Be Persuasive in 60 Seconds or Less

If you are like most managers in today's fast-paced world, part of your job is to "sell" to your superiors your ideas, your suggestions, your solutions, etc.

But most executives are too busy - and have too many priorities dancing around in their heads all the time.

If you catch them on the hallway, on the elevator, on their way out, etc., you better know how to pitch to them (in one minute or less) if you want them to tell you, "Oh yeah, that sounds interesting - why don't you come to my office tomorrow at 9:00 in morning to talk about this?"

But how do you accomplish this in one minute or less?

Easy, just tell your superior what you want to tell her, following this formula:

"Would you like to X? If so, all you need to do is Y"

Where X equals the benefit and Y equals what you want them to do.

Let's start with X, the benefit:

Typically, the benefit(s) for an executive is either gains increase and/or costs reduction. That's it.

But don't you think about benefits in general - rather - focus on one specific indicator (if you work in an organization, you have indicators by which you are measured).

Your job is to identify the indicator by which the executive (you want to approach) is measured.


Let's say you want your superior to approve the purchase of a specific new machine that costs three million dollars. You want your company to buy this new machine because you know that this new machine will reduce costs - you have made the math and you have figured out that the cost reduction for your company will be one million dollars every two months.

In this example, the cost reduction is the benefit.

But the benefit that you will mention to your superior is NOT "cost reduction" but rather, the specific quantity, like one million dollars every two months, or two million dollars every four months, or three million dollars every six months, etc.

If the machine costs three million dollars, the new machine will pay itself in six months - and your superior will save the company three million dollars in the first year if she approves this purchase.

Now, going back to our formula:

"Would you like to X? If so, all you need to do is Y"

Since you only have less than 60 seconds to make your case, this is what you would say in this example:

"Would you like to save the company three million dollars in the next year?"

Right after s/he gives you a puzzled look, then you add ...

"I have made the math and I have meticulously considered all the pros and cons - all you need to do is to approve the purchase of this particular machine. If you are interested, I will be more than happy to give you all the details."

If you follow this formula, you will indeed get your superior's initial and genuine attention - and she will give you the time you need (in the near future) to explain to her the features, the benefits, and the advantages of your idea. She would be crazy not to. Who doesn't want to receive benefits that are directly and 100 per cent aligned with performance indicators?


First, the purpose of this formula is NOT to make a "final sale." The purpose of this formula is to create an initial and genuine interest so that your superior gives you the necessary time you need to clearly explain the details of your idea, suggestion, solution, etc.

Second, the success of this formula lies in clearly identifying the indicator by which your superior gets measured (the benefit) - indicator that also must be directly related to what it is you want to "sell" to your superior.

Use this formula and you will get your superiors' initial and undivided attention - guaranteed.

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See you next month!
Jose Luis Romero - Publisher
July 3, 2012. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month

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