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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Selling Your Ideas

Nothing can take the place of persistency. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failure. Keep believing. Keep trying. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
CALVIN COOLIDGE

What's the point of having great ideas if you can't sell them to the people who control the green light to implementation? And if you never see your idea implemented, how much satisfaction will you derive? Here are some ways to increase the odds of getting approval for your project:

  1. Before you meet with a potential sponsor:

    • Be prepared.

    • Pick your best ideas. Don't try to sell every one. Choose those that

      • are in line with the organization's mission;

      • have a reasonable chance of being accepted;

      • you feel passionate about.

    • Collect as much information as possible to support your position. Facts speak louder than words.

    • Find examples of similar ideas that have worked elsewhere. This will enable you to demonstrate a precedent.

    • Don't rely on presenting your ideas orally. Collect them in documented form. This will add legitimacy to your position. Colour brochures of the equipment you want to buy or expert endorsements in credible trade or business magazines will all enhance your position.

    • Make people aware that your idea could be used by a competitor. This may spur action that will keep you one step ahead.

    • Be prepared to talk the language of your audience. If dealing with management, are you ready to show a cost-benefit?

  2. When you are making your pitch:

    • Greet the attendees warmly. Thank them for their time.

    • Let them know your expected outcome. Be specific and assertive. Speak with a firm voice that emphasizes key results.

    • Be positive. Saying "I expect to come away from this meeting with approval" is better than "Perhaps, maybe, you'll let me try it."

    • Be optimistic, yet realistic. Don't exaggerate the benefits.

    • Give attendees a chance to ask questions. Listen carefully to what they have to say. Answer them or offer to get back to them if the answer requires further thought or research.

    • When your presentation is done, be silent. Don't speak. Wait till you get a "buying signal," such as "When can we start?" or "Do you think we can manage, given our lack of time?" Then assure them of success and show them your timetable.

    • Avoid asking for approval in a way that allows them to say no. Replace "Can we go ahead?" with "Do you have other ideas that would ensure success?" or "When do you think we should start?"


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