Get Buy-In™ is the essential business and leadership skill. Without buy-in there is no action and thus no results.
The power of mutual agreement
Getting Buy-In is a process of gaining mutual agreement for action between two or more parties. Asking someone to participate in a project and gaining their agreement to do so is about getting buy-in. Leaders must effectively get buy-in if they expect people to follow, the Board of Directors to approve their strategic plans, or to select and hire top talent to join their company.
To get buy-in, you must be honest, professional, caring, and understanding. You do this as part of gaining mutual agreement for action so that both parties are served to their benefit and satisfaction. This is essential to partnering, collaborating, teaming, and leading.
When people “buy-in”, they buy you first, then your organization, then your product, service, or vision. Getting Buy-In™ is an indispensable people skill critical to communication, presentation, and moving the action forward. All successful leaders, managers, salespeople, and sales managers use the “getting buy-in” process and skills!
Milestones, Inc. has developed a 4-step model to develop the skills necessary to communicate, partner, collaborate, sell, and serve by enhancing their ability to get buy-in. Milestones offers a facilitated program to master the Getting Buy-In™ process so individuals can successfully gain the mutual agreement necessary for moving any action forward in their day-to-day work and lives.
The THREE FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS of our model are these: 1. Express a “serving” attitude. Show that you are listening, care, and are seeking to understand. 2. Follow our proven 4-step process. Understand and follow our process to maximize the buy-in. Be careful not to get things out of order. Psychologically, people follow a process for buying in. 3. Develop and practice the four core skills that support getting buy-in. LISTENING is the most important and the most difficult to master. ASKING QUESTIONS that are relevant and doing so in ways that work for the buyer is easier but still requires mastery. SUGGESTING SOLUTIONS requires synthesizing everything you have heard into a clear suggestion that your buyer will agree to and buy into. This is an art. And finally, the fourth core skill is having the courage and skill to ASK for ACTION. Get a commitment to proceed to take action toward a solution. All four of these skills can be learned and require the right practice, considering the various situations and contexts in which to apply them. We look forward to supporting you in being masterful at getting buy-in.
Get Buy-In™ Questions Answered
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Michelle Lange: Hi, it’s Michelle Lange with M Lange Media. I’m here today to talk to Brett Mallory Miles about the importance of getting buy-in. Now, Brett is an executive coach and business consultant who helps executives and business leaders learn how to get buy-in so they could achieve their goals with greater ease and speed. He’s worked with very prestigious companies, including CBRE, The Getty, DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, Universal Studios, and Toyota. Welcome, Brett.
Brett Mallory Miles: Thank you so much, Michelle. It’s great to be here.
Michelle: It’s great to have you; it’s such an important topic. I’m wondering if you could share with our audience why you think buy-in is extremely important.
Brett: Happy to do that. The whole thing that I’m finding in 25 years of teaching managers and leaders how to be better at what they’re doing is their goal always is to get agreement with other people. They know they can’t do it alone, so the notion of getting buy-in really addresses that, Michelle. It’s the idea that when there is buy-in from people, they are engaged, they’re committed, and there’s greater productivity. The way I define getting buy-in and the process and skills around that, that’s the importance.
Michelle: That’s awesome. What are some of the different areas of someone’s business and life where buy-in comes into play?
Brett: Well, certainly in business, a manager or a leader is either running a project, running a team. They’ve got outside vendors, suppliers, and other people that they’re trying to gain agreement with and coordinate all the action, all the work. Their ability to get, if you will, the agreement or the buy-in from other people quickly, easily, efficiently, is going to produce the results and the achievements they’re trying to achieve. That’s why in the business world, that’s so critical. I’ve also seen in the personal world where an individual is trying to just gain agreement with their family members.
It could be their teenagers, it could be their spouse or partner where they’re making career decisions together; do they move to the East Coast and take a job there, or whatever it may be. In the end, it’s all about gaining agreement with people, Michelle.
Michelle: I could see how that would be so important in every area of your life. Especially if you run a business where you really need to get buy-in from your team, and your vendors, and your assistants, and the different people that you work with, and even your stakeholders, investors and superiors, right?
Brett: Exactly. There’re all kinds of challenges that are faced, and managers and leaders will do presentation skills training or communication skills training to get better. They even take acting classes trying to figure out how to gain people’s agreement and followership. Getting buy-in addresses the most efficient, best way to do that, and that’s why I love it so much.
Michelle: I’m curious to know, when somebody can get buy-in? How does it change things? How can it actually shift and transform the direction of a conversation?
Brett: Well, this is a great question, because we know that in relationships with people, trust is foundational to that. Oftentimes, a manager or a leader just in the haste, in the good intention of getting results, will quickly tell somebody, “Hey, do this,” “Go here, do that,” et cetera. Without maybe taking a little bit of extra time to remember who is this person. For example, a professional doesn’t really want to be told how to do something. They just want to know what you want them to achieve and let them figure out how to get there. A rookie may need to have more direction.
When a manager or a leader takes a little bit of time to make sure there’s trust there and there’s some understanding about who their audience is, things go a lot faster and a lot smoother. Just to give you a quick tip on that.
Michelle: In fact, I read a book for parents that my brother had lying around; for parents and their children. It said that when you can even co-create solutions with your children, they’re 10 times likelier to do it. Adults are like big kids, right?
Brett: Yes, you’re exactly right. In the end, adults matter and they know they know something. They want to participate in the decision, so you’re exactly right. To co-create a solution with them is brilliant, and we teach you how to do that.
Michelle: That’s awesome. I’d love to hear more how you approach working with clients to get more buy-in. How do you help your clients be able to do that in their environments?
Brett: Okay. Well, the beautiful thing about it is, yes, it involves some skills, and yes, it involves some process. Where we start Michelle is with someone’s attitude. Because we know that when someone has an attitude with another person in a relationship that says ‘I care about you’, ‘I respect you’, ‘I’m seeking to understand what you want and need’, that transforms the whole possibility of getting buy-in. We start with an individual’s attitude, so in my case, where I’m teaching managers and leaders for example, I want the leader and manager to really ask themselves, “What is my attitude right now when I approach my team trying to get their buy-in to a strategic initiative?”
We coach them on looking at what is their attitude and what would be the best attitude, given who their team is. Because it could be a new team, it could be a team that’s well entrenched. Each team and what their situation is calls for attitude that’s going to show respect and understanding for that group. We start with attitude.
Michelle: That’s awesome. A lot of the people in my community are in different niches. I’m going to outline a couple of different demographics and the type of people they often need buy-in from. For the entrepreneurs, they need buy-in from their teams, vendors they hire, like a web developer or a video person. They need buy-in also from their clients. Similarly, my other demographic of clients are executive consultants who are going into corporate, so they are going to also need the buy-in of their clients and also of their team. What are some of the ways you’d work with this demographic to really help them, given what their niches are?
Brett: Well, I think you’ve outlined some different scenarios there that I would want to zero in on, so let’s take an entrepreneur for example to begin. An entrepreneur, and they can vary too on what they’re trying to achieve, but most entrepreneurs are trying to get things done. They’re juggling lots of balls, et cetera, so they’re moving really fast. The question is can they move quickly with other people, let’s say, vendors, suppliers, even with co-workers, and still honor the other person so the other person is not offended and feels like the entrepreneur cares about them, et cetera. That’s what we’ll work on is how do you do that quickly, how do you, in a sense, assess your audience.
Then very quickly set a context for your audience to hear that you, as the entrepreneur, care about them and are seeking their input and trying to co-create a solution. If the entrepreneur conveys that, there’s a greater likelihood they can move quickly to get buy-in with the person that they’re working with. I hope that helps.
Michelle: That makes perfect sense, because when you and I were hanging out at Jeff Walker’s event, you did laser coaching with me on getting buy-in for sales conversations. I’ve got to tell you, it was so powerful. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking. Well, I see it as —
Brett: Good. That’s where it starts. In the end, I honor each person I work with, they can do what they want to do, but most of them say, “I want to do this other thing and I’m having difficulty.” If I see a way forward, then I’m going to ask them to take a look at how they’re thinking about it. Because once they shift that, then they can decide how they want to be, and then what to do in terms of process, and what skills to use. Thank you for that, Michelle, for that compliment. I appreciate it.
Michelle: Yes, of course. For the executive consultant, which has an interesting dynamic, because they’re going into big corporations, they’re working with CEOs and influencers, how might some of these principles apply for them?
Brett: Executive coaches? Is that what you’re referring to?
Michelle: Yes. People who do work very similar to yours actually, going in and working with top level leaders, and the different stages of that. First they need to close the sale, to get the job. Then they’ve got to be highly effect when they’re in the job so they can build that long term relationship and continue to be hired.
Brett: Well, a lot of people are good at getting the business and keeping it, but some people don’t get the business right away. Or once they get it and then they feel they have permission, and they go in as a coach, and then they may violate some of what I might recommend. If we remember that to get buy-in starts with a good service attitude — and I haven’t gotten into details what are the four key steps. I’ve hinted at it that it’s seeking to understand who people are and what somebody wants and what they need. Then, step three is dialoguing about what the other person would suggest as a solution to their challenge. If I’m doing executive coaching, Michelle, I’m going to come in with an attitude of really wanting to help.
Now, that’s pretty given for most executive coaches, but I’m going to be real conscious of that. Secondly, I’m going to ask a lot of questions to find what do they want — and the want is the emotional piece — and what do they need, maybe something I see, but I’m going to ask them what do they want. A lot of times, they want more confidence or they want to be seen as respected and wanting to have people follow with what they’re recommending. I’m going to recommend that they figure out a way to co-create that with another person so that they can suggest, and hint, and direct the solution.
In the end, they’ve got to co-create, so — and there are some skills; listening, asking good questions — suggesting is a skill — But in the end, the last thing is to ask for action. A lot of times, people, they don’t ask very well, they don’t feel like they have permission to ask. I’m always saying, “Well, what do we do next? “What would you like to do next?” “What would be most helpful to you?” “What did we do well today, what didn’t we do well today?” What would you recommend I do differently as your coach?”
Asking will give us a lot of feedback, and that’s going to make the other person feel like they’re in control, and that I’m listening too, and I’m walking the talk as well. Because that’s what I’m asking them to do, is to listen more. [laughs]
Michelle: That is excellent — that is a great modeling that you just described. I could see how powerful that would be. From what I’m hearing, there are a lot of different layers to this work. I bet there are subtleties, and levels of sophistication, and training, that would probably be quite helpful. I know you’ve got a really exciting event coming up June 28th. Can you share a little bit about that?
Brett: Yes. Well, I’m calling it an intensive, Michelle, because I’m going to try to cover a lot of points, but I’m going to go as deep as the audience will allow. Now, to walk my talk, I’m going to be assessing each individual who we invite to be there and agrees to come with their behavioral style and what motivates them. Also, a quick survey to find out what do they want, and then I’m going to see whatever patterns show up. I’m going to reveal that to the group and then we’re going to try to address that. We can go as deep as the audience allows, getting into such things as mindfulness which is a term about being aware of how you’re being with people and what’s going on, being present.
You’re right, there are a lot of nuances here and we can get into those. I’m going to talk about the brain, and how the brain functions, and about your audiences. What we need to keep in mind, what their needs are so that we can all be appropriate to them. We’re going to teach the getting buy-in process, we’re going to talk about the attitude and the process and the skills. We’re also going to talk about the practical applications for that audience. I’m hoping people will bring real-life examples of what they want to achieve so by the end, they walk out with some understanding about what they can do to be more effective.
In the end, that’s the most important thing that we’re going to accomplish in this short half-day program on the 28th of June here at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel. That’s what we’re about for that.
Michelle: That is awesome. I know just knowing your work and having interacted with you that it’s going to be incredibly powerful. I’m really looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to learning from your teaching and the dynamic people that will be in the room. Thank you, Brett; this is exciting.
Brett: Yes, it’s going to be a great group. I’ll do my best to walk the talk; I’m going to allow the adults in the room to dialogue with me and with each other. There is going to be a lot of value received, there is no doubt about that.
Michelle: That is so awesome. Well, I can’t wait. Thank you again, this was really awesome.
Brett: Thank you. I hope people come, I know you’re going to be inviting some people. I’ve got several people that are key; they are coming as well, so I’m excited too. Thank you, Michelle.
Michelle: Thank you.