We’ve all been there when you have a killer idea, the best that you have ever come up with, but when you bring it to management, it gets shot down almost immediately. After those situations, you start to question, what happened? What you could have done differently? How you could have gotten an approval?
However, you should keep in mind that a rejected idea does not mean that it isn’t a great idea or that management doesn’t like it. It could simply mean that it’s not something that either aligns with the dealership or it doesn’t seem vital for the organization to do.
To get your big idea accepted and approved, you have to ensure that you’ve done all the research possible and pitched it in a way that management has no other choice but to approve.
Before we can get into the hows, it’s important to mention what a strong pitch has. So, a strong pitch should be:
- Original and Creative. If many are already doing your idea, then it’s not going to be something that many executives will go for.
- Objective Based. The big idea needs to solve a big problem that the dealership currently faces. It needs to be delivered with care, which inevitably means that it should be something that you know and care about.
- Career Enhancing. As great as your idea is, many people want to focus on the ‘what’s in it for me’ aspect – even if they don’t say it out loud.
- Visual. Visualization is a big part of the pitching process. If people are able to visualize your idea, then the likelihood of it getting green-lighted is increased.
- Financially Sound. If your idea is a money-loser, then many executives will not go for it simply as it would not be a wise business decision.
When you’re thinking of an idea, you’ll need to be prepared to answer some questions by your superiors. These questions are some the things that you’ll need to consider when you’re contemplating or thinking up new ideas.
- How Does It Contribute To The Mission Of The Dealership?
You want your ideas to contribute to the organization and how it fits into the bigger picture. It shouldn’t just be about how it will add to your resume. Rather, you should focus on how it’ll advance the organization as a whole. A great approach for this is to talk about where the idea came from.
- What Do You Need In Order To Make It Happen?
Once the idea has been contextualized, you’ll need to think through it’ll impact everyone involved and everyone at the dealership. Will you need additional space, resources, and staff?
- When Will You Find The Time?
Adding a new project to your list of daily tasks can mean additional demands on your time. So, one of the first tasks that you’ll want to achieve is assuring your boss that this new project will not distract you from your current workload.
So, once all those questions have been answered and you’ve created a strong pitch, you can now start to think about how to successfully present your pitch to the higher-ups. Whether you’re presenting a pitch for a new process, product, or special initiative, you’ve got this. All you’re going to need is a few delivery style adjustments and some solid preparation.
- Make It Relevant
Before beginning your slide preparation, you should take time to understand the executive’s level, interests, and role. For example, while the general manager has the ability to greenlight your project, the finance director can advise on the purchases that can be made this quarter, and the head of operations can approve of new equipment investments. Research each management personnel’s role and responsibility before you prepare your pitch.
- Know What You’re Asking For
What is your goal? Is your goal to get the support of your executive? Will you need their influence, resources, expertise, or advise to make your idea a reality? Whatever the case, you need to be specific about how your manager can support your success, whether that be with just information or an update.
But if you need something bigger, then don’t be shy to ask. You have to be direct with what you need from the manager, whether that’s just an approval or some sort of action.
- Cut Your Time In Half
Time is precious, so it’s important to communicate your idea concisely. Executives who have used to individuals vying for attention tend to lead scheduled lives. Your meeting might be your most important priority, it will undoubtedly be just another task on their day.
So, if they are running late to the meeting, the best advice is to just roll with it. There is probably a good reason. Even if the meeting starts on time, it will be likely that it will get cut short so be prepared to have an abbreviated agenda. The goal of the meeting should be to say your pitch and leave some time for questions and discussion.
- Inform But Don’t Overwhelm
Each manager will have different needs for information. While one executive might want more detail, another could have different preferences. You should find out what to expect by speaking with individuals who know the person well. You can ask the assistant and get a direct report about the preferred decision-making style, methods of communication, and presentation format.
- Be Mindful Of The Impact
You should be aware of how your idea can affect the dealership as a whole. It’s often a forgotten detail on an otherwise thorough presentation. While preparing, you should try to consider what might change as a direct result of the idea you’re proposing. If it will require a significant change in how business is done at the dealership, then you should ensure to address this straight.
- Don’t Be Intimidated
Whatever you do, try not to let your nerves get the best of you. The tenure and level of a senior executive should not make you feel less than you are. You should try to differentiate between the person and their title. Try to have faith in yourself and form genuine relationships with your superiors.
- Build Coalitions
Things get done faster and better when individuals in organization work together. By enlisting the support of your peers, you can get your idea off the ground. You can also leverage your customers, the people that will inevitably benefit from your idea.
It’s normal to feel trepidation about giving pitches, especially if you’ve never done so before. However, with the steps we’ve given above along with all the preparation tips, you’ll be a pro at making pitches in no time.