S2.E10: Case Study: Selling People on What They Need with Ken Bélanger

In this episode, Ken Bélanger shares a funny Heli skiing story that highlights the challenges of trying to talk people out of doing something that will probably not meet their needs in the long run. We look at some of the lessons learned from Ken’s story and offer some strategies to manage these types of situations.

Ken Bélanger is an ACMG Ski and Hiking Guide and the owner of Elevation Guides. Ken’s story highlights the difficulties that leaders can face when they are trying to balance giving people what they want versus what they really need but may not realize it.

Key takeaways

How can we sell someone into do something they need, when they don’t think they want it? Here are four options:

Try Persuasion: Strategies include reasoning with them, offering to do something better, tell them that what they won’t enjoy whatever it is they want to do. Avoid telling people they can’t do it, this can just sound like a challenge to some people.

Use Force: When the level of risk is high, you may have to force them to do something they may not think they want to do. Strategies include a hard no, cresting and sighting rules, and having to attain a skills-based objective or proficiency level before doing something harder.

Let them Suffer: If there is a low risk of serious consequences, it is possible to give people a taste of how hard of uncomfortable a situation will be if they don’t do what you are suggesting. This only works if it is safe and there is an escape route.

Hope that it works out: When there is a low risk, they refuse to change course or listen to you, the damage can be contained or there are no other options, you may have to just hope things work out!

Guest Links

Elevation Guides: www.elevationguides.ca

Ken Bélanger on Instagram: @elevationguides

Guest Bio

Ken Bélanger is an ACMG Ski, Hiking, and Via Ferrata Guide, CAA Professional Member, CANSI Level 1 Nordic Ski & Telemark instructor, CSIA level 1, and Advanced Wilderness Adventure Medic.

Although Ken grew up in Calgary not far from the mountains with his single father and two brothers, they didn’t have the financial means to explore them. It wasn’t until his late teens when he could self-fund trips that he finally discovered skiing and hiking.

He was immediately hooked. It was a steep learning curve to overcome his fear of heights and water, but within a few years he was instructing and guiding water-sports, climbing, cycling, and nordic and telemark skiing.

Ken considers himself extremely fortunate to have learned under some fantastic guides and instructors along the way.

Now operating Elevation Guides with nearly 30 years of guiding experience in 23 countries, he couldn’t imagine a better career. Ken resides in Canmore, Alberta at the doorstep of beautiful Banff National.

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