How To Win People Over To Your Ideas
How do you sell your ideas? You know, when you’ve got that great project, or that terrific idea and you want other people to say, “Yes”.
A client of mine, let’s call her Jane, had a situation like this when she had a big change management project and needed to get a whole series of people on board.
And my client, John, he had a situation like this when he was wanting to negotiate his raise with his boss, but wasn’t sure it was going to work out.
Whether it’s an internal situation, a proposal to a client, or simply getting a partner to want to go to the gym, I’m going to share with you seven things you can do to be more effective.
7 Ways To Win People Over To Your Ideas
1. Stop Selling
‘Selling’ in the dictionary means ‘to give or hand over something in exchange for money’. No wonder people don’t like to be sold to, and no wonder it feels transactional.
This was Jane’s big ‘Aha’, where she realized that she needed to stop selling the idea so hard.
2. Don’t Psych Yourself Out
Don’t psych yourself out because then you won’t even have the conversation. That’s where John was heading when he said, “Ah, my boss is never going to say yes. Should I even talk to him?” Of course you should have the conversation!
We all want to live a no regrets life, and that means taking every action you can and doing everything you can. Then after that, you can let the result be the result.
3. Get Clear On Your Goal
As you’re doing all this, you want to be really clear on what your goal is for the situation.
Is your goal to get people to say yes on the spot? Sometimes that’s tough to achieve. Or is it to start to get buy-in, or is it to simply get people to understand your point of view, and have an open mind and consider your point of view?
So, get clear on what your goal is.
4. Sit On The Same Side
You want to sit on the same side as the other person, and that’s figuratively, as you’re preparing your case. This means that you are thinking about it from their perspective.
What’s in it for them? What kind of dialogue is already going on in their minds on this subject? Make sure you align with that and be cognizant of it.
Then literally sit on the same side when you’re in the room with them. I really like the idea of sitting side by side, or diagonally across – I think they call it ‘kitty corner’ – rather than across a big table, which seems very distant and much more confrontational.
5. Give A Reason
People are much more likely to help each other and be open when they understand why. And if you can state that ‘why’ from the other person’s perspective, all the better.
Jane could talk about in terms of, “When this project goes forward, your team will then be on the cutting edge of knowing everything there is to know about this new development.” Or, John could acknowledge that his boss is going to be his main advocate, thank him for that and say, “Look, I just wanted to help you make the case.”
6. Make The Case
This is what I call ‘paint the picture’. When you’re painting the picture, you want to be coming from a place of asking, listening and sharing, rather than telling and selling, which doesn’t work nearly as well.
You also want to be making the case in a format or in a mode that is really comfortable for you, and also do it in a way that takes into account how the other person likes being communicated to.
For example, John is a much more confident and fluid writer than he is a speaker, especially in a tricky situation. So he decided he was going to write out all the facts of the case and give that to his boss before they started talking, so, at a minimum, all the information would be there. But he knew his boss had a very short attention span, so he did it in bullet points instead of long sentences, and that worked well.
7. Close Out The Conversation
If you’ve achieved your goal, which is why it’s so important to know what it is, then just say thank you and stop talking. In fact, you probably want to just get up and leave gracefully.
On the other hand, if you’ve hit a brick wall then I like to ask a question like, “What would it take for this to be a good idea from your perspective?” Or, “What would need to be true, what would need to happen, in order for your team to support this idea?” You get a lot of good information that way.
How Do You Get People To Say “Yes”?
So whether it’s at work, or in the rest of your life, we are all going to have a lot of situations where we want other people to say “Yes” to our ideas.
What I’d like to know is what are your best strategies for getting people to say, “Yes”? What works for you in making that ‘sale’? Scroll on down and leave a comment.
Great ideas – thanks for another helpful post! Reading the subject naturally reminded me of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Here are his 12 “rules” of winning folks to your way of thinking:
Twelve Ways of Winning People to Your Way of Thinking:
Rule 1 – The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Rule 2 – Show respect for the other man’s opinions. Never tell a man he is wrong.
Rule 3 – If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Rule 4 – Begin in a friendly way.
Rule 5 – Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
Rule 6 – Let the other man do a great deal of the talking.
Rule 7 – Let the other man feel that the idea is his.
Rule 8 – Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Rule 9 – Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
Rule 10 – Appeal to the nobler motives.
Rule 11 – Dramatize your ideas.
Rule 12 – Throw down a challenge.
As my Dad would’ve said, “Use them in the best of health!”
These are great rules indeed – thank you so much for sharing them here, Jonathan. And yes, let’s use them in the best of health!
By the way, my experience is that most of us find Rule 7 especially difficult! Which reminds me of a great quote from former US President Harry S. Truman: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
I think it is important to find colleagues who could advocate for you. Sometimes this could be tricky as you have to consider the motive as to why he/she will advocate for you. If there are positive colleagues, colleagues who genuinely support each other’s growth, that’s ideal.
Excellent point! Finding advocates is a great strategy. And if there are not so many “positive colleagues” in one’s organization, there may be some whose interests are aligned on this topic. Then they might be natural allies who advocate for you and your idea out of self interest.
Thank you for sharing this!