Anger management, changing perceptions, expectations management, risk aversion, new CRM systems, protectionism, inertia and even monkeys – There’s always so much variety when we discuss the challenge of partner buy-in for marketers in professional service firms!

At the most recent PM Forum workshop “Getting it past the partners – All about buy-in“ in early June I think we did as much therapy as much as we did theory. A key takeaway for many delegates was a Michael Jackson moment: “You are not alone”.

This workshop is based on my model of the 7 Ps of buy-in: People, Psychology, Process/Precision, Plan, Persuasion, Pressure and Patience (see ).

Visualise the big picture and then break down the small steps 

Taking time out to sit back and think about what you are trying to achieve (and why) is always valuable.

So we spent some time visualising our end goals in whatever projects we are tackling. Then we were able to work out the small steps needed to get us there. Breaking things down into bite-sized pieces can be an effective strategy where people are time poor with short attention spans.

Be positive, persuasive and persistent

Achieving buy-in demands an incredible array of selling skills – not least the ability to be positive, persuasive and persistent.

Understanding the perspective of busy fee-earners is also a challenge – especially when their attitudes, personalities and motivations are so different. And the approaches you might need to adopt need to be just as diverse.

Rather than attempting to impose our agendas and ideas on the partners, we looked at how we can learn more about their needs. We agreed that it was important to include them in discussions at the outset so that they buy-in at the start to plans that they themselves have developed.

I think my personal favourite was the idea that as marketers and business developers we must “assist not insist”.

Labelling and reframe

The most popular concept for the delegates at this session was labelling and reframing. And I have written about these in previous blogs (see, for example