How to Sell Your Marketing Ideas Like an FBI Negotiator

So you’ve got a marketing idea.

But you need help to execute it. Or a colleague is actively campaigning against your idea. Or everyone is ignoring you.

Having the idea is only half the battle. Now you’ve got to convince other folks it’s the right way to go in order to make it happen.

Lucky for you, there are a few simple steps you can take to better sell marketing ideas. Today, we’ll take a look at a few tactics employed by one of the world’s best FBI hostage negotiators, the CEO of The Black Swan Group Ltd, and co-author of the book, Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss, that will help you convince others your idea is their idea. And that makes for a whole bunch of happy campers.

Discover the top negotiation techniques for selling marketing ideas:

1. Use mirroring

Mirroring is repeating something the other person says in a genuinely curious tone, and then being quiet, allowing them to expand on their thought. It’s easiest to begin by mirroring only their last few words.

Them: “I’m going to send the email to the whole list.”

You: “The whole list?”

By showing interest, the other person will feel heard and provide valuable information for you to build upon.

Use mirroring by repeating words the other person is using (start by saying the last part of their sentence with genuine curiosity), to better sell your marketing ideas. Click To Tweet

2. Use labeling

Labeling is taking your observations about how someone is feeling or acting and “tagging” them with it by stating it out loud. Always start with something like, “It seems like…” and never use “I think…”. Then state the feeling. After that give them time to respond by being quiet.

Them: “I have to send to the whole list right now.”

You: “It seems like you might feel rushed…”

3. Show progress

There are very few true deadlines that aren’t self-created. Mostly when people institute deadlines what they’re looking for is simply progress. So, show progress by explaining what has been done or what you will do first. This can help de-stress the situation.

4. Get them to say “no”

Due to the law of reciprocity, when people give you something, they expect for you to give them something back. And, people feel more in control when they say no. So, rather than trying to get a “yes” from someone, get agreement by using a “no”. That way they have committed to something but don’t feel the negative impact of the weight of a yes.

You: “Would it be crazy to finish that email by tomorrow?” or “Would it be too much to ask to finish that email by tomorrow?”

5. Don’t use “why?”

Because when most of us were younger we did something wrong and an authority figure such as our parents asked us why we did it, we generally have negative connotations towards “why?”. It puts us on the defensive since it feels accusatory. So, use “how?” or “what?” whenever possible, in place of “why?”.

You: “What led you to send the email?”

6. Let them solve the problem for you

If someone wants you to do something, ask them how. Asking how to do something is a great way to push the problem back onto the original requester. And, because you’re implementing their idea, they’re going to be more likely to appreciate the result.

Them: “Hey you – send the email.”

You: “How am I supposed to do that?”

Sell marketing ideas smartly

Now you’re ready to negotiate like a bo$$ and sell that latest marketing idea. Up next, find out what the best outreach emails have in common.

Would it be too crazy to ask you to send a $5 tip to my Venmo tip jar because this article gave you a new negotiation technique to use? @megsterr.

Or to my Paypal:

By Megan Mitzel

I'm the wearer of overalls behind the marketing advice website Marketing Overalls. I'm also a senior marketing director with more than ten years of experience leading acquisition and lifecycle marketing at successful startups. Before that, I got a business degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before that, I owned a seashell shop. And that's the tea on me.