As a child, I used to come up with various ideas for almost anything, and ask for Rs. 1000/- per idea. Being a child, nobody would want to pay money, that too a thousand Rupees – but, I would get something else as an appreciation for my efforts. A toffee, a cone ice cream etc.
Further on, when I used to be active in small groups, selling was more of ideas and to get the team to converge on something, that the group can take as an action.
As a team leader, I needed to sell the vision of the project to the team, to get everybody’s buy in.
More recently, I have been in contact with many aspiring and active entrepreneurs. Selling is something that they do with every breath.
All of us are inherently sales persons. Based on some of my observations, I believe that some of these tips and steps can help you sell your ideas.
- Think BIG: This will let you get ideas to sell. Like TED talks, ideas that matter to more than you, as an individual
- Validate your idea yourself: Is it solution in search of a problem, or is it a genuine pain? This could be a pain you have experienced yourself or something that you have heard from others who have faced a problem
- Talk about your idea: Many times, ideas die just because nobody else knew about it. talk to your contacts and theirs.
- Make the idea viral: that is, the idea should engage people and get them to react strongly, for or against. that will help in propagating the idea further
- Identify target segments of recipients: when the idea gets to a larger audience, you can start looking at refining the idea. Specific segments of recipients may have differing priorities and pressures and the idea needs to move from a concept stage and be something that they can implement
- Get out of the building: With the initial responses, you would have some flavors or variations to the theme. to validate, there is nothing like getting out of the building and getting proof of the idea’s utility; reach out to the target segments. With technology and electronic media today, distances and time challenges can be easily overcome. While it is ideal to meet your prospective customers face to face, other forms of connect can also be considered as alternatives.
- Pivot, if needed: With the feedback you receive, revalidate your assumptions. Assumptions of the problem statements or even the solutions you have identified.
- Get someone to pay: This is the real proof of the sale of your idea. As I mentioned, the story from my childhood, it is not the exact amount, it can be token that is an acknowledgement of your idea being useful.
Similar concepts can be applied in work situations as a leader.
Many of the steps above are applicable in getting team consensus as well.
The inspiration for some of the concepts in this post is from The LeanStartup book by Eric Ries.