Can You Make People Scratch?

I live in the Southern United States. We have an insect in this region that will bite, cause a rash and provoke you called a “chigger.”  Many people call them “red bugs.”  Chiggers get on your skin and make you itch so much that you HAVE to scratch them. The little invaders attack campers, picnickers, hikers, bird watchers, berry pickers, fishermen, soldiers, and homeowners. Yeah, pretty much everyone in their environment.

Chiggers don’t burrow under your skin, they bite you on the surface. They don’t give you a warm, comfortable feeling. They make your skin itch and force you to scratch the rash.  Scratching is the only relief you can do without medication and it only begins to solve the itching problem.  When you have chigger bites, they really don’t itch all the time.  They really itch when you think about them and concentrate on the pain they have inflicted on your skin.

They are very, very small bugs.  But these small insects can make a very, very large person change their behavior by scratching and clawing their bites.

Pretty significant behavior modification program!

I learned a few years ago that people can’t be motivated. Sure, you can be influenced by others, but you have to motivate yourself. I also learned many years ago that people will change when their level of un-comfort forces them to quit doing any practice or habit that continually causes them pain or irritation. Otherwise, they have no interest in changing or reinventing themselves.

I would rather be an influencer, or chigger in someone’s life who makes them scratch (or itch enough to WANT to scratch) that they force them to change their way of thinking or acting. I would rather be a chigger than a motivator.

If you spend your time trying to change others, you will be wasting your time. Spend your time making them scratch their heads, their arms, their legs, their brains and you will see results.

Your customers might be content with the status quo on the surface, but they have itches that they need scratched. Your employees or staff may be going through the motions, but until you reveal their bug bites, they are hesitant to scratch them.

A sales trainer taught me that you have to find the problem, agitate it and make the prospect want a solution.  Then offer the solution.  Ask questions to make the other person agitated enough to want your solution.  Make them scratch the itch that already exists.

How can you be the Chigger on their skin?

Jim Mathis is an international speaker, executive coach, professional “chigger” and the Best Selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  You may subscribe to his free monthly newsletter by sending a message to:

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