Have a Great Idea? Now It’s Time to Sell It.
You have an awesome idea for work. You are excited about it, and think about it over some time. You feel your passion for it increasing. You work up the courage to share it with your boss or your team, and, it is shunned down or rejected!
The first breakthrough to seeing a great idea for work become a reality is to sell it effectively. You may not directly be in a sales role. You may be an analyst, coordinator, designer, or engineer. However, when it comes to persuading your boss, team, employer or even your direct reports to try out a new product, feature, or process, you have to put on your salesperson hat.
Prepare with the following steps for your next idea at work.
Define Your Idea: Fully understand your idea, especially what problem it solves. Do your research and find data that supports why your idea is valuable. Ask 5 whys to fully understand the solution your idea offers. Identify substitute and competing solutions for your idea. Define your idea’s features, users, pros, cons, and identify your idea’s use cases and stories.
Identify the Benefit Your Idea Will Bring: Identify the benefit your idea will bring to the organization or to its customers or employees, including the pain points your idea addresses. Additionally, identify the unique and direct benefit it will bring to the person or team you are presenting it to - this may be different depending on whether you sharing your idea to the marketing, sales, or finance team.
Align Your Idea to Your Organization’s Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals: If your organization is customer focused, align your idea with how it improves customers’ experience. If your organization is set on decreasing costs, align how your idea will help in reducing expenses. Whatever are your organization's strategic plan, mission, vision, values, and short and long term goals, determine how your idea helps support them.
Find Supporters: Start small with the buy-in you need from your colleagues and peers for your idea. If appropriate, share your idea with other stakeholders other than the main decision makers and share the benefit it can directly bring to them, their team, or the organization. Additionally, hear their feedback and observations. What they share can help you make your idea stronger or help you identify holes or gaps in your idea.
Make an Implementation Plan: Identify what resources and people are needed to bring your idea to life and identify a potential timeline, including any testing, prototyping, and training which may be needed. Identify tasks, goals, and milestones for the roll out of your idea.
Prepare for Presenting Your Idea: Using each of the above pointers, prepare for how you will present your idea to the decision makers, whether it is one-on-one to a supervisor or at a team meeting. Develop an elevator pitch and an executive summary for your idea. Depending on the setting, build a presentation, video, or any other tool that will help you present your idea. Lastly, practice presenting your idea, including what you will say and how you will say it.
Remember, that no matter your role in an organization you have the ability to bring value through your innovation, critical thinking, and determination, and ensuring your are selling your ideas effectively help you maximize the impact you can create.