You can present fantastic solutions to meet your client’s requirements. Solutions that could even solve many additional problems for them. But if you don’t get buy in for those solutions, they actually don’t matter.
"When you explain your idea and hit them with data, you can move their heads, but are you moving their hearts?
We need to get people to care about what we’re saying. Facts alone can’t always do that. We can help people understand our idea, and it’s a lot more difficult to get them to care about the idea."
Reference: David Saboe and Mary Lynn Manns ¹
Why is getting “Buy In” important
Your project will run smoother if stakeholders understand and contribute to your solution ideas. The better stakeholders understand your ideas, the more they will be able to co-create the solutions with you.
"Real buy-in involves at least some element of co-creation. It invites discussion, debate, and allows everyone to feel even more vested in the outcome."
Reference: How To Get Real Buy-In For Your Idea ²
In this video I am sharing my view on why it is so important to get “Buy-In” of your solution ideas.
And the specific techniques I use when implementing Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.
To better explain how Buy In works, I am sharing my experience on a recent project where I started a workshop without using any of the “Buy In” techniques and realized that I was confusing my audience. People didn’t connect at all with the solution idea I was presenting. I proceeded by using 4 different techniques to bring back my audience and help them better connect to my solution ideas.
Technique Nr. 1: Present your solution ideas using “stories” instead of “facts”.
When you present a solution idea to your stakeholders, always present it within a story. Don’t show screens and technical features before setting the context. Help your client imagine how the solution will fit in a real life scenario.
Why stories help with Buy-In:
- People can relate to them. Your audience can see the situation in their mind which leads to a better understanding of the idea and ultimately better contribution.
- Stories are memorable and repeatable. Your stakeholder will remember them longer and will be able discuss them internally after you have presented them.
Technique Nr. 2: Reiterate the problem and how you came to the solution.
When discussing ideas and solutions, your audience will have a lot of “What if” questions. This is important and you need people to challenge your ideas and solutions but there is a fine limit. If you feel that people are trying to break your solution for the wrong reasons, then you need to find a way out as this is not going to benefit your project.
Bring people back to the reality of the situation and remind everyone about the problem we are trying to solve. Walk people through your thought process and explain why you think that it’s a good solution for them.
Technique Nr. 3: Understand your audience and relate the solution and your stories to what they care about.
Get to know your stakeholders. Find out what they care about, speak their language and relate your ideas to what is important to them.
Here is a list of questions to help you understand what your audience cares about. Before asking those questions, explain the purpose of what you are trying to do.
- What’s the one thing you would like to change about your current job?
- What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now or worked on in the last year?
- What’s one professional skill you’re currently developing?
- What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
And some a little more personal:
- What’s a mistake you made early on in your career and what did you learn from it?
- What’s your secret talent that no one knows about?
- Where’s your favorite place in the world?
- A great book you read recently that you would advise?
- What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
- Do you collect anything?
Remember, getting to know people takes time, but it comes with great benefits.
Technique Nr. 4: Let your audience co-create the solution with you.
This is my favorite trick to get buy-in of my solution ideas. It consists of guiding your audience to co-create the solution with you.
To accomplish this I present my solution ideas using the following 2 approaches:
- Present part of your solution and guide your audience to come up with the missing pieces.
- Flag the limitations and pitfalls of your solution. If used correctly this trick will trigger your listeners to empathise with your problem. You audience will try to help you fix the issue and ultimately find the missing piece of your solution.
- David Saboe and Mary Lynn Manns: https://masteringbusinessanalysis.com/mba170-persuasion-get-buy-in-for-your-ideas/
- How To Get Real Buy-In For Your Idea: https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2015/03/16/how-to-get-real-buy-in-for-your-idea