How To (Successfully) Sell an Idea

Selling an idea is a lot like making a persuasive presentation; the biggest difference is that ideas lack tangibility. You’re not soliciting donations, rallying for a raise or convincing an on-the-fence customer to choose between a Kia and a BMW. Rather, you’re making something concrete out of the abstract, which means you must instantiate to captivate.

This requires some creativity on the part of both persuader and target, so provide vivid mental imagery via storytelling to help a client, customer or colleague “see” your idea. Try these:

  • “Imagine the look on your client’s face when you tell him you can help his company double revenue and decrease expenses in 12 months.”
  • “What if I said I can help you overcome your fear of public speaking by the time you give your next presentation?”
  • “If you take the time to read this book and develop a persuasion priority, you’ll be hearing people say ‘yes’ more often than you ever thought possible.”

To help your target better “see” your ideas, it might be helpful to use images such as photographs or illustrations, double-axis charts and Venn diagrams. These can further solidify your pitched idea in the mind’s eye of your target.

Now, go persuade somebody.

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