Persuasion skills to sell your ideas

08 Apr 2020

How to be persuasive in selling your ideas

There is a lot of emphasis on coming up with innovative ideas and proposals in most organizations. Indeed many come up with good ideas too.

But my own experience shows, it is one thing to come up with an idea, and it is altogether a different thing to sell or persuade others to agree to your idea.

It is an art and a skill to persuade others to accept our ideas. And if you are a leader in the organization you must possess the best persuading skills to get your ideas accepted. If a manager or leader is not able to sell his idea, then it is very likely that his influence with his team members as well as his stakeholders will go down.

If you are finding difficult to put across your idea to your team or your stakeholders, to your boss then this article will be of help.

This 4-point framework (sourced from Mark Ford, who is famous for persuasion skills ) helps anyone to develop a clear strategy on how to get buy-in from others about the ideas. I have used the below 4 steps many times in my own career and it has helped me immensely.

Step One: Figure out what you want

Before presenting your idea or proposal, it is always better to figure out how you can benefit from it. Setting a specific, measurable goal for oneself is very important and then figuring how this can be achieved.  

Many have some general impressions of what benefit they are going to get by proposing an idea. General impressions alone not sufficient. It must be broken down to understand strategically how it benefits. Clearly list down 3 to 5 top benefits of your idea.

Step Two: Figure out what the other person wants.

This is key in the organization. Not everyone ready to accept your views as it is. Even though many don’t express their point openly, they will have a certain viewpoint and when new ideas are proposed, and they will look for how it benefits them. Hence it is important to ensure beforehand, how your idea or any proposal helps the overall organization, stakeholders and other team members.

Make it a point to drive home, how the idea or new proposal benefits the company, different members and teams. This will easily help you get the required support.

By putting the company first, you will enlist the respect and support of just about everyone. You will establish yourself as a natural leader. And then, when you explain how the new idea or project will benefit each person individually, you will see how quickly they line up to support you.

Step Three: Take time to consider the objections.

Understanding in advance what potential objections might come to your proposal and coming up with clear and concise arguments will help audience that you listen to them.

Break the objections down into their component parts. Analyse those parts. Discover their weaknesses or find ways to minimize them. Base your thinking on research, if you have time to do it.

But also think about your past experience. Remember that your ultimate objective is to find solutions that are good not just for you but for the people you’re speaking to.

Step Four: Keep it simple.

After you have taken these first three steps, you will be very excited to present your case. But then you will start coming up with all sorts of extra ideas.

All sorts of secondary benefits and arguments that might be useful if you were writing a long paper, but which will only hamper your effectiveness if you include them in your oral presentation.

So before you make your pitch, make a conscious decision NOT to mention these secondary considerations. Just focus on the main idea and the primary benefits. And state them as clearly and compellingly as you can.