Sell solutions. Before you plunge into the numbers, such as the anticipated return on investment, start with a “green-grass” statement. Use your words to paint a picture of a desirable outcome that your idea will produce.
Example: A landscaper describes a lush green lawn with flower borders blooming like fireworks. That’s better than giving details about tearing out weeds, installing sprinklers and killing all the bugs.
Confront costs—honestly. Rookie managers sometimes skirt the cost of a project, harping on results. But seasoned executives won’t fall for it. Assume they’re thinking about one thing: money.
Determine all costs to implement your proposal, including both onetime start-up expenses and ongoing investments. Use a graph or chart to help execs evaluate the amount and timing of cash outlays and what revenues they can expect in return.
Connect the dots. Study your company’s strategic plan before you finalize your presentation. Figure how to tie your idea into that strategy.
Example: If your company intends to open 10 stores this year and hit certain sales goals, pinpoint how your plan would boost sales.
Include a clincher. Close your pitch with an “easy to overlook” piece. Say, “Before I wrap up, there’s one key factor that’s easy to overlook.”
Then spotlight the risk of non-action, a cost-effective way to “test” your results or a hidden benefit. End on this note and you’ll sway fence-sitters to give you the go-ahead.