“If knowledge is power, clandestine knowledge is power squared; it can be withheld, exchanged and leveraged.” ~ Letty Cottin
What do you need to do to sell an idea, an initiative, a new policy/procedure or change within your organization? You need leverage to give yourself confidence and a structured approach to make things happen the way you want them to.
Consider first outlining or scripting the conversations you need to have with colleagues, those who report to you and you report to, as well as those outside your area of responsibility who you need to fully implement the idea, policy or change successfully. Make sure you are prepared to persuade or sell all those who will be touched or affected by your plans. You need to be prepared to articulate what it is you are selling both internally and externally. Remember as you are trying to convince people to buy-in to your message that they are buying in for what they need as well as what you want. Simply stated, it is not just about you or the organization; frankly, in their mind it is all about them! Remember they all are tuned to WIIFM radio (What’s In It For Me). Leveraging the people you know and those who will be touched by your decisions and ideas is critical.
Leverage technology to help you persuade them. Social media if used properly and respectfully can be a solid way to stay “in front” of the people you want to influence. Use persuasive, quotes, articles, testimonials or even video that supports your message of change or new ideas. Use technology to build rapport with them.
Use the READ system to first build Rapport with your key constituents. When rapport is solid, trust will evolve to a high point. When you have built trust you can truly leverage the people to understand and support your message and initiative. To do this you must Establish the Needs of your stakeholders. If you don’t assess and address those needs effectively, you will never get the buy-in that’s essential for you to go forward.
When you have successfully established a rapport and a relationship and understand the needs, not only yours, but especially theirs, you are ready to Advance Solutions that will promote the change, ideas and initiatives you desire in a way that will produce the desired results.
With solutions in hand you can Develop their Commitment of support. This fourth step of the system or process comes easy when you have honored the first three–especially steps one and two. Too often, we ignore developing rapport and establishing need and err on the side of urgency and as a result come off as jamming the initiative down their throat. Following this system, I guarantee will bring you success.
Finally, it is critical to sell or persuade your audience using your strengths and talents. It insures that you will operate from a position of confidence. However, make certain you are applying those strengths appropriately, not where or when they don’t match the challenge. In other words know your weaknesses so you can adjust. Remember a misused strength becomes a weakness. Make no mistake, when used inappropriately that strength becomes a glaring weakness.
What I want to emphasize is using your management and leadership attributes and abilities to sell the big picture resulting in those ideas, initiatives and change brightening the picture for everyone who is impacted.
“As a person, as a professional you have no greater leverage than the truth.” – Paul Keating