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How to Sell Your Ideas to Your Boss

23 March 2018 No Comment

Being good at your job is only half the story when it comes to reaching your potential at work. You have to be able to sell your ideas to the people you work with, and that means being able to sell yourself. Beavering away quietly in the background may earn you some appreciation and a good annual review, but it isn’t enough to make people sit up and take notice. Having the ambition and the confidence to sell yourself as an asset to the business will advance your career, but how is it best achieved?

Confidence

Being confident is appealing and inspires confidence in others. You have to be sure of yourself and what you’re saying, to convince people that you know what you’re talking about and can deliver what you are promising. Being unsure of your figures, or using language like “hopefully” and “probably” are classic ways of making people question whether you have the knowledge and experience to manage the task. If you don’t have confidence in yourself, then you can’t expect other people to have confidence in you. On the other hand, being over-confident can be just as much of a turn-off. If you present your ideas and yourself as being the answer to everything and that you are better than everyone else, you will come across as arrogant rather than confident, so the key is to strike the right balance.

Knowledge

In order to be confident, you need to be completely sure of all your facts, so doing the right research is essential. You need to know not only about the scheme you have in mind but any wider issues that may come into play. For example, it’s no good preparing a presentation on how you can save costs and improve productivity by getting staff to work longer shifts if in doing so you would contravene employment legislation. Think about not only the legislation that could affect your ideas, but the economic climate, industry trends, and new developments and technologies that could have an impact on your company. You could spend hours creating a better goods-in system for the business, only to discover when you share the results of your labors with management that they are in the process of purchasing a ready-made solution to the problem.

Communication

Don’t try and be a one-person whizz-kid. You won’t impress anyone by working on a secret project that doesn’t involve your colleagues. It isn’t a very good demonstration of your teamwork skills, and not being able to recognize the value of having other ideas and input into your project will mark you down as being ill-equipped to run your own team. It’s highly unlikely that by coming up with a scheme all by yourself, you will have the optimum results. All the best products and services arise out of a team effort, and however able an individual is, he or she won’t do a better job alone than they would in collaboration. Talk to your colleagues, but before you even begin, approach your boss and give them an outline of what you have in mind. If they see promise in your ideas, they will give you the green light. If they don’t, you won’t waste all your effort on a project they would never have been interested in any way. They may see value in what you’re proposing but have their own ideas and information that will help you achieve an even better outcome, or may send you off in a slightly different direction. If you think that you want to do it by yourself because you want all the glory and that you want to keep it under wraps because you hope to wow everybody with your genius in one fell swoop, you need to get a reality check. This approach is not going to win you any brownie points because apart from the fact you won’t make the optimum pitch by going it alone, you will alienate the people you work for and with. They won’t be admiring your cleverness and foresight; in fact, they’re more likely to be annoyed that they weren’t consulted or included, and they may well spot all sorts of holes in your scheme. Working as part of a team will always produce the best results, so get other people on board and keep your bosses in the loop.

Don’t Cut Corners

While businesses are always interested in reducing costs, because it frees up working capital and increases profits, what they don’t want is to use cheap solutions that end up costing them more in the long run. Say you decide your company is paying more than it needs to for parts and you want to find out if there is a cheaper supplier. Cheaper does not necessarily mean long-term savings, though. Imagine your company makes air conditioning units, and you source cheap components. If the return rates for faulty product increase it will cost you more, in the long run, replacing those products and trying to retain sales from the affected buyer. Far better to make sure the parts are sourced from a reliable company like Custom Fittings Ltd so that you can be sure of the quality. The same is true of every aspect of the organization, from stationery to staffing. Making cost savings is an important part of your job, but you need to analyze the implications beyond the immediate reduction in outlay.

It’s a great thing to have ambition and drive, and if you want to take your career further, you need to have both. To capitalize on these traits, you also need to think about the other elements that will make you a valuable asset to your managers and colleagues. Preparing for a meeting or presentation will be critical to furthering your career, so take the time to plan your pitch, work with your colleagues and don’t try and impress with flashy solutions that could end up costing the business money. If you prepare well and have all bases covered, your confidence will be justified.

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