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Buy-in!
Getting to Yes
Life skills for every Product Manager
Deepak Thakral
Quixey
How do you get to Yes?
•  Good ideas get shot down everyday 
•  Typically, group of stakeholders needs to buy-in
•  People challenge and attack your proposal
•  Using a case study, we will identify common tactics used by folks
•  Demonstrate best practices to help you get buy-in
•  What this is not
–  A session on persuasion, charisma or negotiation
–  How to build a power-base and back-channel your way into
approval
The Project
•  Company – Ma Bell Telco
•  Baby Bell Telco, the digital advertising
subsidiary for SMBs 
•  Project – Launch a new mobile websites
offering to SMBs that will bring in $10M of
recurring annual revenue at 40% margin
•  Your mission – Convince committee to
green light project for product development
The Characters
Ego-Wego Eddie
 Smartie-Pants Sam
 Hide-a-Agenda Annie
 Diversion David
 Bend-with-the-wind Betty
Part I !
The proposal
•  Show up in front of the 10 person committee
•  1 page proposal 
–  26M SMBs in US and <1% have mobile optimized
websites
–  3,000+ sales force sells website solutions to
SMBs
–  Upgrade customers to mobile website for $120/
year in subscription service
–  Vendor will build product, charge $40/year/user
–  Expected revenue of $10M/year
What unfolds?
•  Ego-Wego Eddie appreciates your project,
thanks you for the hard work put in
•  BUT, 
•  you have not filled out the work request form
correctly, not answered 2 of his questions,
•  and therefore pushed out to their next bi-
weekly meeting
•  Boom…delayed before you even got started
Part II!
Prep for second chance
•  Make sure to fill out the form correctly
•  Anticipate questions 
–  Possible objections that will be raised
–  List out about a dozen questions
–  Responses to each of these questions
•  Your friend advises you that most of the
questions will fall into the following four
categories…..
Confusion
 Death by Delay
Fear Mongering
Ridicule/Character
Assassination
Common Tactics Used
Approach to the session
•  Some ground rules - 
–  Be prepared – Have your facts ready, anticipate questions
–  Be Inclusive – Welcome the attackers in, don’t be defensive
and counter attack
–  Be respectful – keep your responses short & simple,
common-sense
Part III!
The Session
•  You present and layout the facts….
–  The size of the market
–  Under-penetrated customer segment
–  Push towards mobile services
–  Strategic fit with the product portfolio
–  Revenue of $10M/year
–  Gross Margins of 40% 
–  Can be built and deployed in less than
4 months
The Questions Start
•  Tactic - [Confusion]
Ego-­‐Wego	
  Eddie	
  starts	
  –	
  	
  
•  Why	
  are	
  we	
  not	
  focused	
  on	
  expanding	
  our	
  
desktop	
  website	
  business?	
  Last	
  year,	
  20%	
  of	
  
our	
  customers	
  cancelled	
  out	
  of	
  that	
  product.	
  
If	
  we	
  have	
  to	
  spend	
  money,	
  that’s	
  where	
  it	
  
should	
  be?	
  
Why Change? We are
doing just fine...
•  Tactic - [DEATH BY DELAY]

•  Bend-­‐a-­‐wind	
  Wendi:	
  We	
  have	
  done	
  
great	
  so	
  far,	
  our	
  internet	
  product	
  suite	
  
works	
  well,	
  our	
  sales	
  force	
  knows	
  how	
  
to	
  sell	
  it,	
  it	
  brings	
  in	
  billions	
  of	
  dollars.	
  
Mobile	
  is	
  s0ll	
  nascent.	
  Why	
  should	
  we	
  
change	
  that?	
  	
  
Bring on the fear mongering…
•  Tactic – [Confusion, Fear Mongering]
•  Smarty	
  Pants	
  Sam:	
  According	
  to	
  a	
  
recent	
  survey,	
  85%	
  are	
  dissaMsfied	
  
with	
  their	
  current	
  website	
  provider	
  
and	
  likely	
  to	
  cancel	
  their	
  service.	
  
Why	
  are	
  we	
  not	
  inves0ng	
  in	
  
customer	
  service	
  rather	
  than	
  
building	
  this	
  mobile	
  website	
  
product?	
  	
  	
  
And the financial number-crunchers….
•  Tactic - [Fear Mongering,
Death by delay]
•  Diversion	
  David	
  -­‐	
  Budget	
  
problem.	
  Our	
  cash	
  flows	
  from	
  
our	
  core	
  internet	
  business	
  are	
  
declining,	
  we	
  have	
  a	
  huge	
  crisis	
  
on	
  our	
  hands.	
  I	
  recommend	
  
you	
  review	
  it	
  with	
  Finance	
  
Commi?ee	
  
And then there are those
who will ridicule you…
Hide-­‐a-­‐agenda	
  Annie:	
  I	
  am	
  worried	
  
that	
  no	
  one	
  else	
  is	
  doing	
  this?	
  Why	
  
not?	
  My	
  fear	
  is…..another	
  worthless	
  
investment	
  
TacMc	
  -­‐	
  [character	
  assassinaMon/ridicule]	
  
	
  
And the Legal Eagles…
Diversion	
  David:	
  Your	
  project	
  talks	
  
about	
  giving	
  out	
  new	
  mobile	
  
domains	
  to	
  these	
  customers.	
  Have	
  
the	
  lawyers	
  reviewed	
  this	
  
contract?	
  	
  
I think you get the picture
•  Remember, the committee used the
four tactics very effectively
–  Confusion
–  Death by delay
–  Fear mongering
–  Ridicule & character assassination
How you win these arguments
Continuously, monitor the broader audience, not just the few attackers.
First, win their attention
 Next, with their attention
on you, win their minds
Having won their minds,
now win their hearts
Win their hearts & minds
Please Don’t:
•  Wing it – be prepared and anticipate
•  Become defensive and counter-attack
•  Be dis-respectful
•  Have an attitude – smarter-than-thou!
•  Use too many facts, data sheets and
lengthy arguments – people lose attention
18 most commonly used questions
1.  We have been successful, so why change?
2.  Money is the only real issue here….
3.  You exaggerate the problem
4.  You are implying that we have been failing
5.  What’s the hidden agenda here?
6.  What about this, what about that, and this…..
7.  Your proposal does not go far enough
8.  You have a chicken and egg problem
9.  You are abandoning our core values
18 most commonly used questions
10.  Its too simplistic to work
11.  No one else does this, why us?
12.  You can’t have it both ways
13.  To generate so many questions, this is flawed
14.  We tried it before, did not work
15.  Too difficult to understand
16.  Good idea but this is not the right time
17.  Its just too much work to do this
18.  It won’t work here…we are different
Recap
•  Be prepared
•  Anticipate questions along the four lines
–  Confusion, Death by delay, fear mongering, ridicule
•  Your responses should aim to win hearts & minds
–  First, let the attackers in
–  Keep your responses short & simple, common sense
–  Be respectful, do not resort to counter-attacks
–  Focus on entire audience, not just attackers
–  Prepare for inevitable attacks
Wish	
  you	
  luck	
  and	
  success	
  in	
  your	
  next	
  proposal	
  –	
  may	
  the	
  force	
  be	
  with	
  you!	
  
Thank You
Deepak Thakral

Credits: Buy-in: Saving your Good Idea from
Getting Shot Down – by John Kotter

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Buy-in: Getting to the yes - Deepak Thakral

  • 1. Buy-in! Getting to Yes Life skills for every Product Manager Deepak Thakral Quixey
  • 2. How do you get to Yes? •  Good ideas get shot down everyday •  Typically, group of stakeholders needs to buy-in •  People challenge and attack your proposal •  Using a case study, we will identify common tactics used by folks •  Demonstrate best practices to help you get buy-in •  What this is not –  A session on persuasion, charisma or negotiation –  How to build a power-base and back-channel your way into approval
  • 3. The Project •  Company – Ma Bell Telco •  Baby Bell Telco, the digital advertising subsidiary for SMBs •  Project – Launch a new mobile websites offering to SMBs that will bring in $10M of recurring annual revenue at 40% margin •  Your mission – Convince committee to green light project for product development
  • 4. The Characters Ego-Wego Eddie Smartie-Pants Sam Hide-a-Agenda Annie Diversion David Bend-with-the-wind Betty
  • 5. Part I ! The proposal •  Show up in front of the 10 person committee •  1 page proposal –  26M SMBs in US and <1% have mobile optimized websites –  3,000+ sales force sells website solutions to SMBs –  Upgrade customers to mobile website for $120/ year in subscription service –  Vendor will build product, charge $40/year/user –  Expected revenue of $10M/year
  • 6. What unfolds? •  Ego-Wego Eddie appreciates your project, thanks you for the hard work put in •  BUT, •  you have not filled out the work request form correctly, not answered 2 of his questions, •  and therefore pushed out to their next bi- weekly meeting •  Boom…delayed before you even got started
  • 7. Part II! Prep for second chance •  Make sure to fill out the form correctly •  Anticipate questions –  Possible objections that will be raised –  List out about a dozen questions –  Responses to each of these questions •  Your friend advises you that most of the questions will fall into the following four categories…..
  • 8. Confusion Death by Delay Fear Mongering Ridicule/Character Assassination Common Tactics Used
  • 9. Approach to the session •  Some ground rules - –  Be prepared – Have your facts ready, anticipate questions –  Be Inclusive – Welcome the attackers in, don’t be defensive and counter attack –  Be respectful – keep your responses short & simple, common-sense
  • 10. Part III! The Session •  You present and layout the facts…. –  The size of the market –  Under-penetrated customer segment –  Push towards mobile services –  Strategic fit with the product portfolio –  Revenue of $10M/year –  Gross Margins of 40% –  Can be built and deployed in less than 4 months
  • 11. The Questions Start •  Tactic - [Confusion] Ego-­‐Wego  Eddie  starts  –     •  Why  are  we  not  focused  on  expanding  our   desktop  website  business?  Last  year,  20%  of   our  customers  cancelled  out  of  that  product.   If  we  have  to  spend  money,  that’s  where  it   should  be?  
  • 12. Why Change? We are doing just fine... •  Tactic - [DEATH BY DELAY] •  Bend-­‐a-­‐wind  Wendi:  We  have  done   great  so  far,  our  internet  product  suite   works  well,  our  sales  force  knows  how   to  sell  it,  it  brings  in  billions  of  dollars.   Mobile  is  s0ll  nascent.  Why  should  we   change  that?    
  • 13. Bring on the fear mongering… •  Tactic – [Confusion, Fear Mongering] •  Smarty  Pants  Sam:  According  to  a   recent  survey,  85%  are  dissaMsfied   with  their  current  website  provider   and  likely  to  cancel  their  service.   Why  are  we  not  inves0ng  in   customer  service  rather  than   building  this  mobile  website   product?      
  • 14. And the financial number-crunchers…. •  Tactic - [Fear Mongering, Death by delay] •  Diversion  David  -­‐  Budget   problem.  Our  cash  flows  from   our  core  internet  business  are   declining,  we  have  a  huge  crisis   on  our  hands.  I  recommend   you  review  it  with  Finance   Commi?ee  
  • 15. And then there are those who will ridicule you… Hide-­‐a-­‐agenda  Annie:  I  am  worried   that  no  one  else  is  doing  this?  Why   not?  My  fear  is…..another  worthless   investment   TacMc  -­‐  [character  assassinaMon/ridicule]    
  • 16. And the Legal Eagles… Diversion  David:  Your  project  talks   about  giving  out  new  mobile   domains  to  these  customers.  Have   the  lawyers  reviewed  this   contract?    
  • 17. I think you get the picture •  Remember, the committee used the four tactics very effectively –  Confusion –  Death by delay –  Fear mongering –  Ridicule & character assassination
  • 18. How you win these arguments Continuously, monitor the broader audience, not just the few attackers. First, win their attention Next, with their attention on you, win their minds Having won their minds, now win their hearts Win their hearts & minds
  • 19. Please Don’t: •  Wing it – be prepared and anticipate •  Become defensive and counter-attack •  Be dis-respectful •  Have an attitude – smarter-than-thou! •  Use too many facts, data sheets and lengthy arguments – people lose attention
  • 20. 18 most commonly used questions 1.  We have been successful, so why change? 2.  Money is the only real issue here…. 3.  You exaggerate the problem 4.  You are implying that we have been failing 5.  What’s the hidden agenda here? 6.  What about this, what about that, and this….. 7.  Your proposal does not go far enough 8.  You have a chicken and egg problem 9.  You are abandoning our core values
  • 21. 18 most commonly used questions 10.  Its too simplistic to work 11.  No one else does this, why us? 12.  You can’t have it both ways 13.  To generate so many questions, this is flawed 14.  We tried it before, did not work 15.  Too difficult to understand 16.  Good idea but this is not the right time 17.  Its just too much work to do this 18.  It won’t work here…we are different
  • 22. Recap •  Be prepared •  Anticipate questions along the four lines –  Confusion, Death by delay, fear mongering, ridicule •  Your responses should aim to win hearts & minds –  First, let the attackers in –  Keep your responses short & simple, common sense –  Be respectful, do not resort to counter-attacks –  Focus on entire audience, not just attackers –  Prepare for inevitable attacks Wish  you  luck  and  success  in  your  next  proposal  –  may  the  force  be  with  you!  
  • 23. Thank You Deepak Thakral Credits: Buy-in: Saving your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down – by John Kotter