How to Sell an Idea to a Manufacturer

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Coming up with a brilliant, unique and innovative idea isn’t the only difficult task; selling the idea to a manufacturer is equally, if not more, challenging. It’s not too simple to have a busy decision-maker hear your story. There are also gatekeepers to stop you midway. Even if you manage to get in touch with the right person, presenting the idea can be difficult unless you’re fully prepared.

  • Select the right person to deliver the idea. Decision-makers will make a quick impression of your credibility, so starting with a CEO may not be the best opening. It would be better to approach an individual from middle or top management, who has greater chances of being heard by the CEO.

  • Present the idea clearly. Illustrate how the idea will benefit the manufacturer. Do some research and give practical examples where the idea will add value to the firm’s products or services. For instance, if the idea involves developing an efficient supply chain, explain how the firm will benefit from this improvised structure. Will the firm deliver its products in time? Will the idea help mitigate risk involved with supply chain?

  • Speak from the perspective of the decision-makers. Your presentation might be attended by heads of functional departments that the idea relates to. The audience might not be convinced unless you explain benefits of implementing the idea from their perspective. For instance, if you have a new marketing idea for the company’s products, you should convince the marketing head that the world will understand this new plan. Likewise, for an idea related to sales, explain to the sales head why the customers will buy it.

  • Be prepared to defend your business idea as it will be challenged by all sorts of questions. Evaluate the pros and cons of the idea beforehand.

  • Keep the idea as low-risk as possible, if you want it to sell. No manufacturer is willing to implement a very risky project; so always work on reducing the risk.

  • End the presentation with a few final questions to figure out what the audience thinks about your new idea. Always ask the next-step questions such as “When will the budget committee prepare the budget?”

Tips & Warnings

  • Be well-prepared for the presentation.
  • Do not sound too excited about the new idea. Let others speak their minds, too, even if they disagree with you.
  • Be ready to be criticized for your work.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
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