When the boss is reluctant to approve your digital initiatives, adding an authoritative voice from an outside expert can help you make your case.
The brand website has issues and you’ve sent your senior executive a plan and budget request that will allow you to fix them. Months later, however, you’re still waiting for approval. Problems continue to fester until catastrophe hits or someone who can sign a check reads about something called SEO.
Sadly, this scenario is a common one. (According to a Gallup study, 25% of employees are ignored at work) The good news is that hiring an expert to help make your case can provide your boss with the reassurance needed to sign on the dotted line.
That’s because people tend to trust the the advice of outsiders more than advice that occurs within the company, especially when they are paying extra for that advice. Irrational, yes. But that’s what the research says.
Hiring an expert can provide the fuel needed to light up the issues needing attention and finally get them on your boss’ radar. Bringing in an outside party enables you to borrow their credibility and gain an indirect third party endorser for your plan, increasing the chances your boss will give up the green and give the green light. It’s simple (irrational) psychology.
A recent Washington Post article cites the author Francesca Gino, author of the book Sidetracked, on why paid advice is received better:
“When you pay for advice, whether it’s from a doctor, lawyer, or business consultant, you can be confident that you are accessing expert information. Yet my research shows that we are not especially focused on the quality of the advice for which we pay. Rather, the cost of the advice weighs more heavily in our decisions, even when free advice is of the same quality.”
Advice that is paid for is perceived as better, even if it’s the same advice you’ve already provided. Maddening!
What hiring an expert provides is gravity to your existing ideas. By working with the expert, he/she can promote the same idea as you and turn your boss on to the initiative. The irony is that by spending money on an expert, you can actually loosen the purse strings for a digital marketing initiative.An outside expert provides gravity to your existing ideas. Click To Tweet
When hiring an expert…
If you’re tired of banging your head into the wall it’s time to stop that and make preparations for bringing in an expert. Yes, there are preparations. (You want this to work, right?)
Here’s what to do:
Determine your end goal.
What do you want to have at the end of the project? A new website? A new digital partner? Improved SEO? Higher conversion rates on your e-commerce site? Determine what that end goal is before you do anything else.
Begin planning the initiative.
Begin planning the initiative and outlining steps that need to occur before the initiative begins, what needs to happen while the initiative is being implemented, and how you’re going to measure the results. This often looks like brainstorming and shouldn’t be constrained by any real limitations, yet. Once you have your ideas down, organize them into a plan that seems realistic and plausible.
Prepare for objections.
You know your boss best. Put yourself in their place and make a lists of every potential obstacle and pitfall you can think of – budget costs, time restraints, limited knowledge base, etc. Now come up with answers and a plan for fixes or ways around those obstacles. Sometimes there is no way around, but you’ve now been thorough enough that you can answer these objections quickly.
Find your expert.
Discover who does what you need done. You’ll find a plethora of consultants and agencies are available to do your bidding. Do some research on the most interesting ones to see where they speak, write, who their clients are, and what industries they specialize in. Once you find someone who is an expert in the area of your project and in your industry, it’s time to make contact.
Coordinate with your expert.
Be upfront with your expert and lay out to them your end goal, your plan, and any obstacles you see lying in the way. The expert should be willing to work with you to move the initiative in the direction you want it to go while also providing you with input and recommendations for any needed course corrections. This is also the time to ask the expert how much it will cost to implement your idea. It is a question your boss will ask, so you will need an answer. Better to have it thought out ahead of time.
First, check your ego at the door. This is the hardest part for some people, but letting the expert be the person who discusses the idea and the plan is essential for this approach to work. You’ve hired them for this purpose. Let them explain your idea, the reasoning behind it, and the ROI. Remember, by bringing in this outside expertise you’re actually promoting yourself and advancing your ideas.
Follow-up and planning for the project.
The last step is actually the beginning of the next phase. You will need to close the deal with your boss. Once he/she signs off, it’s time to move into the planning phase for your project.
So if your head hurts from running into the brick wall of “No!” too many times, find yourself a good, sturdy expert who will help you scale the wall instead.