Prospects might ask you for your ‘cred-deck’. They want to see what you’ve done and who you work with. So you dutifully send them the slides in the hope they’ll see you as a good potential supplier. Then – with increasing frustration – you wait, and wait, and wait, for a response.
If that sounds familiar you might want to ask yourself:
Do prospects “believe it when they see it”, or “see it when they believe it”?
OK. Let’s rewind. Coaching corporate executives through change I’ve found people’s beliefs consistently override their direct experience. For example if they believe habit change is hard – it is. If they think others will resist change – they do.
Recently a McKinsey team reported similar findings about beliefs and consumer behaviour, written up in this article – Irrational consumption: How consumers really make decisions – which is worth reading
Part of the article reminded me of a fun “thought-experiment” # I’ve used with groups to demonstrate the power of beliefs. Basically I’d take a bottle of house wine, do some theatrical ‘hocus pocus’, and influence the group to believe the taste had improved. It seems from the article that changing the bottle can have the same affect, without the fun.
The experiment worked every time. Participants agreed the wine’s taste had improved. They’d even suggest reasons why. The experiment was, of course, absolute nonsense. A placebo of sorts. The reason it worked, and the wine tastes better, is that the group believed it did – that’s all.
And I’d contextualise the wine experiment by telling this story * :
One morning, a man awoke convinced he had died during the night. Since he was awake, it was clear he had become a zombie. He told his wife about this state of affairs.
“You’re not a zombie,” she said.
“I am a zombie,” he answered.
“What makes you think so?” she asked.
“Don’t you think zombies know when they are zombies?” he answered.
Realizing she wasn’t persuading him, she called his mother and told her what was going on. “Let me speak to him,” she said.
When the man took the phone, she said, “I’m your mother. Wouldn’t I know if I gave birth to a zombie?”
“You didn’t. I just became a zombie last night.”
“I didn’t raise my son to be a zombie, or to think he’s a zombie,” his mother said.
“Doesn’t matter. I’m still a zombie.”
Later, his wife tried getting help from their minister. “You’re not a zombie,” the minister said. “Probably just going through a mid-life crisis.”
“Zombies don’t have mid-life crises,” the man said.
The minister recommended a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist said, “So you think you’re a zombie?”
“Think? You’re kidding,” the man said. “Know. I know I am a zombie.”
“Tell me,” the psychiatrist asked, “do zombies bleed?”
“Of course not. We’re the living dead. We don’t bleed!”
“Watch this,” the psychiatrist said. He took a pin and pricked the man’s finger.
A small drop of blood welled up. “There,” the psychiatrist said, “what do you think of that?”
The man stared at his finger and said nothing for a few minutes. “Well, what do you know,” the man said after a while. “I’ll be damned. Zombies do bleed!”
Better tasting wine and zombies that bleed – what do they have to do with selling?
Well, it brings into question what the value of a cred-deck is. It’s well know that information alone does not motivate behavior.
The bottom line
4 things you might want to consider about beliefs, before sending a prospect your standard ‘cred-deck’:
- What does the prospect believe about you right now?
- How will your ‘cred-deck experience’ influence those beliefs?
- What do you believe is going to happen as a result of sending it?
- What do you believe needs to change now?
Alternatively just send your standard ‘cred-deck’ and hope … then wait, and wait, and wait.
Interested to find out more about beliefs and influence? Get in touch and lets talk about mentoring and thinking sessions.
* The story comes from Robert Fritz’s book, The Path of Least Resistance.
# I was doing some ‘weird NLP’ stuff back then, just on the edge of acceptable corporate behaviour.