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Buying In

Here is an excellent description of why we need “buy in” it is from the book written in 2004 by Mark Walton “Generating Buy-In: Mastering the Language of Leadership”. This is particularly true if you are in Sales Training or making major sales.

However well-positioned, intelligent, or accomplished we are, to succeed in this twenty-first century, we all need somebody’s buy-in.

The President of the United States appears before Congress to generate support for a war on terrorism. A CEO goes to Wall Street to rebuild confidence in his company. You present your proposal to the board. A division VP launches a new product. A regional sales director seeks to motivate her team. You have dinner with a major client, a reporter, or speak to an industry group.

Other people’s buy-in—their understanding, commitment, and action in support of our goals—has always been enormously important. But in today’s world, it has become the most valuable asset of all. And the ability to influence people’s thoughts and feelings, to generate their buy-in, has emerged as the paramount leadership skill.

Why? In the twenty-first-century workplace and marketplace, the dynamics of power, authority, and credibility have radically changed. No matter who you are or where you work, people no longer need to follow your lead, buy what you sell, or accept what you say. What’s more, they’re increasingly unlikely to do so, with each passing day.

The workplace has become a “free agent nation,” its citizens an all-volunteer force. Command-and-control management and unquestioned loyalty are ideas whose time has come and gone. In the new organizational world, “there’s nothing you can force people to do,” says Dow Chemical chairman Bill Stavropoulos. “Now, people have to believe, and they have to believe in you.”

Today’s marketplace is a free-for-all, moving in Internet time. Companies, competitors, and offerings glom together in an undifferentiated blur. Investors, customers, and clients click, scan, blink, and decide. Never have they had more options, or fewer clear incentives, to send their business your way.

In the twenty-first century, to refresh Abraham Lincoln’s observation at the beginning of this Introduction, buy-in is everything. With it, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Not ideas, organizations, products, or services. Not you or me.

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