5 Ways to Win Buy-In For Your Idea

So you’ve got an amazing idea to make the company money, reduce costs, save time, or win loyalty from customers. Only one problem: you’re at the bottom and you’re not sure how to get your idea to the top.

In Fantasy Land, a good idea will “speak for itself,” but in the real world you should realize that an idea can’t talk or even be seen. When telling someone – your boss, the CEO, etc – about your snazzy new idea, the words you choose will affect his or her understanding and feelings, positive or negative, about what you’re offering up.

When shaping your pitch, try these tactics to win buy-in and get your idea on the radar and at the top of the priority list.

Conduct a Survey or Test

You probably don’t have the resources to do massive market research, but if you can break down the basics of your idea and figure out a way to survey friends, users, or potential customers about it or some aspect of it, the strength of the results will go a long way in solidifying your case.

If part of your concept can be A/B tested in an email or landing page, having those results will also strengthen your case and prove that the potential is there.

Compare Your Idea to Similar Ideas That Have Been Successful

You’ve probably heard about movie pitches where someone says, “It’s like Charlie’s Angels but with guys!” or “It’s The Hangover with senior citizens!” Screenwriters connect their concepts with prior successes because doing so makes their idea seem less risky. Ideas in business are the same; less risky is a good thing. Your idea should sound like a sure thing, not a weekend adventure in Vegas.

Do Your Research

Are other companies doing what you suggest? What were their results like? What else is going on in the market? By proving that you know what’s going on, you also prove that you know what you’re talking about and that your ideas can be trusted.

For example, if your idea has a Apple/Siri tie-in, it’s likely to win major press coverage if you announce it soon. Gather stats on the number of Siri-related news stories in the past few weeks and cite your findings as justification that your idea is a smart investment.

Support Other People’s Ideas

When you support the ideas of others, they will be more likely to support your ideas. It’s that simple.

It’s important to note, however, that “support” doesn’t necessarily mean shouting from the rooftops. Offering to lend an ear is support in and of itself. Of course, if the idea is stellar, then you should champion it, but if it’s not, then giving your opinion and some constructive critique can also be helpful. And remember, when giving your opinion – especially a negative opinion – always take care with your language and word choice. If you’re wrong and the idea is a home run, you may regret what you said.

Work On Your Elevator Pitch

Most good ideas can be quickly and easily summarized for a knowledgeable audience. Notice how I wrote “knowledgeable”? Your grandmother doesn’t need to be your test audience, especially if your “big idea” involves semi-conductors or, say, Twitter. But when speaking to a peer or an industry insider, you should be able to explain the main tenants of your idea and its selling points in a few sentences or less.

As I wrote in a previous post, knowing how to tease out the most important info also helps build your credibility because it demonstrates that you’re willing to put your audience’s interests first.

Good pitches are generally short, memorable, and address listeners’ top questions. Does your pitch do all three?

Bonus Links!

If you liked this, you might also enjoy…

3 Lessons Siri Can Teach You About Marketing
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Netflix’s Big Goof: 5 Copywriting Blunders in Its Recent Announcement

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~ by SFcopywriter on November 1, 2011.

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