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Friday, 01st of December 2017
How you can sell any idea to anybody


As an Ambitious Leader you're actually in a selling position: you need to sell your ideas, and you need to sell your trustworthiness so that people are willing to follow you into a certain direction.

In most industries the days of hard selling are over. Selling becomes more attracting. And that surely applies to yourself when you want to deliver your message. Then you're attracting people who are willing to hear, and people who are willing to believe.

In this blog I will give you a structure that you can use to sell any of your ideas to anybody!

Communication is not only about what you say, but also about how you say it, and especially about why you say it.
We're not going to focus on the why-part right now, so let's assume that you know why you are willing to communicate and why you want to convince the people around you.
The how-part of your communication has many layers. This is about your body language, your appearance, the usage of your voice, and also about the structure of your communication.
Let's zoom into that last one: the structure of your communication.

When you want to sell an idea to someone, it's crucial that you build a bridge towards that person. He or she has probably another background and other thinking patterns then you, so it is not a fixed fact that whatever you communicate will immediately be understood.
One of my mentors had a brilliant expression for that:
"We, as people, have the natural inability to understand each other!"
So expect that the communication will go wrong, and act accordingly to do everything possible to prevent it from going wrong.

Another aspect is the limitation of time. Everybody is busy, everybody has lots of things to do, and everybody who wants to deliver a message is fighting for a part of the same 86400 seconds that are available in 1 day. The person who is (hopefully) going to receive your message has an ever broadening choice on how to spend his/her 86400 seconds. So why should someone give you a part of his/her time?

Beside the time limitation it is also a fact that we are social beings. So instead of just listening to someone, we rather prefer to listen to someone who is recommended by someone of our network. We are willing to listen to people who are convincing enough to already have convinced others.

And a last fact is that we are all so overloaded with information that we -consciously or unconsciously- filter out a lot of things that reach us. So only when the receiver actually wants to listen to you, then you are sure that your message will come through. If not, then you're just yelling in an open space where nobody wants to listen to you.

Now if we combine those facts, then I can give you a 4 step communication structure:
  1. Problem: Show that you really understand the world of the person who you want to 'sell' your idea to. This means that you know, and genuinely understand his/her problems and challenges. By sharing that, you build trust. And when people really feel understood, then they are more likely going to give you a part of their 86400 seconds.
  2. Promise: Generating a feeling of being understood is a good start, but that's not enough to be sure you get the attention that is needed to really transfer your message. People are willing to know why they should listen to you. So you should give an answer to the question "What's in it for me?", which is a question that probably every potential listener will ask in his/her head.
  3. Proof: Because we are social beings, we are constantly looking for social proof. If you can't provide some sort of proof in your message, then people filter you out even before you are finished.
  4. Ping: With the first 3 steps you are actually building a willingness to listen. Only when that willingness is present, when the metaphorical door to the full attention of your listeners is opened, then you can really deliver your message and make your point.
If you use this 4 step structure for every important message you want to deliver, or for every idea you truly want to get landed, then your chances will be already much higher!

As mentioned in the beginning, this alone will not make the miracle. There are also influences of your body language (listen to the Ambitious Leader Podcast episode on this topic by clicking here), and there are also influences of your appearance (next week a new podcast episode will be released especially around that topic).

The 4 steps as such are easy to explain, but as always, the devil is in the detail and practice makes perfect. So start today and take up the following action items:
Good luck!
And if you don't feel sure about it, or you want to get challenged on it, then feel free to reach out to me.

Written by Dennis Fredrickx

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