When it comes to putting creativity to work, the biggest challenge usually isn’t about coming up with ideas, it’s getting those ideas listened to, accepted, and implemented in your organization.
That’s why it is so important for innovators to learn how to influence and persuade people to embrace your idea. And that’s why I have taken it upon myself to learn these skills. How else would I be able to incorporate art with leadership and innovation in giant conservative organizations?
One thing I know for sure is you have to frame your creative idea with impeccable logic, and communicate your value proposition from the point of view of the ‘buyer.’ When you engage decision-makers in a creative process which incorporates their points of view, you will have more success in getting buy in.
How to sell your creative ideas using influence and pursuasion
I have developed a 1-2 day workshop on Influence and Persuasion: Leading Strategies for Getting Results
I also recommend these books (links will take you to Amazon) to help you become a better influencer.
There is actually a science to influencing, based on plenty of research on what make you more successful as a marketer and an office politician. Robert Cialdini, Regents’ Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, has spent 30 years studying the ways people are influenced. He’s whittled his findings down to six key principles :
- Reciprocity – People tend want to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing.
- Commitment and Consistency - If people commit to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment.
- Social Proof - When people are uncertain about a course of action, they tend to look to those around them for guidance. They want to know what everyone else is doing –especially their peers.
- Authority People respect authority. They want to follow the lead of real experts.
- Liking - People are easily persuaded by people they like.
- Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. People are more influenced by what they have to lose, than what they have to gain. That’s why the phrase “Don’t miss it!” is more effective in ads than “Take this opportunity.”
Dan Pink says “We’re all in sales now. One in nine Americans—some 15 million people—make a living trying to get others to make a purchase. The other eight Americans are engaged in ‘non-sales selling.’ ” According to Pink’s research, ‘we’ are devoting upwards of 40 percent of our time on the job persuading, convincing, influencing, and/or teaching others to adopt new ideas, innovate, and constantly improve things. “Moving others,” says Pink, “Is critical to our professional success.”
Sales and non-sales selling are ultimately about service —the skill of transforming your interactions from transactions to transcendence by making them personal and purposeful. To Sell Is Human provides some entertaining stories, as well as practical tools to help you sell your creative ideas.
People don’t like feeling pushed or manipulated and if you misuse influencing tactics you will jeopardize your relationships and reputation. Goulston and Ullmen provide insights into helping you:
- Inspire people to great outcomes that they desire. Focus on the three ‘R’s of a great outcome: Results, Reputation, and Relationships. Real influencers go for something grand, build a reputation worthy of long-term commitment, and invest in relationships to get buy-in to desired outcomes.
- Master listening to learn where other people live. To discover where they are coming from, you need to get to the fourth level of listening – not listening while ignoring, not defensive listening, not even problem-solving listening, but connective listening into other people’s world. It’s listening from “their there,” instead of “your here.”
- Engage and connect with people in their space. True engagement and connection requires that you get “it” (the other person’s issue reality), you get “them” (at a personal level), and you get their path to progress (show a positive path to progress). They then sense that you are working with them, instead of manipulating around them.
- Go beyond expectations to make yourself unforgettable. This means adding value before, during, and after an interaction. Find ways to add value in expanding their thinking, making them feel better, and helping them take effective action. You must do more (but not everything), and ask other people to do more.
If you would like to improve your leadership skills contact me about coaching or customizing a corporate program for your group.