How To Sell Your Business Idea To Skeptics

by Sean Ross

2 min read

If you are trying to design a new product or launch a new small business concept, you need to learn how to persuade strangers and skeptics of its potential. Find out how to persuade skeptics to take your business idea seriously.

Use Psychology to Your Advantage

People have to want to believe in your business idea. If it not enough to give investors a list of rational reasons to believe in your product or concept; you have to use psychology to your advantage.

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt uses the analogy of a rider on top of an elephant. The rider (logic and reasoning) makes conscious decisions, but usually only as a justification for what the elephant (unconscious intuitions and emotions) wants to do. “Learning how to train the elephant is the secret of self-improvement,” writes Haidt.

People are intuitively attracted to specific things, such as confidence, vision, willpower and friendliness. Most are intuitively suspicious of complicated change or neediness. If you really want good business ideas to attract startup financing, figure out how to make them trust you and like your vision.

Listen and Acknowledge Their Concerns

Good listeners learn more (and faster) than others. They connect with other people on a deeper level. They are also more likely to persuade people, because others want to like them.

When you face skeptics, avoid reacting defensively. You don’t always need to have the answer to every problem that arises. Instead, acknowledge that their concerns are valid and that you appreciate how seriously they are thinking through the details, but that you remain confident and determined nonetheless.

Leverage Your Competencies

Other people will be more likely to believe in the prospects for your business idea if they get the feeling that you are really good at what you do. You have to sell yourself (and any partners you may have) as much as the actual business. For example, you can try to leave the skeptics with the impression that you are a scarce resource and that now might be their only opportunity to become partners in your future success.

Step 4: Avoid the Complicated and Confusing Whenever Possible

Imagine you are in a foreign country and a waiter who does not speak your language places a strange dish in front of you. You don’t recognize anything on the plate, nor do you recognize any of the utensils you are supposed to use. You probably aren’t going to start eating anything on the dish until you receive some more information.

In other words, you need someone to help explain away the risk of the unknown. The same principle holds true when you are pitching a business idea. Investors and lenders become risk-adverse when they encounter the strange, exotic, complicated or confusing. Don’t give them too many reasons to doubt what you’re trying to serve them.

References & Resources

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