Are your Rider and Elephant Working Together?
I’ve just finished reading a fantastic book “Switch – How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. In it the authors draw on decades of scientific studies as well as examples of real-life turnarounds to analyse why we find change so hard, and what needs to happen for it to be easier.
This got me thinking about the business owners that work with me and how this applies to them. So many of them see getting clients as a matter of luck, and for them to have conscious, focused sales conversations requires quite a change in their approach and thinking.
Chip and Dan identify two key things that have to be in place for effective change to take place:
Direct the Rider
First we must Direct the Rider. The Rider is our analytical, logical brain. Our Rider ‘knows’ that we want more clients. It might even know that we would like to be better at having sales conversations. But without clear direction the Rider tends to over-analyse and procrastinate (sound familiar?). What the Rider needs is clear instructions about what it needs to do. If the Rider has a clear idea of the outcome and clear instructions on what it needs to do to get there it will head off in the right direction.
Motivate the Elephant
But the Rider is riding on a mighty animal – our Elephant – and if the Elephant won’t budge the rider isn’t going anywhere even with the best map in the world. The Elephant is our emotional self. Our emotional self is way stronger than the Rider and the rider can’t out-strength it using willpower alone – or at least not for long. So to achieve effective change we also need to motivate the Elephant – In other words be emotionally connected to our outcome.
This Rider v Elephant relationship explains why we know we really ‘should’ exercise more, and every week say we are going to go to the gym – but weeks go by and we don’t, probably because on the deeper emotional level we don’t really care all that much about our muffin top or getting breathless when we run upstairs.
The book is really written for people who are trying to effect change in organisations or where change is particularly difficult. But I thought it related well to people wanting to have better sales conversations.
How This Applies to Having Better Sales Conversations
When it comes to making more effective sales conversations first you need to motivate your Elephant. This is all about your “Big Why”. Why do you want more clients? Is it because you know you have a great contribution to make in the world, but that without clients willing to pay for your change you can’t make a difference? Is it because you want to put your family first and would love to arrange your hours so you can spend time with the kids after school? Is it because you fear having to return to a job you hate? Whatever it is, the elephant has to be on board first. If you just don’t care enough then all the clear instruction in the world won’t get you moving.
Next, look at your Rider. The rider might know what you want – more clients, a thriving practice where you are able to manage and balance your time better, more time with your family. You might even know exactly what this looks like – a client I worked with last week has a clear goal to have 15 clients starting her high-level coaching programme every 6 months. So she knew what she wanted. She was also highly motivated to get there and emotionally connected to the outcome. But she didn’t know HOW to do that and to get to the destination the Rider needs clear step by step instruction. This is where a programme or system to follow comes in.
Using a system like my “7 Steps to Yes”, your Rider knows exactly what it needs to do to move forward. No more over-analysing, no more procrastinating. The Elephant and the Rider can move together towards the required change – the process of becoming really comfortable having sales conversations that result in a resounding “yes please!” from the client.