How to Sell Your Ideas With Confidence
You have a great idea, something compelling and interesting.
You give your pitch and the crowd goes.. Well, to be frank the crowd goes mild.
How did this happen?
You rehearsed everything in your head. The idea was great but the blank expressions are telling you something different.
You wanted to hit a home run but now you just want to run, anywhere. There are some basic rules for getting your ideas across and hitting that home run.
I want to share seven strategies on how you can sell your ideas with confidence
You Have To Tell A Story
If you are reeling off a product spec then prepare for eyes to glaze over. Your audience will switch off if they don’t identify a need for the idea.
Your brain loves pictures, it helps you to learn and make sense of the world. Aim to paint a picture with your words and the idea you want to sell. Tell your story about why the idea is important. What problem will it solve? How will they feel? Ensure your audience is clear on the benefit and how it will make their life easier.
Your story should stress the belief you are about to do something positive and powerful.
Why Is This Important?
Most people will talk about what the idea will do or how it will do it.
If you can focus on the ‘why’ of the idea then people are more likely to get hooked. If you have not thought about the ‘why’ before then it boils down to the purpose, the beliefs the unique proposition of the idea.
Think about Disneyland. What Disney do operate an amusement park. How they do it is by dressing people up as Disney characters. The rides are themed to match the films they create. But they also do so much more than this.
It is Disney’s ‘why’ that makes them different. Disney’s ‘why’ is to ‘Make People Happy.’ That’s it. Such simplicity in a world of complicated mission statements.
When you see Disney’s adverts you are not thinking about what they do or how they do it. You are thinking ‘That looks like an awesome place, everyone looks so happy! I want to be part of it!’ It is not what they do or how they do it, it is all about ‘why’ they do what they do.
Raise The Objection First
A classic sales technique. You know your idea is going to be questioned and it has some flaws, right? In raising them first it shows your audience you have recognised their concern. In turn they will be less likely to object because they feel acknowledged. Clever, huh?
Raising the objection first is not about weakening your idea. What you are doing is recognising your audience and saying ‘Hey, I’m with you on this one. I get it.’
It also gives you a great opportunity. You can counter the objections you raise with an idea to overcome the objection. How amazing is that? It’s like you planned the whole thing..
A word of warning. Objections could still come through and they could include issues you have not considered. No matter how much you prepare, watch out for those curve-balls.
If this happens go with it, don’t panic. Most objections are because people don’t understand something. You have an opportunity to clarify and help their understanding. If you are getting a ton of objections then your story may stink or you have not focused enough on the ‘why.’
Who Else Has Done This?
Your audience will be attempting to connect your idea to what has gone before. This is natural and people are comfortable with what they know. Use this knowledge to calm any fears about the idea you want to launch. Pull out success stories from other initiatives and link it back to the positives of your idea.
People in business love to know a few things:
What will the outcome be?
What will good look like (I’ve always hated this question. I don’t know why. It is irrational to dislike it but I still don’t like it)?
How will we measure its success?
You may not have all the answers. Be ready to provide at least some idea of what will happen when you launch the idea. If there is no output or it is going to be hard to measure you face an uphill battle in getting the idea to stick.
In a work environment engagement is always a good one to go with. Any new idea is likely to have an impact on engagement. You still need to think about how you will measure this. If it can be locked down into a report, then go with engagement.
Share It Before You Share It.
It can be a good idea to pitch your idea to a couple of your friends/peers. This gives you an opportunity to try out your pitch, gauge reactions and work on objections. If your mini audience like what they hear they will become early adopters of your idea. If this happens you are closer to having your idea accepted by the wider group. Think of them as your cheer leaders.
There is nothing better than early adopters. The risk takers. The people who will go with an idea and see what happens. Once you have this group of people onside the rest of the group will normally come with them.
Harder to achieve this if you are selling your idea one on one. This means it is likely to be your boss or who ever is in charge of making key decisions. If this is your scenario then focus on the tangible and how it will provide a solution to the problem. Keep in mind that if the idea works it will make them look good. Use this!
If In Doubt, Pilot
Sometimes you just don’t get the response you want. The idea needs refinement, it has too many objections or your idea could be just too out there. If there is an atmosphere of people being risk averse then suggest a pilot. If you have not come across a pilot before it means a trial period. Push for three months with a review after one month. This is typical of many pilots.
A pilot minimises the risk for the group (it could be pulled without any notice). It gives you enough time to run the idea, measure how it is working and reinforce the benefits of the idea.
A pilot will also provide you with some protection. If the idea is great in theory but horrible in practice you can choose to pull the idea before anyone else makes the decision for you. Get feedback all throughout the pilot. The feedback will be invaluable in moving to full launch or going back to the drawing board to enhance it.
Preparation, in selling any idea, is key so make sure you know the details.
Focus on the above seven techniques and you increase your chance of selling your ideas with confidence
I would love to hear about any successful pitches and how you are selling your ideas with confidence.
Believe and Take Action