Selling a concept is very difficult because no one can see it or touch it — ideas are invisible. Your prospects can’t hold an idea in their hands or examine a concept from every angle. There are no tires to kick or cushions to kick-back and relax on or sizes to try on for fit and comfort.
To make matters worse, the brighter and more revolutionary the idea is, the harder it becomes to sell because there are fewer things to which you can compare and contrast a paradigm-shifting concept. If you’ve truly had a creative epiphany, it might be difficult to share your new insight (it’s what made the idea so visionary in the first place).
Here are some ideas on how to sell your ideas
As you begin to try winning buy-in from colleagues or customers on your concepts, remember to be patient. The idea may be crystal clear in your head, but other people will need varying amounts of time to see what you see. Don’t let yourself get frustrated or it will be obvious to your audience and will impact their receptiveness.
Use metaphor, simile, and other comparisons with familiar concepts to help others understand your concept. Filmmakers are masters at getting people to understand a movie concept by pairing a familiar concept with a new twist. Pretty much everyone knows the movie Die Hard. They also know the movie Jaws. So when someone pitches them the movie Speed by describing it as “Die Hard on a bus” or tries to get them to make the movie Alien by pitching it as “Jaws in space” it helps their prospect to see the concept in their minds eye even though there are no preview reels, movie posters, or even a script.
Create simple sketches on the back of a napkin or build physical prototypes so your prospects can see and touch at least a rough version of your idea. Practice drawing simple images while pitching your concept. Even the roughest of drawings can be more effective than mere words while trying to explain an idea. You can even print a “sketch” by using a 3D printer. The technology has dropped in price and there are plenty of companies out there willing to take your files and scans to turn them into 3D printed objects.
Don’t forget to use outside resources as necessary in order to produce the visual you might need to get a customer to buy into your invisible idea. Browse work-for-hire sites like Fiverr.com to find talented individuals at a reasonable rate who can create animations, voice overs, videos, website wire frames, and product mock-ups that you can use in your presentations.
Use any advantage you can in order to help your audience envision the ideas that you want to make a reality.