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How to sell your idea to the chief executive

?Coach Kriengsak, I want to learn how to sell ideas to my boss,? Kompet tells me.

“Khun Kompet, is there a reason why you think you need help?”

“Yesterday I went to ask my boss for a bigger training budget. He rejected me flatly.”

“You seem upset by the rejection, aren’t you?”

He nods and continues. “I went to see him at his office. I asked him to increase the training budget from 20 million baht to 25 million. He rejected me immediately, saying that it was absolutely impossible to increase training and advertising budgets at this time. I left his office in despair.”

“Khun Kompet, I imagine that’s a terrible feeling. But let’s see if we can review what happened. Could you be present? Let go of your ego and be ‘in the now’. Are you able to do that?”

He nods and takes a deep breath.

“All right, Khun Kompet, what went wrong?”

“I wasn’t well prepared at all.”

“If you could go back in time and do it again, how would you do it differently?”

“I would start by being well prepared. As you’ve repeatedly suggested to me, the ABC Model for presentation is a good place to start.”

“That’s good. Can we review the model before we discuss it further?”

“Coach, before we present a critical proposal, we need to prepare by answering these questions:

A. Audience: Who am I addressing? How much time does he have? What is his preferred communication style?

B. Benefit: What’s in it for him?

C. Consequence: What do I want to achieve at the end of this presentation?”

“That’s good. Now let’s do some role playing. I will be the CEO and you are in your current role as chief HR officer.”

Kompet spends few minutes preparing a script he wants to use, based on the ABC Model. Then he begins by addressing me, the CEO: “Khun Kriengsak, I want to discuss a way to help us achieve this year’s profit target.”

“Great,” I say. “Go ahead.”

“Two weeks ago you announced in the management committee that everyone needs to come up with an initiative to achieve this year’s profit by either increasing revenue or reducing cost. After that, I did some research and found a solution to potentially increase revenue by 5%.”

“Sounds interesting, Khun Kompet, please continue.”

“We have a strong sales team but our sales-closing ratio is only 20% while our competitors average 33%. If we increase our ratio to 25%, we could easily increase our revenue by 5%. Here is my analysis.”

“Kompet, I trust you. I don’t need to see it now. Tell me more — what should we do?”

“From my research there is a sales coaching guru who can help make this happen. I’ve already discussed some ideas with her. I think it’s achievable. In order to do that, we will need an additional investment 5 million baht. It means that our training budget will be moved from 20 to 25 million. What do you think?”

“Kompet, I like this idea but increasing the training budget is unacceptable.”

“I’ve already thought about that. I checked with the CFO, who suggested that we could categorise this amount as a consulting fee. And we use the funds from an ad-hoc budget that is still sufficient. And that budget is under your discretion. I’m confident that the sooner we green-light this project, the better chance we have to achieve higher sales revenue. I need your signature on this project proposal so I can start next week.”

We finish the role playing at that point and I ask Khun Kompet to summarise our learning points.

He reflects for a moment and outlines a 10-step process:


1. Prepare by using the ABC Model.

2. Anticipate objections.

3. Prepare ways to counter the objections.


4. Make an opening statement with impact. “What will appropriately trigger interest from the audience?”

5. Briefly introduce the background. “How do I speak concisely, get to the point, make it easy to understand, and in just a few sentences?”

6. State the agenda, topic or problem. “What’s going on?”

7. Propose a solution. “What will solve it?”

8. Listen to objections. “What do you think?”

9. Answer objections. “How will I minimise the concern?”

10. Propose the next step. “What will be the first next step?”

“Khun Kompet, that’s great,” I say. “What potential problems do you see from applying this step?”

“No time.”

“Is that a problem or an excuse?”

“Sorry, Coach. It’s an excuse. We have to make time if we really care about something. Selling ideas to upper management is part of my job.”

“Okay. What action will you take to ensure that you will have time to prepare?”

“I think I have to reduce other activities to free more time for myself.”

“Could you name some of those activities?”

“Preparing slide presentations. I enjoy doing it too much. I could gain two or three hours a week if I delegated my secretary to do it. But I need to coach my secretary first. … All right, Coach, that’s a start. I think we will stop for today and I’ll update you next week.”

Kriengsak Niratpattanasai provides executive coaching in leadership and diversity management under the brand TheCoach. He can be reached at Daily inspirational quotations can be found on his Facebook fan page: Previous articles are archived at