man. But Jesus gave a parable concerning this part of the process. He said
4And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
5A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
16No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.
17For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.