How to sell an idea to your boss
Want to know how to sell an idea to your boss? We have all the solutions right here. One of the biggest hurdles employees have is getting managers and stakeholders invested in their plans. While selling your ideas may be a challenge, and a good proposal doesn’t mean you’ll always succeed, there are some sure-fire ways to improve the chances.
In this BusinessManagementDaily.com article, we’ll cover:
- How to sell an idea to your boss
- Ways to win over management
- Strategies for making your ideas a reality
Turn your innovative ideas into reality
It’s time to take that great idea and turn it into something real. According to the Business School For The World, there are tools you can use for making your ideas a reality. According to the Harvard Business Review, the hardest hurdle for creative people is winning over management support for their ideas.
All great innovators use some type of system for turning their point of view into materialized substance. Use the following tactics to help you sell ideas to your boss:
Using stories to convince supporters is a proven method for gaining support for ideas. After all, narratives help others see how your idea would play in the real world (and hopefully how it would benefit them!). Sculpt your story into something that stimulates your boss, and stand by it. If your story is good enough, your boss will want to buy into the idea.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real, and the fact of the matter is that people want what other people want. Speak with different people about it, generate interest and support. If several people in your organization like the idea already, it’ll be harder for a supervisor to shut it down. Additionally, look at what others are doing. Do other departments do something similar? What about your competitors?
Similarly, endorsements and the support of others can show general support for the idea. Collect information on how it would improve the lives of certain stakeholders, perhaps even do some formal or informal surveys. Ideas with a lot of support behind them show that people are interested and invested, and will generally be harder to say no to.
Your idea will work 100 times better if you prove to your boss that it actually works. If you can make your idea into something physical, then your hard work will show. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to finish a whole project before getting the ok. However, creating a basic prototype or outline can help someone visualize how it’ll work and why it’s so beneficial.
Goals are rarely completed if you aren’t committed. You have to ask yourself: “Am I really committed to this idea, or is it something that might blow over in a couple of days/weeks/months?”
An Olympic gold medalist doesn’t fumble through choosing which event to participate in. Instead, a champion chooses their event and works harder than ever to accomplish that goal. It’s the same with pitching your ideas to your boss.
Tactics for getting buy-in
Forge a winning relationship with your boss
For better, or worse, people are more likely to give you a chance or take a risk on you if they have a good relationship with you. That means you’ve got to do some prep work to make sure your boss really likes you. Simple actions like being punctual and completing work tasks correctly are huge with management. The last thing you want to do is slack off or show any kind of disrespect to your boss.
Communication is another big part of forming a good relationship with your boss. Employees who can casually communicate with the decision-makers always end up getting a raise because they create a comfortable working environment for everyone.
Give your boss a compliment every now and then to make them like you better.
Ask for input
Ask someone with more experience than you to help paint a more detailed picture of your idea.
Don’t be afraid to take constructive criticism from management and peers. Some ideas may sound great inside your head, but things might change when you manifest them into the physical world.
Need some sources for asking for input? Try websites like LinkedIn and reach out to others in similar industries to run ideas by. You can even ask peers in your organization to review your plan ahead of time. This will give you an idea of how your boss will react, and you might even end up making some strong connections in the process.
Chances are, your boss is going to have objections to your idea, and your job is to see them coming. Make a list (or mental list) of the possible objections your boss might make and a game plan for a way around the potential bump in the road.
Don’t be discouraged if your boss incorporates their own ideas into your plan, but rather accept them as positive energy in your quest for success.
Show your boss how the idea will improve the company
There isn’t a leader in the world who will make a change if they don’t think it will improve their situation. Like we stated earlier in this article, materializing your idea will make a world of difference when it comes to idea approval.
You can try techniques like crafting an elevator pitch that will help motivate your boss to take action once they hear about your great idea.
Sizing up your boss
Observing your boss closely will help you get a feel for how to sell them an idea, and it’s the little things that matter. Maybe your boss feels the happiest after their morning cup of coffee, for example. Times like these are the best time to pitch ideas.
In another example, you may have a boss that doesn’t understand new market technologies well. This type of boss has no idea about social media, Instagram influencers, Facebook marketing, Google Ads, etc… If you’re a technology buff then this might be extremely inconvenient for you, but that’s no reason to despair. You might need to start off by explaining some key background information before jumping into your pitch. Make yourself an invaluable asset and a source of useful information.
Persuasion involves… being persuasive. If you want your boss to like an idea, you should plan ahead by buttering them up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with getting on someone’s good side, especially when it’s a person that can help you. Simply buying lunch one day might not move the needle much, but showing interest in what they’re working on and making sure they’re in a good mood before you approach the conversation can go a long way.
Focus on your bosses strengths
One of the best ways to persuade your boss is to be positive with them. In most cases, a boss wants employees to like them, and they might feel uncomfortable if a certain employee is always criticizing them. That doesn’t mean you should never highlight errors, however, also show your appreciation for things they do well. Everyone appreciates some recognition, even bosses.
Be a boss
Sure, you may not be the one in charge, but you can still act like you know what you’re doing. Confidence is persuasive. Showing that you’re prepared, confident, and thought things through gives you a one-up in the situation.