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Buy-In

Topic tour guide

In a hurry? This page will take you through a brief tour of every section in this topic and will enable you to click on a link should you wish to read more.

Gaining buy-in often requires flexibility in positioning ideas in such a way that they appeal to the audience. In this section we look at a number of different ways of positioning ideas. We also look at a number of different influencing strategies. Finally, whether driving organisational change or persuading someone to a different course of action there is likely to be an element of resistance. We look at why we resist and how to overcome this.

What the research tells us

Our research shows that the most successful HR people are able to adopt different styles and approaches when working with clients. They are flexible both in how they position ideas and HR products and in their influencing tactics. Whilst they are clear about the business outcomes they want to achieve, they are flexible about how they position initiatives in different parts of the business. They can work successfully with clients who have different styles. They adopt a range of influencing tactics.

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Matching preferences

This section introduces you to a number of ideas that can influence how clients like to receive information and be motivated. We call these preferences. They tend to determine where someone puts their focus. If you can identify and match what the client likes, they will be more receptive to the information or idea you are presenting.

  • Preferences

Use this preferences grid to plot the preferences of important clients and then plan your influencing tactics by matching as many of the client’s preferences as possible.

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  • How people like to be motivated

Some people take action to avoid problems or unpleasant consequences. Others are motivated by the prospect of gaining something desirable.

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  • How much detail do people like

Some people like a lot of detail, while others are more interested in the big picture. You’ll get your message across much better if you always give the level of detail your client prefers.

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  • How people make decisions and judgements

Some people make judgements and decisions inside their body. They get a feeling or just know what is right, whereas others like external feedback and to canvas the opinion of others. This is the prime focus for judging, evaluating, and deciding responses.

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  • Whether people like to reflect or act

This preference determines whether a person prefers to act immediately or to reflect before acting. This preference is most noticeable over time as you work with someone.

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  • Whether people notice what is the same or different

Some people notice what is similar. They like to link new information to things they already know. They notice what is the same, whereas others look for what is different. They notice how things have changed.

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  • Whether people like choice or a defined course

Some people get excited about opportunities or possibilities to do different things. They like to have more than one course of action open to them. Others feel most comfortable following a set way. Once they have a procedure they will follow it. They are more interested in how to do things not in why.

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  • How people use words

Great writers engage their audience by using words that appeal to all the senses – visual, feeling and auditory. People typically use one type of words more than others.

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  • Influence channel

Everyone has a specific means by which they become convinced (or influenced or persuaded) to an idea, course of action or approach.

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  • Frequency

There are differences in how frequently people need to receive information. Some people need to be told a number of times or have a number of examples. Others need to be convinced over a period of time. Time is the deciding factor for them. Some people assume the information is correct. Others need to have something proven to them over and over.

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Influencing strategies

There are many different strategies that can be employed to influence your clients. This section includes a number of these.

  • Pace and lead

One of the mistakes that we can make is to present an idea or new approach to a client before they are ready to receive it. Sowing seeds and monitoring when a client is ready to agree are all key influence skills.

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  • Six influence tactics

Extensive research has identified a number of influence tactics that operate on people at a level below conscious awareness.

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  • CORE model

The CORE model helps us to understand the neurological impact of our influencing strategies on others. Being aware of this can help us plan our strategies more successfully.

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  • Frame and reframing

When influencing your client or when you are experiencing resistance to your ideas, consider if you are using the most appropriate frame and how the use of a different one may help the client see a new point of view or opportunity.

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  • Language of influence

The following language patterns have been shown to gently influence people. It is essential that you are in rapport to use these patterns. It is also essential that your intentions are ethical and that you are influencing with integrity, because these patterns work at an unconscious level and your intentions will also be communicated to the other person’s unconscious.

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  • The emotional journey of a group

Influencing a group of people requires that you position the idea to appeal to different motivational preferences and information needs.

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  • Inspiring others

If you have a goal or vision for the function or your part of the business, you need to convince and inspire others towards achieving that goal. People who inspire use common approaches when talking about their vision.

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  • Writing to influence

Some principles to write influentially.

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Dealing with resistance

Whether driving organisational change or persuading someone to a different course of action there is likely to be an element of resistance. We look at why we resist and how to overcome this.

  • Why we resist

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  • Dealing with resistance

One of the most challenging skills for HR people is dealing successfully with resistance from the client. This is especially difficult when we believe strongly in the idea or solution we are presenting to them. This section looks at the different types of resistance and a strategy for dealing with it.

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  • Know your enemy

If you are having difficulty with one or more people in your client group use the model below to analyse why. Then use the suggestions to modify your approach when dealing with the person.

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Preparing your approach

  • Expectation management

What are your expectations for acceptance of your idea? This section helps to prepare and check out your expectations.

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  • Communication and listening

We all have habitual ways in which we communicate. By understanding more about your habits you can choose which to modify to improve your skills. Use this checklist to analyse your style and prepare your approach.

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  • Style flexibility

Style flexibility is the key to gaining buy-in. Once you have determined the business result you desire you need to choose the best style to get the result. This checklist helps you determine how flexible you are.

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Quick and easy habits

The more often you practice these skills the more you will embed them until they become a habit. This section gives you a list of quick and easy actions to do this. It includes quick and easy habits to Develop yourself, Ways to use these strengths more and ideas to Build these skills with others.

Other resources

Click here for a list of books and websites for further reading and for a summary of other topics in the Success Kitbag.