How to Sell a New Idea to Your Boss
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Although you may have tough conversations with your boss every week, none can be quite as daunting as "the pitch" you know, when you have a great idea, but you've also got to convince your manager it's a winner. Whether you're interested in pursuing a big client, buying equipment or even throwing a party, you've got to come to the conversation prepared. To convince your boss you're right, follow these five tips on the best ways to sell an idea in the workplace.
1. Find "the win" by doing your homework.
First and foremost, do your homework, says Don Mroz, president of Post University in Waterbury, Conn.
"No matter what you're presenting, the devil is always in the details," Mroz says. "Make sure you really think through what you're asking for, because if it's not well planned, you're not going to get very far."
You've got to ask yourself, "Where is the win for the organization?" Mroz says. How will your idea benefit the company? How will it improve the culture, the bottom line or their image?
"People come up with great ideas every day, but often they haven't thought about what resources will it take, who is going to do the work or how much it will cost," he says. "Almost any new idea will cost something."
You've got to think about how long the implementation takes, how many staff members it will require and how long it will be before the company sees a return on its investment, Mroz says.
"You may be thinking about how creative you'll get to be when you execute your new idea, but your manager may be thinking, 'How long before I see ROI?'"
2. Pitch your idea to a colleague first, and encourage them to be a tough critic.
"To ensure your idea is a good one, you've got to role play and have someone pick it apart," Mroz says. "Have someone you really respect get in there and question every angle."
Before you pitch to your co-worker, Susan Inouye, an executive coach and author of Sawubona Leadership: The Bridge For Engaging A New Generation of Leaders , says it's a good idea to work up a detailed one-sheet outline.
The outline should "define the obstacle your idea addresses, the solution you are proposing to overcome this obstacle and the benefits to solving this challenge," Inouye says. "This helps to clear our mind as to what we are proposing so it is easy to share with a few close co-workers whose opinions we value. Their questions and feedback can help us to rewrite and improve our outline."