How to Gain Manager Buy-in

Depending on what situation you work in, it can take more than a great idea to succeed. It might take you selling that idea effectively to your manager. When you need your manager to sign off on a new plan, idea, or project, there are a few things you can do to improve your odds.

  1. Sell it. Become a sales person and treat your manager like a prospective client. If you really believe in this project, show it. Present it with power and outline all the possible benefits.
  2. Give them a chance to ask questions. In the process of selling it, encourage questions. You want to hear your manager’s concerns so that you can respond to them appropriately.
  3. Have the answers prepared. I have heard people say that when PHD students go to present their thesis, they should leave an obvious question unanswered so that they can better predict the questions they’ll get and have answers prepared. I’m not recommending leaving anything out of your presentation, but if you can try to figure out what types of questions you’ll get from your manager, you can be prepared to answer them right away.
  4. Calm as many fears as possible. Identify the risks in this project. What if it doesn’t work? What is the worst case scenario? The more you can identify the risks, the more you can show your manager how you can manage them. Managing risk doesn’t mean eliminating it, but it does mean have a plan of attack should things not go 100% to plan.
  5. Can you test it? When you’re doing something brand new for the first time, you can manage risk by testing your way into it. Not all projects allow for testing, but if you can start small and work your way up, especially when it comes to money spent or time committed, it’s helpful.
  6. Involve them in launch. Have a place for your manager to get involved if they want to. Encourage them to become an active player in this new project, which could help allay their fears and make them a strong supporter.
  7. Develop a track record. The more you work on projects that succeed, the more faith your manager(s) will have in your ability and judgment. Keep track of past successes and use them to your advantage.

Give Your Sales Force What They Need

Sales is a crucial part of marketing. Too often we focus so much of our energy on advertising, and forget to pay attention to what happens when the advertising works. It gets people to visit or call, gets them to request more information, or research your products and services. But then you have to sell them.

Sure, in some industries, you rely on people to checkout themselves. You might not have a sales force. But in most you do, and it is a big part of the marketing team’s job to give that sales force the tools that they need to turn interested prospects into paying customers.

Here is a brief look at the sales cycle and what marketing can do to assist sales all the way through the process.


Your advertising generates interest. Activities on social media can generate interest. All efforts by the marketing team at this first stage should be intended to reach new prospects and start them down the sales funnel by piquing their interest.

You can create whitepapers or promotional material and use them to generate leads on your website. You can design your website to encourage people to email, or chat, or call, connecting them directly to someone on the sales team. You can create special offers and discounts that encourage people who otherwise might not shop with you to take an interest.


At this stage, your sales team has leads in the queue. This is when the selling starts.

Sales people should be provided a variety of different assets to help them sell. A basic information packet, in the form of a PowerPoint or single document can be used to reach out to people initially. In addition, when prospects ask for more information on a specific area, the salesperson should have something to show them. This might include case studies and references from other clients or customers, a more detailed brochure explaining what you offer and how it works, industry research, etc.


To close the sale, it is important to provide sales people with a certain degree of flexibility. At this stage, the ability to discount the price or create added value for the customer could mean the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. Make sure salespeople know what they can do to close the sale, and what they can’t. And give them the proper answers to all possible customer questions.

All other aspects of your marketing might be dynamite, but if you can’t close the sale once you pique someone’s interest, your business will not succeed.

5 Ways to Scare off Potential Customers

Someone lands on your website, walks into your store, gets you on the phone, or emails you wanting more information on what you’re selling and how it will fill his or her need. What happens next will often mean the different between making a sale and losing one.

Here are five things to avoid if you want to make the sale:

1. Don’t greet them cordially

    The first thing you say or do can have the most impact on how the interaction will go. We all know that first impressions are important. When a customer is in the decision making process, getting treated like crap can be all it takes to make them walk away. Be courteous, enthusiastic, and helpful.

    2. Don’t answer their questions

      Too often the sales process is filled with canned responses and pitches. Learn to listen to what the customer is saying. They will tell you what they’re looking for, and what is important to them. That way you can respond with an answer customized to their questions or concerns. And answer them directly, don’t avoid the question because it’s difficult to answer or may not be what they want to hear.

      3. Don’t give them pricing

        Most people want to know the price right off the bat. In some cases, that’s difficult because pricing is based on options or custom quotes. But always offer at least a ballpark. Don’t avoid giving out pricing information in favor of collecting more information, otherwise you lose a percentage of customers before the conversation even starts. They will think you have something to hide, that the price will be a ‘gotcha’.

        4. Don’t support your pricing

          When you give them pricing, don’t give them pricing alone. Support your pricing with benefits and value. If your prices are higher than competitors, tell them why. Some people will shop on price alone, but most will shop on a combination of price and perceived benefit. Sell the pricing along with the value your product or service will provide.

          5. Don’t follow up

            The sale may not happen during that first interaction. Don’t worry. The key is a good follow up strategy. Keep track of customer interactions. Use email and phone follow up to keep your brand at the top of their mind. Ask them if they need any other information or help making the decision. This will often lead to sales down the road.

            Create Your Showroom

            When you think of a showroom, what do you think of?

            For me, it’s the showroom at a car dealership. It’s the ultimate selling environment, designed so that potential customers can see, sample, and feel what it would be like to make a purchase. It’s often high pressure, an experience in and of itself, one that can be a bit daunting for first time buyers and more experienced customers alike.

            What brought the potential customers there?

            Perhaps it was a piece of advertising, TV or otherwise. Maybe it was a recommendation from a friend. Maybe they simply pass by the dealership often and decided to stop. Or maybe they are a brand-loyal buyer returning with a new need. Whatever it was, they come for a reason. To buy.

            It’s a lot like your website. And it’s time you start treating your website more like a showroom so that you can increase conversion on all of your marketing efforts.

            The 3 elements of a showroom that I think are the most important are: Show Off, Sample, and Sell.

            1. SHOW OFF

              The car showroom is a controlled environment, often pristine and filled with shiny new vehicles. It puts the best products on display for all to see, making them desirable but not out of reach. Use your website to show your customers what they want. Make products visible, don’t skimp on photo quality or product information. Call attention to the best of the best, and make it easy for visitors to find everything they’re looking for.

              2. SAMPLE

                In a car showroom, a consumer can touch, feel, sit in, and even drive a car before they decide to buy. It’s the ultimate free trial experience. Think about what you can let visitors see and try on your website that might help answer their questions. Can you provide a 360 degree view of a product? Can you let them demo a service? The more a consumer thinks they know exactly what they will get when they buy, the easier the decision to buy will be.

                3. SELL

                  A car showroom without the salespeople would not function. The same way that your expectation that a web visitor to find out everything they need to know on the website and go on to purchase with no push from you is a fantasy. Once they are there, you’ve got their attention. Sell to them. Simple calls to action, easy to find FAQs or contact information, someone to answer their calls, emails, or live chats immediately. These are all ways to ensure that you don’t lose people who have further questions.

                  Market Yourself – Part 3

                  This is part three of the three part series this week on marketing yourself. Check out part one and part two here.

                  In the first two parts of this series I covered how to establish your personal brand online and use it to your advantage in the interview, job application process. But I know that there are plenty other reasons to establish your online reputation that have nothing to do with getting hired. Some people are beyond the point where they want to get hired, they want to find career success on their own.

                  And so we come to step 3, selling your personal brand.

                  Once you’ve established yourself online, through a blog or website, on social media, you’re ready to take the notion of marketing yourself to the next level. You can start to make money off your brand.

                  Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to go into business for yourself, as a consultant. And maybe you just want to sell something on the side.

                  Whatever your goal, you’re ready to go after it.

                  First, think about the personal brand that you’ve created. Where does it fit in terms of money-making opportunities. In my case, once I had an audience that believed in my knowledge as a marketer, I saw two opportunities.

                  The first, and smaller opportunity was in the form of writing. I realized that I could sell my knowledge in the form of a book, and then later a class in email marketing.

                  I used the existing name I’d created for myself and went down an even narrower path. By focusing on one aspect of marketing, I was able to research and learn everything I needed to know to be able to advise others in the field. And the first revenue generating opportunities were born.

                  The second is the general consulting business that I hope to grow into more permanently, helping pass on my knowledge in marketing to small business owners looking for guidance. I’ve established a credible base, and am now able to market my services more aggressively through the media channels I’ve built.

                  And you can do the same thing. Your personal brand is a base with which to reach out to potential clients, potential partners, investors, customers, and press. Become an expert in a niche area and sell your expertise in the form of books, classes, tutoring, advice, and services.

                  The more aggressive you are upfront, setting up your personal brand, the more “selling” power you can create for yourself down the road.

                  The key is that you have to put the effort in before you can start to benefit from it. I had established my blog for months before I started the book. But in the end, it pays off.