Seven tips for selling your ideas

Published: 07 April 2017 By 2015 Harvard Business School

Seven tips for selling your ideas  

 

Image: Thinkstock

Image: Thinkstock

 

 

Let’s say that you’ve got an idea for your workplace - something that will improve your company’s bottom line, for example, or a way to create a better work environment. How do you get people to listen to you?

In an ideal world, you’d come up with a genius new idea, tell your co-workers about it, and they’d immediately grasp its brilliance. Your boss would love it - and also love you - and give you the resources you need to execute your idea. But that’s not reality. So how do you get people on board?

Here are some pointers on how to get your idea moving:

1. Understand what’s motivating you. Ask yourself two questions: Why am I doing this? And what do I hope to accomplish? If the initiative seems like something that will only make you more successful, give you more exposure or help you get a better job, people will be sceptical. Your idea needs to benefit more than just you.

2. Think small. Pick precisely where you want to focus.

3. Gather feedback. Broach your idea in an informal way. Say something like: “I’ve been thinking about this,” or “What would you think of this?” and see how people react. Make sure to converse in a way that ensures a response and feedback.

4. Shape your story. Strategise how you’ll sell your initiative to different groups of colleagues and higher-ups. Bear in mind that everyone has different learning styles. It’s important to augment your message by combining visual appeal with what you’ve written and what you’re talking about.

5. Sell, sell, sell. You want to trigger people’s emotions as well as their rational selves. When you talk about your plans, you want people getting a little bit more of the idea and signing on to it a little bit more each time.

6. Propose a pilot. Pilots give people a chance to test out the idea. If you don’t have the power to allocate budget to a pilot, you need to sell harder to those who do.

7. Don’t get discouraged. Even when it seems you’re constantly running into roadblocks and your initiative may never get off the ground, don’t be deterred. Be persistent, but make sure you’re incorporating people’s feedback. Copyright 2015 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp

 

Previously published in The Irish Times.

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