Selling ideas

by daniel on October 2, 2008

There are ideas that are so great that they sell themselves in the organization. Those are the easy ideas to sell, you just show them and everybody agrees.

But what about the not so obvious ideas? The Ideas that need to be sold, where people needs convincing? Those are the majority of ideas where there are benefits and drawbacks, depending on the perspective. Sometimes the idea is yours, and sometimes the idea was brought up by someone else, and you would like to push it forward. Here are a few points for taking into account on how to sell an idea.

When analyzing ideas there are several things to take into account:

Is it really good?

What are the benefits?

What might be the drawbacks?

Who is likely to oppose?

Who is likely to support?

What might be the political aspects of the idea?


Don’t forget to take out the ego, as you might not be the one who had the idea.

The next step is to understand how the idea will be received by the involved people in two perspectives: the political analysis and the human reaction analysis.

Political analysis is most of the time a power analysis: who gains, who loses, what are the relations between the affected persons and how each one can see the idea.

The human reaction follows in respect of understanding how the politics will manifest, who will be offended, who will be pleased and who needs special attention.

The best way of action to my experience is to follow up the idea from the supporters up to the people most likely to oppose. Using this strategy, you can create a momentum, making the idea more sellable and receiving more inputs from the supporters. Don’t forget that the opposing parties will have good reasons and cannot be underestimated.

At the end, what sells the idea is how it is presented, no only the validity. So for most ideas, that are not self evident, effort is required for polishing the idea, preparing it to be sold and performing an actual selling.

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