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5 Ways to Gain Buy In From Firm Decision Makers

     -     Nov 10th, 2014   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

As a marketer, you may be in the position at your firm to provide guidance, make recommendations, or act as a trusted counsel in regard to your firm’s advertising, creative and marketing direction. This is not often an easy task, as it involves weighing many different options, finding the right ones, and being candid about your professional opinion, all while balancing multiple personalities, priorities and feedback from your firm’s decision makers.

Tips for Gaining Buy-In From Decision Makers

In my experience, there are a few key things to keep in mind when working to gain buy in from those who call the shots. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1)      Come Prepared– If you are familiar with the four-step public relations process — Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation (RPIE), you know that each stage is critical. With that said, when approaching the opportunity to gain buy in from those who make the decisions, know that the first (research) and last (evaluation) stages of this process can provide helpful ammunition to gain buy in.

Research can help provide context for those who are unfamiliar with the subject matter, concept or idea, and can also help support your recommendation. Remember, facts and figures can really speak to those in financial services, so coming prepared with some background research to support your recommendation can help make your ideas become reality.

Evaluation of similar past projects or recommendations can also help support what you are looking to do, and offer up an idea of the expected ROI, or at least a good comparison. Lessons learned from past projects, whether they are positive or negative, can also be used to help swing decision makers in your direction. Something didn’t work the last time? Point out why and what can be done differently to generate a more positive or effective outcome.

2)      Anticipate Their Questions– Using the information that you have gathered from your research and past evaluation, come prepared to a presentation or meeting anticipating the types of questions you will be asked, and have the answers ready to go. If you can guess where the doubt may lie, or what information may be helpful to guide a decision your way, have the answers to those questions on hand to be answered confidently and in a way that is easy to understand.
Marketers often speak an incredibly different language as compared to financial professional service providers, and let’s face it, vice versa as well! Knowing this is often the case, provide information that is factual, easy to understand and digest even if your decision makers are not marketers. In addition, focus on the end game, expectations or objectives that are mutually agreed upon.

I often would come to a meeting, or be prepared to answer an email in bullet points, with bits of important or impactful information condensed into bite sized chunks to explain my point of view, recommendation or the direction I wish to go in. This can sometimes make your suggestion or idea more palatable and understandable.

3)      Be relevant- Change or new ideas often make people uneasy and uncomfortable, especially when it is subject matter or something they don’t understand very well. You can connect what you put on the table to what speaks most to everyone in the room, generally something such as generating new business or building the bottom line is what works best. This is what everyone is ultimately working towards and what’s on everyone’s mind, so explain how what you aim to gain buy in for will help accomplish this, and what the expectations of everyone are.

4)      Create an Elevator Pitch and Use It- Aside from the above mentioned tips; it can also be helpful in some situations to have the old “elevator pitch” planned out as a means of gaining buy in as well. The University of Bath’s change management tool kit is a good resource to review and includes some helpful recommendations for reference. Check it out and use what’s suggested to help you craft that 1-2 minute pitch that may help seal the deal.

5)      Know When it’s a Losing Battle- We can’t win them all and unfortunately, when you are not the primary decision maker, you won’t be able to gain buy in all the time. So, be confident in what you do and say, advocate for the recommendations or ideas you are passionate about and believe in, stand your ground and defend your position or opinion, and recognize when it’s a lost cause or losing battle.

As long as you know you oversaw and collected the proper research, communicated the most important information, and made the recommendation you felt is best, you are doing your job and can be confident in your work. I hate to be smug about it, but you never know when the decision makers will look back and see that you told them


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