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Pitch your proposal properly

`BREAKTHROUGHS are created by those whose imaginations are greater than their circumstances.'

No doubt, numerous success stories substantiate this adage, but merely thinking big will not take you anywhere. Your brainwave to augment sales or boost customer satisfaction will remain a flight of fancy unless you know how to sell it to the boss. After all, one callous dismissal can send your loftiest dreams crashing.Yes, getting that almighty nod of approval is easier said than done - be it for your sure-shot idea, authorisation on a project, budget sanction, or a mundane leave. The possibility of your proposition receiving a resounding `aye' depends a lot on how you pitch it to him. One wrong move and you are dead even before you start. However, you can get him to say `yes' and have your way even without him realising that he has been coerced. Here's how to `make a sale' by talking him into accepting the proposal:

Actions speak louder than words

Fuel the fire in your belly with ambition and earn the reputation of a loyal and reliable achiever. Strive to engineer your career around a core of excellence with consistent performance as the forte. This will pre-sell the proposal to the boss. As Stephen Covey mentions in his highly acclaimed book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, `Building up your own credibility is a big step in getting colleagues and superiors to buy into your ideas'.

Breathe life into ideas

An abstract idea is sure to receive a brusque rejection. So, familiarise yourself with the requisite facts, statistics, case histories and documents that buttress your line of thinking. Cover loopholes with winning strategies to overcome possible objections.

Play the right tune

Put your proposal in writing and wait for an opportune time when he is cheerful, obliging and receptive. Polish your presentation skills and convey a sincere, positive and confident body language. However, do be conservative and do not over-hype the proposal as `the next best thing' in a bid to talk him into the idea.

Hand it on a platter

Subtly rephrase the project proposal so that it aligns with the boss's needs, goals and image. It will disarm him. So, paint it in a colour that blends with corporate objectives, profitability and growth.

Go for the jugular

Beating around the bush with an unending homily as a forerunner to your request will just keep the boss jumping through hoops wondering (or even dreading) what you are driving at. Instead, forthrightly state what you want and then build a logical case to ground the requirement. Present a hard-hitting rationale, implementation, feasibility, etc. Downplay the cost of investment and highlight beneficial returns along with the probable consequences if the proposal is not accepted. Do put yourself in your boss's shoes and help him absorb the concepts. "Recognise that your boss has to go through a similar journey of understanding to what you travelled to get there. Help him discover what you are proposing and you will find that you won't have to waste time manoeuvring or dodging."

Hit the bull's eye

Once he decides to endorse the proposal, do not push your luck too far by prodding on with your persuasive wiles. Know when to stop, lest you just `unsell' yourself in the process. Thank him and leave while you are still winning!

Swallow the bitter pill

If the response is an unfortunate `no', do not get impulsive and play the blame game. Gracefully accept the knock back and take responsibility for the failure. However, if you find a lot of rebuttals winging your way, indulge in some introspection exercise to analyse what went wrong and how to improve your skills. After all, `no' is just another step closer to `yes'! So, get ready to make your pitch.

PAYAL AGARWAL

faqs@cnkonline.com

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