This blog has been written at the request of someone seeking advice on selling and influence. Their main problem is lack of confidence as they even struggle to sell their own ideas internally with colleagues. This is a fundamental business skill and it is therefore something that needs to be addressed. In the modern business environment resources are stretched and projects must compete for people, time and budget. If you can’t sell your own ideas with reason and with passion you will never get your projects going and will always be working on other peoples.

The biggest hurdle to overcome is lack of confidence and so this blog will focus on that. If you suffer from lack of confidence in the workplace then it’s handy to make a list of all the reasons why? Everyone will have different reasons but some common ones are:

  • Fear of failure and subsequent embarrassment
  • Past experiences of the above
  • We don’t think our idea will be taken seriously
  • We think we lack credibility
  • Fear of making a mistake and career impact
  • We feel intimidated by a domineering manager or work colleagues
  • We want to avoid any chance of ‘conflict’ with colleagues

My thoughts and ideas on these…

  • Fear of failure and subsequent embarrassment

None of like to fail but when we do it is how we respond that counts. If we learn from the circumstances then something positive will have come from it. It may be YOUR idea but usually projects are implemented by teams, therefore the failure may not be entirely your fault. Look for the positives not the excuses.

  • Past experiences of the above

Think back at the circumstances of past experiences and you probably didn’t do what I suggest above. Go back in your mind and revisit the experiences but this time ‘re-frame’ and focus on the positives of what you learned.

  • We don’t think our idea will be taken seriously

If it sounds like a good idea to you, it probably is a good idea. Think it through and weigh up all the pros and cons beforehand. Be prepared for possible challenges and have answers ready.

  • We think we lack credibility

Why do we think this? Lack of experience possibly? Be proactive and visible in your learning, ask lots of questions, read lots of articles (better still write some) and understand what other businesses are doing. Show that your ideas are based on clear knowledge and understanding.

  • Fear of making a mistake and career impact

It obviously depends on the idea but I doubt you would ever get the go ahead to work on something so big, where the responsibility rested on just one person. If it really is something that big, it’s probably not worth the risk.

  • We feel intimidated by a domineering manager or work colleagues

We all have different work styles and learning to appreciate that all of them have value is important. Try and explain to them how their ‘style’ makes you feel and you might find they start to behave with you differently.

  • We want to avoid any chance of ‘conflict’ with colleagues

Some people treat any comments or feedback as a personal attack on them. Not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings is admirable but if it needs to be done, do it.

Advice on ‘selling’ an idea internally.

Being known as someone that lacks confidence can be a great strength when selling ideas internally. The fact you are being assertive and passionate about THIS idea must make it special.

Don’t try and ‘sell’ the idea via email, make a specific appointment to meet with the person/team you need to influence and present your idea in person. Prepare well, make notes in advance but do not read them. If you speak from the heart you will NEVER forget your words. Get to the point and remember to use AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire & Action.

Your opening statement needs to have the ‘wow factor’ to get their attention. Use facts to generate interest and business benefits to build desire. Make it clear what action you want from them; to say yes, give you the resources, get behind the idea.

Our thoughts about us are so important as they drive the way we act. How we act is what people see and think of us and how they then behave towards us. If you want to be more confident then think confident, act confident, become confident.

Like all skills becoming more confident will take time, practise and effort.

Thank you for reading!

Stuart Allen ~ MD of The Sales Performance Company Ltd

 

If you think I can help your organisation in any way then please do call me on 01905 384314 or email me stuart@thesalesperformance.co.uk – Social Media & Sales Training in Worcester, Worcestershire & across the UK.

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