How do you sell something?

I’m not talking about selling as it relates to being a sleazy car salesman, a fast-talking telemarketer, or even a “let me know if you need any help” retail salesperson.

You’re not any of those.

But you are a salesperson.

You sell ideas.

You sell action.



That’s right.

Every idea, from: 

“You have got to see this movie!” 


“Stay away from the new restaurant on Main, it’s horrible!” 

to the 

This new pen I bought is worth every penny.

Every suggestion, idea, or proposal is you selling that idea so someone else will not only believe it but take action as a result of it.

Corporately you must influence other leaders and teams that don’t report to you to get a job done, pick up the slack, help with an issue your team doesn’t own, etc.  


Because what is selling at its core?


What is Selling?

Selling is influencing.

Sometimes convincing (or influencing) someone is easy.

They see the value, they like you personally, they want to help, and so it’s a simple conversation. 

Other times the conversation is pure hell.

It literally feels like you are reliving the 45-minute dinner battle you had with your child that ended with you finally giving in and letting her eat french fries and toast for the 5th time that week, am I right?

The point here is that while you may say you aren’t a salesperson, you hate salespeople, etc. the reality is that you are a salesperson.

Like it or not.

You must be in order to drive action and execution.

So if you must be a salesperson, how do you do it effectively?

The 4 Steps to Effective Selling

There are 4 steps: 

  1.  Figure out what the person wants out of the deal
  • There are two sides to every situation.  What does the person on the other side of the table want?  In the corporate world, that “want” is usually to look and feel successful.  So be sure to paint the future and show them how they will benefit.
  1. Help them understand the pain of not helping 
  • I’m not saying you should threaten them or tell them how horrible their life would be if they don’t take action.  No. Simply talk to them about how bad both your team and their team will look if you both don’t work together to get this fixed.  A damaged reputation is the pain here.
  1. Offer help and support
  • Do they need an extra hand that you can offer from your team?  Ask and offer, don’t assume either way.  
  1. Reinforce their decision with appreciation
  • Take the time to appreciate them in public.  This is the time you do in fact let the boss know how helpful they have been.  Most everyone appreciates praise when it’s done well.  Reinforce their decision to help and how that decision was valuable to you.

Seems pretty simple, right?  

It truly is when you take a moment to think about the person on the other end and ensure they benefit too.

Take time over the next week to find a situation where you can intentionally influence another person to support a project or program at work.  Find out what they want, call out the obvious risks, offer help, and appreciate them when the work is done.

It’s a great step in continuing to master business leadership.