A biotech marketing director once asked me, “Mark, how do I get my team onboard with a program I don’t believe in?”
“You can’t,” I quickly replied.
Your external actions and internal thoughts must be aligned. I call this “congruency.”
Years ago, a Harley-Davidson dealer wanted my help increasing sales of new motorcycles at his store. So I did what consultants do: I evaluated the market, employee skills and dealership processes. Improvements could be made, but something else was wrong. When I casually asked the motorcycle sales manager what kind of motorcycle he rode, he replied, “Oh, I don’t ride motorcycles. They’re overpriced and dangerous.”
If that sales manager didn’t support what he was selling, how in the world could he convince his customers? If you are promoting a product, an idea or an initiative, you need to believe in it from an ethical standpoint. And even if we were to put the ethical issue aside for a moment, if you don’t believe in what you are talking about, your facial expressions and body language will give you away.
This is why I always say the most fundamental persuasion principle is congruency: If you want to be convincing, you have to be convinced.