I have spent a number of years working in marketing, strategic planning, and branding and I’ve observed just how critical it is to be able to present one’s point of view and get people to “buy in.”
Sometimes we can schedule a formal presentation with charts and facts and handouts, etc. to make our point and that works great when you can get it. However, a great deal of our selling and pitching to get “buy in” takes place outside of the conference room and in the hallways and near the water cooler. In those situations you have to take advantage of the moment.
To help make the most of opportunities, whether they are ad hoc or planned, here is an easy-to-remember acronym to help us organize the key elements we need to cover to convince another that our idea is worth their consideration. The word is GRASP and here is how it works:
G — Get Their Attention.
This sounds too simple, I know, but I’ve seen a lot of presentations go south because the audience wasn’t yet engaged and the speaker started anyway and completely missed the stragglers or had to restart which is annoying for those that were listening and it saps energy from the presenter. How you get attention is up to you. A simple way, is to ask for their attention and then shut up until they are ready. Another important reminder in a formal setting is to have the audience close their laptops and turn off their phones.
R — Review the Facts or Circumstances.
Providing context for what has led you to a new solution is critical when trying to sell an idea. Reviewing the conditions and reminding the audience helps get heads nodding in the right direction. Creating a logical story line on the how the past will meet the future helps people get connected to your story. For example: “You’ll recall that our sale of widgets has been declining for two quarters.”
A — Anticipate the Objections.
The next step in getting someone to buy is to understand WHY he or she doesn’t want to buy. This is where a little homework can serve you well. By bringing up the objections, perceived or real, indicates that you’re not afraid to talk about the elephant in the room and that you have an alternative. This assumes, of course, that your idea solves the problem. If it truly does, this step allows you to deflect any negative positions directly. For example: “I know you’ve been a proponent for lowering the price on the widgets and usually that would help spike the sales. However I’ve done some research that supports the premise that we can actually raise the price if we reposition the brand and take in the competition directly.”
S — Set-up Your Solution.
Very related to the “A” step, here is where you can set the bait. After discounting and dispelling the objections, you can create a narrative that supports the need for a new direction and solution. For example: “I suggest we repackage the widgets and bundle it with xyz product. In this way we can elevate the value proposition and actually raise our prices.”
P — Present the Solution.
Show or explain your plan in a way that the audience can see it come to life. If you can, give it a name that sparks enthusiasm and interest. For example: Presenting our new “Wonder Widgets;” You’ll wonder why they’re such a great deal.” Sometimes the best ideas die because they couldn’t be sold. By having the right tools in your grasp, the audience will grasp it too. Good luck.