By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
“We like to think that the facts can convince people to change… We like to think that people are essentially ‘rational’ — that is, they’ll act in their self-interest if they have accurate information. We believe that ‘knowledge is power’ and that the ‘truth will set you free.’
But nine out of ten heart patients didn’t change even when their doctors informed them about what they had to do to prolong their lives. Ex-convicts knew how hard their time could be if they were arrested again, but it didn’t make a difference.
That’s because we take the facts and fit them into the frames we already have. If the facts don’t fit, we’re likely to challenge whether they’re really facts or to dismiss the information and persist somehow in believing what we want to believe.” – Excerpt from the book “Change or Die” by Alan Deutschman
Just recently, I read one of the most fascinating books on belief systems and change: Change or Die. If there is anything in your life that you are struggling to change, I highly recommend it.
Alan Deutschman is a senior writer at Fast Company magazine and has interviewed some of the most successful business icons of our time. He created this book to reveal how some people can change in even the most hopeless situations while others—who have the knowledge and information to change—don’t. Whether it’s heart patients who know they will die very soon if they don’t change or business owners trapped in unsuccessful businesses that keep them in a cycle of failure, the way to change is the same — and it starts and ends with belief systems.
Take my consulting business as an example. Most people buy my program looking for a “fix” to their marketing problem. What they don’t realize is that, in order for my clients to be truly successful, they have to change their well-entrenched negative habits and beliefs that got them to where they are in the first place. A better sales letter or web site won’t fix that.
Unless I can get them to embrace true change in their daily habits, what they believe, and how they use their time, the results won’t follow, or they will be slow and miniscule. That is why my selling starts after I make the sale—I have to sell them on the fact that success will come. I have to use client success stories to constantly reinforce that the methods and strategies work.
Otherwise, the average person will do exactly what Deutschman outlines in his book:
“We take the facts and fit them into the frames we already have. If the facts don’t fit, we’re likely to challenge whether they’re really facts or to dismiss the information and persist somehow in believing what we want to believe.”
If someone doesn’t believe direct mail can possibly work—they will find a way to prove it doesn’t. Or, if they completely lack the discipline to control their time, their ability to focus on a project, lean something new, or to develop the habit of steadfastness that is required to build a marketing system in their business, they will fail. It doesn’t matter what marketing “guru” they subscribe to.
And like it (or believe it) or not, that really is the true key to someone having success with my program. A better web site or postcard won’t change the belief that “selling is evil” or “asking for money is wrong” OR “I couldn’t send THAT letter to my clients.” It won’t fix someone who can’t or won’t invest some time into researching and understanding their clients. And my program doesn’t automatically alter your schedule and free up buckets of time and space to get the strategies implemented.
I can give a client a surefire, guaranteed formula for selling managed services, but if they don’t truly believe in what they are selling or fear the sale in some way, they won’t use the formula, or worse yet—they’ll cherry pick what they feel comfortable with, leave out or change what they don’t like, and then blame the formula for not working.
Just like the 9 out of 10 heart patients who fail to get healthier, they would rather stay in denial than actually do what it takes to get better.
And it’s not because they don’t know what to do…it’s because their beliefs, fears, and bad habits are so entrenched that more information—no matter how proven or powerful it is—won’t alter the patterns they’ve anchored themselves to.
Dedicated to your success,