As it turns out, most people don’t know how to explain their ideas. This, in turn, reveals why most of us fail to make a connection with them. No matter how brilliant a certain idea might be, if it isn’t communicated right, it will never become anything more than just plain ol’ jibber.
When I was younger, I faced extreme difficulty in getting people to trust and backup my ideas.
It’s not that my ideas were bad, it’s just that they weren’t presented right. I didn’t know how to clearly communicate their value, so that people would immediately see some valid reasons on why should they engage with them.
Back then, one of the biggest faults with my presentation was directly related to my attitude. I focused a lot more on me, instead of people that I was actually trying to win over.
Back in the day, when I was taking my first serious steps in the business world, I spent a lot of time working in real estate. Anyone who knows anything about sales will automatically tell you that there’s almost nothing harder than getting people to buy a certain house or flat.
Why? – Well, because most of the customers are investing their life’s savings into this. Not having the luxury to make any mistakes turns people into scary, sceptical and needy monsters. Most of them tend to take a pretty defensive position and see your every idea and proposition as a cheap trick to cheat them out of their money.
To make things even worse, considering the situation, this kind of behavior is quite understandable. The stakes are pretty high in these sort of scenarios. Just think about it, one bad decision could cost you money you’ve spend a decade or two earning and saving for a roof over your head. Heavy stuff.
Although I was young when I did this for a living, I got to say that I was a pretty solid realtor (in theory). I knew my work well, and I was constantly coming up with great ideas on how to help my clients find their dream homes. Sure, some ideas required a bit investing, but nothing they couldn’t afford.
In that period, I watched most of my great “outside of the box” ideas get shot down for no logical reason. Then I started thinking. Why does this keep happening? Why can’t people see that I’m offering them solid solutions to their problems?
Then I finally figured it out. The problem was – I was preaching the wrong story to the wrong crowd.
As I grew and started to think more and more about who was actually listening to me, and less if my form and diction were perfect, my ideas begin to grab people’s attention. They’ve started to convert.
In one of the previous posts here I have already explained the value of knowing how to present yourself and your ideas. This time, I want to go a little bit deeper and try to give you some insight on what I actually do in order to help my ideas stand out from the crowd.
As you know, ideas are omni present. There are everywhere. Everyone has them. Some of us tend to keep them to ourselves, while others try their best to share them with the world and get as many people as possible behind them.
There really isn’t a marketplace for ideas, nor any other specific place where you can try them out before deciding if they’re any good or not. No, ideas live everywhere, and they can be manifested and “tested” wherever there’s an audience.
When we look at some of the biggest companies today, we can see that ideas don’t even have to be original in order to work. All they need to offer are some engaging and relatable benefits and value in their pitch.
Look at Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent the first ever social network. No, he didn’t have to. Why? – Well, because he, from the very first day when he launched his brand, knew how to get people to overshare their private data and link everyone together.
He knew how to present his idea so people will immediately see something that could be of use to them.
Although Facebook is now one of the biggest and most detailed marketing platforms in the world, which was the goal from the very first day, Zuckerberg still presents his product as something that helps people connect and stay up to date with each others lives, no matter close or far apart they live on this planet.
Genius, right? This is also a great example on just how important is to understand your targeted audiences and figure out what they actually need from certain services and products. Anticipating, let’s call it, potential user intent, is one of the most important steps in presenting your ideas to the world.
If you figure out how to present your idea as something that solves certain problems that people are facing in their every single day, you’ll have yourself a great foundation on which you could build a successful business on it.
So, when coming up with an idea, always try to think about what you, as a regular everyday person, could benefit from having and what kind of user intent lies behind the success of some of the more powerful companies that made a name for themselves in a similar field.
Before going with a certain idea in front of a desired audience it’s always important that you first:
1. Seek input from all sorts of different parties: In order to see if your idea is actually any good, you need to share it with all sorts of different people and actively seek feedback from their points of view. Then, once you have gathered some feedback, you need to incorporate aspects of each of them into your project plan, so that you can see if there’s a spot or an angle where all (or most) of their opinions come together. If you find such a thing, then you’re on to something big.
2. Make sure that you looked even under the smallest rocks: Sometimes, great idea can fail thanks pretty trivial things. Before deciding to put a certain idea to work, make sure than you have explored all the scenario in which you could end up with a total disaster on your hands.
3. Do your homework: Be thoroughly prepared for meetings and individual discussions. Gather as much hard data as possible, check your facts, and speak knowledgeably from a broad information base. Know the interests of those to whom you’re speaking to, and customize your message for them, so that it will trigger a more personal connection.
4. Seek criticism everywhere you can get it: I know that critics is something that mostly discourages people and drives them away from certain ideas, no matter how good they felt about them, but this is an important step in making your pitch bulletproof. If you know what people don’t like about your idea, you can always take that as a sign that you should a little more on it. It’s far better to hear criticism from someone who’s not invested in the matter, than a person on whose take on your idea could actually be a decisive factor on your future success with it.
5. Make the benefits clear: Arm supporters with arguments. Stand tall and know how to reply on certain questions, before they even come up. Rehearse your material for meetings in which questions about your project will come up. Stress the value that the idea will produce for them and other groups. Remember that selling ideas is at least a two-step process. You sell one set of people so they can sell others. You convince them to back you because you reduce the risk to them by giving them the tools for selling their own boards or constituencies.
6. Get to know your targeted group: In order to sell something to someone, you must know what he or she does and what doesn’t like. If your target audience are teenagers who are looking for a good time, then it’s probably wise not to bore them with numbers and stale old graphics. If you want their attention, you need to communicate with them in a way that’s “cool” for them.
7. Present yourself as someone who can get the job done: People like winners. They like guys who have already established themselves as someone who can get the ball rolling, and bring everything that they promised to the table. Knowing this, it’s of crucial importance that you, early in the process, provide evidence, even guarantees, that your idea is something that will not only work, but it will provide endless value to people and companies that back it up. Later, prove that you can deliver by meeting deadlines and doing what you’ve promised.
To market an idea you first have to develop it to certain extent. You have to create something that can be sold, like a business, a brand, a patent, a trademark, a script, an app, software code, a design.
Value is primarily generated by this activity so that while nobody will buy your idea for a company, they might buy your company. If nobody’s interested in buying your idea for a new gadget, maybe there’s someone out there who’s willing to pay for a patent or a working prototype of your product.
I’ve seen a lot of similar articles on this subject that say that one of the most important things in the world is to, and I quote: “Push boundaries and event something that hasn’t been seen yet.”
I couldn’t disagree more. Nowadays, it’s all about recycling and upgrading certain ideas that have proven themselves valuable in the past.
Sometimes, people need some proof that a certain idea is going to be successful. That’s why, in today’s world, we have a lot more remakes and popular book and comic book adaptations, instead of movies that were based on an original idea. Just look at the movie Jurassic World. This film grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide, in just 13 days. Crazy, right?
So, before you start to stress yourself out about how your ideas are not something that will revolutionize the world and change how people think, always make an effort to hear other peoples opinion on it and test if there’s really a market for it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Give these steps a tr, and let me know if this content helped you find a way on how to sell your ideas.
If you have any questions or anything to add about the matter, be free to write it down in the comments section below. Before you go, please remember to share this article with your friends and colleagues. Who knows, maybe this kind of content could help them with some of their ideas on which they are currently working on.
Thank you for your time and patience,
that’s it for now,
See you soon,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.
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