Workshop on buy-in

Thanks to Stevens Bolton for hosting a Professional Marketing Forum workshop on buy-in Guildford After a lively session including exercises, discussions and sharing ideas, the delegates selected the following top 10 takeaways:

1. Face-to-face contact

A recent HBR report suggested that face-to-face requests were 34 times more likely to be accepted than those by email or telephone. The importance of face-to-face contact in selling situations is explored further here: We also talked about the power of proximity in cross-selling situations.

2. Empathy and Emotional intelligence

Empathy is the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. We need to understand people before we try to influence or persuade them. When we understand their point of view it is easier to adapt our message (stressing the benefits to them, “move towards a gain” or “shift away from pain” etc). Emotional intelligence is explored further here: and this EQ book is recommended

3. Motivation

We explored some models of personality that showed general differences in motivation (i.e. dogs – motivated by affiliation, cats – motivated by achievement and bears – motivated by power and control). We also spent some time considering the different motivations of those we wish to influence including money, power, recognition and reputation. More about motivation:

4. Push and pull communication

If we push, people will resist. So we need to pull in their interest. This requires a relationship, engagement, mutual understanding and a recognition of what will be attractive to the other person to earn their interest. Push communications are directive. Pull communications are on the other end of spectrum with consultative and coaching styles.

5. Listen

It is easy to get wrapped up in what we want to say. But we need to understand other people’s perspectives and views. So we must ensure that we listen carefully to what they are saying – both the words that are used and the way in which the words are spoken (i.e. the non-verbal communication). Active listening skills are explored here:

6. Personal power

We considered our personal credibility. We considered the importance of trust (see And we considered the PIA model of personal power with reference to characters Jessica Pearson and Harvey Spectre from the TV series Suits Let’s be more Jessica! Let’s ask more incisive questions!

7. Power partners

We can enlist the support of powerful partners to act as champions, sponsors, supporters and influencers. They are hugely influential as role models when new behaviours are introduced. They can be our innovators and early adopters. They can act as change catalysts. There are several posts about change management – for example:

8. Adaptive third

We looked at ways to segment the internal audience – to consider who will be impacted by change and who has influence. We also talked about the research that shows a third of people are more likely to adapt to change

9. Alignment

People are tribal. We get an important sense of identity and belonging when we identify with those in the same in-group. Many of our firms operate in silos. People focus on their area of expertise and their clients and fail to see the bigger picture. We need to find ways to align our aims with their objectives so that we are fighting the same cause and on the same side. There’s a danger we in marketing and business development can get trapped in silos too.

10. Change management

Achieving buy-in to particular initiatives and projects is usually part of a much greater change management programme. Changing the culture of a firms is an immensely difficult and risky thing to do – we must not lose what has made our firm so successful along the way. While there are many guides to support change management (I particularly like the simplicity of the three stage model in this book we must also learn to be patient and persistent. ‘Slowly, slowly catchee monkey.’

Other blogs on buy-in include:

Many of the psychological and persuasion themes explored in the workshop are covered in my new book “Better Business Relationships – insight from psychology and management for working in a digital world”