Bring People in Early

A couple more things about selling: When you show people ideas that are undergoing development, they can take ownership. They can say, "Hey, I kind of like where that's going." Then, after you fully develop "their" idea, they are already onboard. I must tell you that people don't generally derail projects they have a vested interest in. Show them ideas early so they can be partners in the solution.

Again, in the advertising business I've seen many creatives who are petrified of showing others their ideas as they materialize, even internally. They often hold back from sharing ideas with the suits until they're running out the door. Then all kinds of bad stuff can happen . . . the suits aren't prepared to sell . . . they don't know what's on your mind . . . they don't know what your recommendation is . . . they have seconds to make up their mind instead of being part of the process . . . and quite often they will decide what they're going to sell regardless of what you want them to present. Not good.

When you involve people early, you take a leap, but again, having crystal clear roles defines who creates and who reacts. Even if their reaction doesn't support your point of view, it's good to know this early. As an advertising creative person, I used the early in-house presentation as a gauge of what the client was going to think. I don't want to be ambushed by the client's objections at the moment of truth; I want to know in advance what the objections may or may not be. That's why I like having this interim, internal meeting.

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