We all can use proven tips for selling our ideas that are not yet fully formulated. Here are few that can help you succeed in persuading others to buy into your proposals, despite a lack of preparation and the need to serve them up before they are fully cooked.
- Don’t just stand up and give information. Ask provocative questions. Make them try to think of the answer – to get them focused and involved. Then when you see the expression on their faces that means they are puzzled or stumped – bam! You explain your solution to the problem.
- Put your idea out there and encourage others to help shape it, since it is still not solidified. That kind of collaborative group-think teamwork helps to solve problems and “bake” your idea so it is more tangible and actionable. But it also makes others at the table feel personally invested in its success!
- Don’t deliver your most convincing and powerful point first. Save it for last – because the last thing out of your mouth is the first thing they will remember. To make that work, though, you have to still have their full attention. Never say a paragraph when a memorable sound bite or one-liner will suffice.
- Do you ever hear bosses use business “win-win” buzzwords or impressive-sounding language and you respond with a yawn? Overused or overly contrived language is a sleep aid, not a good presentation tool. Instead, speak in clear, easily understood language that cuts through the corporate-speak and has real meaning and impact.
- You also want to always present ideas as solutions to challenges faced by those you are addressing. The solution needs to be about them, in particular, otherwise why should they care? As much as possible avoid generalities. Try to specifically state what you mean – such as “performance will rise by at least 20% and revenue will go up 10%.”
- While specifics/statistics are powerful persuaders, don’t go deep into the weeds about process. If the idea is still half-baked don’t attempt to explain “how” your plan will work. Just focus on what it will actually accomplish –the end result you envision. Once you get people to buy into that vision you’ll have time to elaborate, collaborate, and flesh-out all the important (and oftentimes boring) details.
Predictable Promotion Exercise
For this exercise, there are 3 steps.
- Write down one idea you have that is still not quite ready for prime time. Then write 3-5 main reasons why you think the idea is valuable and worth developing.
- For each of the reasons you cited, try to come up with one reason why it will benefit the decision-makers you need to sell your idea to for it to gain traction.
- What “pain points” can you hit that will make them feel the urgency to implement this idea? How can you tie those to a solution, to get them to see the real value of your idea?
You can use this 3-step formula any time you need to sell an idea that is still half-baked, and the more you practice it the easier it will be for you to apply it to any good idea you have.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified image master (CIM) and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2015, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIM, CPBS 1-800-267-3245, [email protected]
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