How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

| Menu | Quick | Books | Share | Search | Settings |

Why Pitching, Persuading, Guiding, and Influencing are Largely Unsuccessful – a thought paper for sellers, coaches, leaders, parents, and managers


Guest articles > Why Pitching, Persuading, Guiding, and Influencing are Largely Unsuccessful


by: Sharon Drew Morgen


You recognize what someone needs and offer just the right guidance, product data, or experience to help. Yet, except for occasionally, they don’t act on your brilliance. Why? Why would they prefer to keep doing what they’re doing when it‘s obvious, even to them, they’re less-than-effective? Because making the switch to behave differently is not as simple as desiring to do something different: your information, brilliant and well-intentioned as it is, is not heard accurately, nor do people know how to translate what you’ve offered into action. They’re not ignoring you: they just don’t know what to do with the information.

This article is about systems, Beliefs, change, and our status quo – a thought paper on why giving information (pitches, suggestions, rationale, directives, counselling) doesn’t necessarily produce changed behaviors. It’s a bit wonky; more conventional articles are on my blog


Our information, our new ideas or implementation requests, our product descriptions and presentations are relevant of course. But they can only be heard accurately and acted upon when our audience has bought in to, and learned how to manage, any proposed change, and all relevant ‘systems’ are GO.

Adopting new behaviors challenges our ingrained, personal, habitual systems. Our status quo (that mysterious mix of unconscious elements developed over a lifetime that define us) does not shift easily: doing anything – anything – different means replacing a familiar choice with something unfamiliar, with no guaranteed results or precise outcomes.

How can we know up front whether any change is worth the risk? How can we keep our system – our habitual, historic, comfortable, and interconnected configuration of rules, relationships, beliefs, goals, etc. - congruent if we behave outside our proscribed standards?

Without answers to these questions, the risk is too high to change. The change itself isn’t the problem, it’s the disruption. So how can we promote change that a person is willing/able to consider? One way is to stop sharing information until the system has prepared itself to change. Or we can actually facilitate the change before offering information. Let me explain what’s going on.


Whether it’s personal or work, our lives are defined by a set of Beliefs we’ve each developed over the course of our lifetime. We live in neighborhoods, work at jobs, and choose friends in accordance with our Beliefs. We even listen (see What?) according to our Beliefs. Everything we do (our Behaviors) emerges from our Beliefs.

Except when we’re incongruent, our Behaviors carry out our Beliefs. As a life-long liberal, I Believe I must contribute, care for the environment, treat others respectfully. My Beliefs inform my politics, my choice of city, my choice of friends; they are hard-wired, and make me me. And I happily bias my actions and decisions against them. This all happens unconsciously, of course. And therein lies the problem.

New input, and suggestions that require change, challenges the status quo which has been ‘good-enough’ until now. We’re asking people to change their Behaviors before they’ve managed buy-in or figured out how to maintain systems congruence: without knowing how to convert our Beliefs into new Behaviors we face incongruence and feel threatened, causing us to reject, sabotage, forget, misconstrue, or ignore what we’ve heard.

Buy-in is the problem because it means altering rules, changing expectations, or reconsidering outcomes like job descriptions, or timing, or relationships. Everything that will ultimately touch the proposed change must buy-in or the system will continue to reject the information.

Therefore, our information – our brilliant recommendations, thoughts, solutions, or leadership, even when directed by bosses or family - cannot even be heard even if the data is valid or important until the system itself knows how to prepare a new pathway to expected results, comfort, and congruence. We protect our system at all costs. (See Dirty Little Secrets for a thorough explanation of this topic.)


Sales and marketing folks, managers, trainers, coaches, leaders – any profession that focuses on offering advice or promoting action - must stop trying to ‘pitch’ even if someone needs to hear it. Stop trying to lead according to your own vision of what needs to happen. Your job is to facilitate buy-in to promote Excellence. And it might not look like a set of actions you’re familiar with. Once you get agreement and the system creates a way to shift congruently so its Beliefs are upheld (in accordance with the foundational rules, expectations, relationships, etc.), then you’ve got a shot that you’ll be heard or followed.

I’ve developed a change facilitation model (Buying Facilitation®) to manage this buy-in/conversion that I’ve been teaching to sellers, leaders and coaches for decades. But you can design your own model. Here is the relevant question you need to address: How can you design a way to help others find a route to their own excellence by helping them be willing to modify their status quo in a way that shifts congruently?

Once they have a route through to changing the status quo and know they’ll come out butter-side-up, they’ll know what they need to buy, and how and when they want to change. And THEN you can pitch, offer, suggest, or influence.


Sharon Drew Morgen is the author of 9 books, including NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity, and What? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard? She has developed facilitation material for sales/change management, coaching, and listening. To learn more about her sales, decision making, and change management material, ( go to To learn more about her work on closing the gap between what’s said and what’s heard, go to Contact Sharon Drew for training, keynotes, or online programs at Sharon Drew is currently designing programs for coaches to Find and Keep the Ideal Client, and Lead Facilitation for Lead Generation.

Contributor: Sharon Drew Morgen

Published here on: 27-Mar-16

Classification: Sales



Site Menu

| Home | Top | Quick Links | Settings |

Main sections: | Disciplines | Techniques | Principles | Explanations | Theories |

Other sections: | Blog! | Quotes | Guest articles | Analysis | Books | Help |

More pages: | Contact | Caveat | About | Students | Webmasters | Awards | Guestbook | Feedback | Sitemap | Changes |

Settings: | Computer layout | Mobile layout | Small font | Medium font | Large font | Translate |



Please help and share:


Quick links


* Argument
* Brand management
* Change Management
* Coaching
* Communication
* Counseling
* Game Design
* Human Resources
* Job-finding
* Leadership
* Marketing
* Politics
* Propaganda
* Rhetoric
* Negotiation
* Psychoanalysis
* Sales
* Sociology
* Storytelling
* Teaching
* Warfare
* Workplace design


* Assertiveness
* Body language
* Change techniques
* Closing techniques
* Conversation
* Confidence tricks
* Conversion
* Creative techniques
* General techniques
* Happiness
* Hypnotism
* Interrogation
* Language
* Listening
* Negotiation tactics
* Objection handling
* Propaganda
* Problem-solving
* Public speaking
* Questioning
* Using repetition
* Resisting persuasion
* Self-development
* Sequential requests
* Storytelling
* Stress Management
* Tipping
* Using humor
* Willpower


+ Principles


* Behaviors
* Beliefs
* Brain stuff
* Conditioning
* Coping Mechanisms
* Critical Theory
* Culture
* Decisions
* Emotions
* Evolution
* Gender
* Games
* Groups
* Habit
* Identity
* Learning
* Meaning
* Memory
* Motivation
* Models
* Needs
* Personality
* Power
* Preferences
* Research
* Relationships
* SIFT Model
* Social Research
* Stress
* Trust
* Values


* Alphabetic list
* Theory types


Guest Articles


| Home | Top | Menu | Quick Links |

© Changing Works 2002-
Massive Content — Maximum Speed