When someone buys into a new idea, it shows they value that idea and believe it should be brought to fruition. However, it’s not always easy to do this, especially as an entrepreneur.
Whether you’re pitching your employees, clients or potential business partners, any hesitancy or resistance can kill enthusiasm for an initiative. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan for gaining support from your stakeholders.
Below, 14 members of Forbes Business Council offered some strategic ways entrepreneurs can secure buy-in from their audience on new initiatives.
1. Encourage Different Perspectives
Encourage more people in the team to critique or present better ideas than yours. This will ensure that they genuinely listen to your presentation and encourage their minds to come up with a better solution. If they do share an idea, give it genuine consideration and understand why they think it’s better than your solution. And if they don’t share one, they’ll be convinced your idea is solid enough. – Caroline Lee, CocoSign
2. Listen To Your Instincts
Entrepreneurs should lead with insights and instincts. It is important for analytics to be at the center of a compelling business case for investors, but I often encourage entrepreneurs to also listen to their instincts. Some of humanity’s greatest enterprises were built by those who relied on their instincts to interpret the data in more imaginative, bold—and ultimately—profitable ways. – Muraly Srinarayanathas, Computek College
3. Practice Frequent Communication
Practice inclusion and transparency with constant, frequent communication. While communicating, practice empathy with the audience and address what’s in it for the team and the individuals instead of always addressing the business benefits alone. Be comfortable in presenting work in progress early and often, and avoid a “big bang” rollout approach. – Mohammad Anwar, Softway
4. Build A Strong Foundation
Getting buy-in for new initiatives can be challenging. It begins with a strong foundation way ahead of the game. Three key drivers of buy-in are healthy relationships built on mutual trust so others are willing to listen, sharing brutal facts of reality so others feel the need to respond and providing real-life examples so others are able to relate and align to a clear road map for success. – Loubna Noureddin, Mind Market Consultants
5. Gain Ideas From Your Team
The most powerful way to gain buy-in for new ideas is to allow them to germinate from within the team itself. Leaders can guide groups down a path of discovery by proposing the challenge, directing the conversation, soliciting input and culminating in a group-proposed solution or idea. The buy-in is inherent at that point. – Robin Gagnon, We Sell Restaurants
6. Provide Context
Providing context is vital for gaining buy-in, and more importantly, successful outcomes. This means bringing together stakeholders and making sure everyone understands the “why.” Questions to answer include: Why does this matter, what outcomes are we hoping for, how does this tie into our broader set of goals, what resources will we need to use and why does this initiative deserve them more than others? – Victoria Lakers, Calibre One
7. Allow Everyone To Contribute
When you give everyone skin in the game, it’s a way to contribute their unique talents meaningfully to a new idea or project. By doing this, you exponentially increase buy-in while strengthening overall contribution and creativity along the way. – Angela Diffly, Restaurant Technology Network
8. Identify Early Adopters
Identify your early adopters who are ready to embrace new innovations and love being ahead of the curve in terms of using or contributing to new solutions. They will be invaluable in terms of providing constructive feedback that can help you evolve your solution. Delay conversations with late adopters who are more conservative to when you have data and traction so they do not stop your momentum. – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5
9. Consider Your Personal Gain
Research indicates that people need to identify a personal answer for WIIFM (What’s in it for Me) before they can relate to a project. So, in order to see value in and a reason to support an initiative, an employee must first recognize their personal gain and connect with the purpose. It takes art, heart and science to successfully gain buy-in. – Janine Bensouda, Bensouda Consulting
10. Support Your Network
To get buy-in, you have to give buy-in. Support your network and others in the industry with encouragement and they will support you. Buy-in comes from belief, and belief comes from trust. Trust comes from others knowing and understanding what you’re doing. Adequately convey your value proposition with real information because you honestly believe in it, and don’t try to sell based on gimmick or cliche. – Jason Van Camp, Mission Six Zero
11. Test Your Concepts
As a former founder/CEO of a tech startup, one of my favorite methods for gaining team buy-in for new initiatives was to test the concept or an MVP (minimum viable product or solution) with a key customer or customers. Obtaining customer excitement and willingness to pay for the product made gaining buy-in much easier. – Rod Robinson, Insight Sourcing Group
12. Lay The Foundation Early
Start socializing the new idea early with your clients. According to Global Banking and Finance, 71% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a product or service they recognize. Why not start with them when it comes to testing, gaining their feedback and preparing them with the assets they’ll need to understand the new idea and how it will help their business become more successful? – Emilia D’Anzica, Growth Molecules
13. Plan With Your Team
To achieve buy-in from your team for new initiatives, include the team in the planning process. Although it takes time, there is value in discussing their input, including their best ideas in the final plan and acknowledging their input throughout the process. – Michelle Wade, Jetstream Aviation Law, P.A.
14. Find and Cultivate Community Leaders
Throughout my career, when developing new ideas, I use two key strategies to get buy-in. First, find champions or influencers—industry and community leaders who will support and share your ideas. Second, provide education and research to the marketplace and share your ideas, “on stage” and through media as a thought leader. Both strategies take time and energy but are worth it. – David Lucatch, Liquid Avatar