minds or accept new options. Some people are threatened by anything new or different; hitting such people over the head with the benefits yields nothing but people with sore heads. The bigger the impact on these buyers--as they perceive it--the longer the sales cycle. The key is patient persistence and persistent patience.
Build trust before you start to sell. Buyers generally don't purchase from people they don't trust. And their trust in you won't suddenly emerge when you have a point of view to sell. Therefore, the more effort you put into building solid relationships with those you may eventually want to sell to, the better your odds of a successful sale.
In building trust, remember the power of listening. People who feel you've truly listened to them tend to be more predisposed to listening to you as well.
Learn from rejection. If your attempted sale fails, try to find out why so you can adjust future proposals accordingly. When Lloyd asked his manager why she rejected his proposal for a new testing tool, he learned that an ominous change in corporate policy had turned purchasing into a painful process requiring countless justifications and sign-offs. The result: Managers resisted all non-critical purchases. Thus informed, Lloyd became more selective about what he requested.
Accept that you won't always make the sale. When I was an IT manager, I had the amusing experience of trying to persuade my director to initiate an employee recognition program. I presented my idea at a staff meeting. He dismissed the idea. I waited a couple of weeks and sent him my ideas in memo form. No luck. A month later, I submitted a formal proposal. A few days later, back came the proposal with a pre-printed sticky note on it that said: "Absolutely, positively, NO!" I got the picture.