How to influence decision-makers.

Working from home these days have you noticed how many more special offers, webinars, seminars, classes, podcasts are coming our way?  

How do we stand out from all this noise to grab the attention of decision-makers?

With all kinds of decision-makers (parents, consumers, executives etc) being bombarded with online information and online services, I loved these tips from Marshall Goldsmith providing advice on how to be more effective in influencing decisions.  Maybe there is an answer here for you too.

1.  Accept the facts
Every decision that affects our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision.  Not the “right” person, nor the “smartest” person nor the “best” person.  Make peace with this fact and you become more effective in influencing others to make a positive difference.

2.  Realise you must sell your ideas
When presenting ideas to decision-makers, realise that it is your responsibility to sell, not their responsibility to buy. Blaming customers or decision-makers for not buying your products is not an impressive approach. Remember a key part of the influence process is educating your decision-makers.

3.  Focus on contribution to the larger good – not just the achievement of your objectives.
Effective salespeople relate to the needs of the buyers first and foremost – not to their own needs.  Remember it is not about you!

4.  Strive to win the big battles
Don’t waste your energy on trivial points. Focus on the issues that make a real difference.  Be willing to lose on small points. And do remember point No. 1 above. You are paid to do what makes a difference not to win arguments.

5.  Present a realistic cost-benefit analysis of your ideas – don’t just sell benefits.
Everyone has limited resources, time and energy. So be aware that acceptance of your idea may well mean the rejection of another idea that someone else believes is wonderful.  Be prepared to have a realistic discussion of the costs.

6.  Challenge up on issues involving ethics or integrity
Never remain silent on ethics violations.  Reputation is everything.

7.  Realise that powerful people also make mistakes
Decision-makers are still human.  See point No. 1 above!  Focus more on helping them than judging them.

8.    Don’t be disrespectful
While you don’t have to kiss up to decision-makers, it is just as important to avoid the opposite behaviour.  Before speaking ask yourself “Will this help my client, my company, the person I am speaking to?”  If the answer is no, no, no – then don’t say it!

9.  Support the final decision
Treat decision-makers the same way you would want to be treated.

10.  Make a positive difference – don’t just try to “win” or “be right”
We can so easily become focused on what others are doing wrong than on how we can make things better. An important guideline in influencing is to remember your goal – to make a positive difference.  So focus on that difference.

11.  Focus on the future – let go of the past
Have you ever worked, or been, with someone who is constantly whining about how bad things are?  Well as you would know, nobody wins.  Successful people love ideas that help them achieve their future goals.  By focusing on the future, you concentrate on what can be achieved, not what was not achieved yesterday.

In summary, think of all the knowledge you have accumulated, the skills you have developed, and the energy you have invested in becoming who you are today.  How can you present this energy and knowledge to decision-makers to make a real difference?  Hopefully, by learning to influence decision-makers, you make a large positive difference to their future.

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