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The Art of Selling Your Ideas

You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.

          Lee Iacocca, former chairman of Chrysler


Mastering the art of selling your ideas is an important skill business leaders need to learn in order to succeed. This skill involves winning others over to your ideas by persuasion without coercion. There are several ways this can be accomplished:

  • Prepare and polish your ideas
  • Know who makes the decisions
  • Make a compelling presentation
  • Secure both individual and organizational commitment

There are several ways to make a compelling presentation. Match the presentation to the mental and emotional make-up of the decision maker.  You can do this by talking with people close to the decision maker and asking a few simple questions to determine their mindset. There are several mindsets the decision maker could fall into:

  • Assertive – someone who takes charge, wants an efficient and results-oriented approach
  • Commander – values getting the job done, good at delegating work to others
  • Quiet and calculating – assesses the situation and values accuracy in details
  • Promoter or gregarious – enjoys working with others and works to build a consensus among the group
  • Advocate or motivator – creative and inspires ideas in others

Next match the presentation to the mindset of the decision maker. You can do this through several different techniques: 

  •  Take a rational approach for someone who is assertive
  • For an advocate or motivator be sure to incorporate their vision
  • Take a relationship-based approach for a promoter
  • Be authentic and preserve the role of the commander
  • Make it a win-win strategy when appealing to someone who is quiet and calculating

Of course you must be aware of the politics of the office to secure the commitment from the organization.  Some barriers you may encounter are:

  • Difficulty forming relationships
  • Lack of credibility
  • Conflicting interests
  • Uncompromising beliefs

In a nut shell, the keys to making a successful and persuasive presentation to sell your ideas  are to tune into your audience, be prepared and work  with the politics of the office in securing organizational commitment.