The business life is full of situations in which we are fighting for what we want. That’s why I’ve taken the past couple weeks to write about how to effectively connect with people of influence within your spheres, and how to get what you want in negotiations.
Well, in running my Long Island and Stamford tax and accounting firm, I’ve had plenty of people pitch me ideas or services — some successfully … others not so much.
And this week, I have a few things that I am wanting to put in front of some people, so I was reviewing my own “idea salesmanship” strategies and thought that my Long Island and Stamford clients might benefit from the little crib sheet I put together for pitching ideas (or a product, of course — though I do much less of that than many sales professionals).
Salesmanship Strategies: How To Get What You Want From Long Island and Stamford High Level Decision-Makers
“Being an icon is overrated, remember an icon can be moved by a mouse.” -William Shatner
It pays to be ready with an outline for how things should go when you need a favorable decision. I know I like to be prepared. I am an accountant, after all.
So, whether you’re seeking a decision from inside or outside your organization, keep the following in mind as you get ready for the meeting:
Be prepared. Do your homework. Even if you’ve worked with this person or organization for years, take the time to confirm his or her priorities so you can position your idea appropriately.
Open with your conclusion. Don’t make a busy manager wait for you to get to the point. Explain what you want up front so the person doesn’t feel you’re wasting his or her time.
Clearly describe the problem you’re trying to solve. Your idea won’t mean much unless it deals directly with an important issue facing your counterpart, or the organization as a whole. Spell out the need in quantifiable terms so managers can evaluate your solution.
Outline the benefits. Be realistic — your idea won’t solve every challenge, and it’s perhaps even more important to state as such. People hate hype. But do let the decision maker know how your idea will help the organization achieve its goals.
Deal with the costs. Show that you’ve done the necessary work by examining the obstacles and costs associated with your solution. Don’t dwell on them, but be honest. You’ll further reinforce your credibility.
Request a commitment. Every salesperson knows how to ask for the sale. Once you’re finished (and remember to be brief!), ask your counterpart for a decision and a commitment to putting your idea into action. Otherwise the decision-maker may not understand what you’re really asking for.
Michael J. Kessler, CPA
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