Paul B. Thornton

What step do you need to improve on?

Leaders need to sell their ideas to bosses, customers, colleagues, team members, and others.

Here are the five steps that will help you make the sale.   

  1. Create a positive first impression—Be early for your meeting. Be prepared and be professional.

2. What’s happening—Find out what’s going on in their world. What is the person thinking and feeling? What are his goals, priorities, and biggest needs? Listen carefully and take notes.    

3. Craft your message—Once you have a better understanding of the person’s situation, craft your message in a way that appeals to his goals and needs.  

Present the appropriate mix of facts, statistics, examples, stories, testimonials, and emotional appeals to make your case.

4. Help people reach their own conclusion. Remember, the words of Blaise Pascal, French inventor and philosopher.

“People are usually more convinced by reasons they discover themselves than those found out by others.”

Therefore, after you make your case, ask questions such as:

–What do these facts mean to you?

–How do you feel about the proposed solution?

–What actions do you think are necessary?

–What do you see as the next step?   

Guide people in helping them reach their own conclusions. People are much more committed to the conclusions they have reached on their own.

5. Ask for the sale—No sale is made until the buyer says “yes.” Close the deal by asking for the person’s commitment. Will you support my proposal in today’s meeting? Will you sponsor my project? Define the specific actions you want the person to take.

In some cases, you may need to start by just getting the person interested in your idea. Getting him to commit to taking one small step may be the best way to proceed. It may take several meetings and further discussions before your colleague commits to your idea or proposal.

Take Away

These actions will help you sell your ideas.

a. Creating a positive first impression gets their attention.

b. Finding out what going on in their world illustrates your interest in understanding their issues and goals.

c. Craft your message so it addresses the person’s goals and needs.

d. Help people reach their own conclusions.

e. Asking for the sale shows that you believe in your proposal.

Paul B. Thornton is an author, speaker, and adjunct professor. Three of his core principles are add-value, continuous improvement, and simplify the complex. His latest e-book, Leadership-Perfecting Your Approach and Style-($1.99) is available on Amazon Kindle. 

He has produced 28 short YouTube videos on various management and leadership topics. In addition, he has published numerous slide presentations that are available on 

He can be contacted at [email protected].Creating a positive first impression gets their attention.