Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

The 3 Keys To Selling Your Agenda

We all have an agenda.  It’s true.  There’s always an angle, a plan, or a certain desired outcome.  I’ve never believed a person who claimed they didn’t have an agenda.  Its in our human spirit and DNA to have one.  But, getting that agenda sold through is often quite challenging, even when the agenda is a fantastic idea that benefits the masses.  How often have we seen even the president of the United States stymied in getting his agenda sold through Congress?  Frankly, too often.

People who are able to sell their agenda go places.  It’s that simple.  If you can’t sell your point of view you’re going to have a difficult time moving upward and onward.  Often times the problem with getting your agenda sold through is that we focus on getting 100% buy-in.  We want people to be fully bought in.  We want 100% consensus.  That’s a really difficult mountain to climb.  There are days, when I don’t even have 100% buy-in from myself on what to wear.  Getting 100% buy-in is often times impossible.  Should we really be surprised by that though? No 2 people are 100% alike, so why would we expect them to think 100% alike?

I tried to fight all the battles with all the people for years.  I wanted people to buy my idea 100%.  As you’d imagine, I had a really difficult time making that happen.  Finally, a good friend of mine suggested I try out a model he called “PSD.”  Yes, PSD, is a Photoshop Document file.  However, that’s not what he was talking about 🙂  The PSD model is an acronym for Promote, Support, and Defend.

  • Promote: Can they promote your recommendation/position?  Do they understand the key talking points well enough to deliver the short elevator speech?  These people evangelize and proactively sell your position.  Their role is to seek out people to convert.  You’ll generally find that it’s the young, the idealist, and the ones who want change that will become the promoters.
  • Support: Maybe they don’t agree with you 100%.  Maybe they don’t completely buy-in to your agenda.  Honestly, they may not even care about the issue, the situation, or your POV.  That’s ok.  All you need you to do is ensure they support the idea at a high level.  Simply put, do they see value in the idea?  If they do, you can convince them to support the idea.  Much like politics, they might not be able to agree with everything the candidate says, but often they can support the spirit of the platform?  You’ll find that the majority of people fall into this category.  It’s a low involvement category.  They don’t even need to know the details, they just need to be able to answer “yes” when asked, “do you think this is a good idea.”
  • Defend: Can they defend your recommendation/position?  Do they understand your position well enough that they can essentially be an extension of you? These people are probably the most important of the 3 groups.  They will fight your battles for you.  You can stop being the mouthpiece.  By letting them defend your position you can free yourself from having to convince the majority of people and instead focus your time on the most influential/critical people.  The key point to remember with this group is they are not proactively selling your position.  They aren’t looking to evangelize.  They are looking to squash dissension though.

The goal should be to challenge each person that can influence your ability to sell to Promote, Support, or Defend your agenda.  This negates the need for 100% buy-in and shifts the conversation to something that’s much more achievable: consensus.  The next time, you’re trying to get your agenda sold through give the Promote, Support, Defend model a try.  You just might like the results.