If You Don’t Believe in Your Idea, Nobody Else Will

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.”

Mystery solved.

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.

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