You have a terrific idea for your organization—a way to save money, streamline a process, or initiate a new procedure. But how do you sell your idea to the boss, coworkers and management in order to get a green light? Here are some of the best strategies for presenting your ideas so that they’re enthusiastically embraced.
Think your idea through.
Does it reduce costs? Increase productivity? Boost the organization’s bottom line? Just as important: Does it support your organization’s goals and those of your boss? If the answers are “no,” you need to go back to the drawing board. If the answers are “yes,” it’s time to plan out the steps needed to sell your idea and carry it out.
Create a pitch.
To sell your idea, you’ll need a twenty-second to one-minute description of your product, service, or project. It should explain the benefits to your organization, including whatever you wish to solve, resolve, or improve; the estimated costs in time, money, and people hours; the potential upsides of your idea if it’s approved; and the potential downsides if it’s rejected.
Test it out.
Run your pitch by colleagues. Ask for feedback. Try to anticipate objections and have answers at the ready. Which aspects of the idea do they support, and which do they question or oppose? View negative feedback as constructive criticism. Perhaps your idea isn’t viable or needs tweaking. If so, make changes as needed.
Run the idea past the boss.
Now, give him or her your (tweaked) pitch. If they express interest, set up a one-on-one meeting. Remember—the boss will likely need to sell the idea to their boss. How will they explain an increased budget and/or workload? If necessary, bring a written outline with you for your boss to present to management.
Be passionate about your idea.
To sell your idea to others you must be enthusiastic about it. Explain all the reasons your idea excites you so others are as taken with it as you are. Additionally, know that when others assess and/or contribute to your idea, they’ll feel they have a stake in it too.
Propose a trial run.
If you’ve sold your idea and have enough buy-in, suggest a pilot plan. This will allow the boss and/or management to see if the idea will truly work—without going overboard on costs, people hours, or commitment. If the pilot succeeds, you’re likely home free to execute the entire proposal!