When Pitching an Idea, Think like a Salesman

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Leadership Tip of the Week

from Harvard Business Review

When Pitching an Idea,Think Like a Salesman

The next time you have to pitch an idea or project to get stakeholder buy-in, take a tip from your sales colleagues and learn as much as you can about your “customer.”

Long before you make your proposal, gather information that will help you sell your idea.

Have a conversation with the stakeholder you’re trying to win over, and ask empathetic questions:

  • What problems do they need to solve?
  • What do they need to accomplish?
  • Do they have a personal goal, such as advancing in the organization?

Once you’ve figured out your customer’s motivations, you can tailor your proposal to suit their needs.

As a great “salesperson,” you should take a genuine interest in the stakeholder’s problems. Your pitch should describe how your idea or service will solve them.

Adapted from “How to Improve Your Sales Skills, Even If You’re Not a Salesperson,” by Rebecca Knight

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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