Online Business: How to Sell Your Ideas – Earl Nightingale
Have you ever approached your boss with a red-hot idea for increasing efficiency, only to have him become resentful instead of enthusiastic? Have you ever offered your wife or husband or the neighbors so-called good advice? If you have, you know what I mean when I say that people resent having other people’s ideas forced on them.
When someone approaches us with a new idea, our instinctive reaction is to put up a defense against it. We feel that we must protect our individuality and the status quo; and most of us are egotistical enough to think that our ideas are better than someone else’s.
There are three tested rules for putting your ideas across to other people so as to arouse their enthusiasm. Here they are:
Rule 1: Use a fly rod, not a feeding tube. Others won’t accept your idea until they can accept it as their idea. When you want to sell someone an idea, take a lesson from the fisherman who casts his fly temptingly near the trout. He could never ram the hook into the trout’s mouth. But he can entice the trout to come to the hook.
Don’t appear too anxious to have your ideas accepted. Just bring them out where they can be seen. You might say, “Have you considered this?” instead of “This is the way.” “Do you think this idea would work?” is better than “Here’s what we should do.” Let the other person sell himself on your idea.
Then he’ll stay sold.
Rule 2: Let the other person argue your case for you. He instinctively feels called upon to raise some objection to save face. Give him a chance to disagree with you—by presenting your own objections!
“The way to convince another,” said Ben Franklin, “is to state your case moderately and accurately. Then say that, of course, you may be mistaken about it; which causes your listener to receive what you have to say and, like as not, turn about and convince you of it, since you are in doubt. But if you go at him in a tone of positiveness and arrogance, you only make an opponent of him.”
Abraham Lincoln used the same technique in selling his ideas to a jury. He argued both sides of the case—but there was always the subtle suggestion that his side was the logical one. An opposing lawyer said of him, “He made a better statement of my case to the jury than I could have made myself.”
Rule 3: Ask, don’t tell. Patrick Henry, another famous idea salesman, knew how to do this. In his famous “liberty or death” speech, he asked, “Our brethren are already in the field—why stand we here idle?… Shall we lie supinely on our backs?… What is it that gentlemen wish?… What would they have?… Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” Try saying the same thing in positive statements, and see how much antagonism it would invoke.
Three rules for selling your ideas: (1) Use a fly rod, not a feeding tube. (2) Let the other person argue your case for you by not being too sure. And (3) ask, don’t tell. It’s very good advice, I think. Don’t you?
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Also published on Medium.