The race for resources is a zero sum game. Whatever resources are allocated elsewhere are resources you will not have. If you’re going to have what you need to get to successful delivery, you’ll need to sell your project to top management.
Selling your project is more than a straight sales pitch. You might have a project that sells itself – say, something that will shave 5% or more off the company’s expenses. What more do you need to say, right?
Wrong. So much of the workplace is governed by personal relationships, not cold and calculated decisions. Glenn’s project, which is a barely needed addition to a lagging product, might get the extra funding at your project’s expense…because Glenn plays golf with the regional manager every month, and you’ve never met him outside of company events. Glenn will get the accolades for a successful delivery, and the fast track to promotion. And you’ll have to battle to complete your project, with the added pressure of its importance. After all, shaving 5% off the company’s bottom line is really important.
You’ll need to “play the game” and sell your project to the people who control resource allocation. And over time, you’ll want to develop relationships with those people for future projects, too.
How do you sell your project to top management?
Create a personalized pitch
You need to know who you’re talking to! A plain pitch won’t cut it – they know the details you’re going to tell them. You need to pay careful attention to how you present it – giving the “standard” pitch can come across as insulting! Explaining the obvious isn’t a method to win support. Build the pitch to the person – their interests, their opinions, even their self-interest – and they’ll support you.
Base it on the data
Percentages and statistics sound impressive, and they create a powerful effect. They bolster an argument, give it weight, and most importantly, it creates an objective frame to the discussion. It’s no longer about you and Glenn, it’s about saving 5% off company expenses. This is especially helpful when you’re starting off at a disadvantage in the personal relations field.
Appeal to their emotions
If you’ve created a data backed presentation, you have the thinking part covered. Now you need to appeal to their feelings, too. Whether it’s greed, pride, vanity, or altruism, there’s a feeling you need to evoke in order to seal the deal. Make sure there’s an emotional component to your pitch.