Are your requests for change dying on the vine? Here’s why.


You got your spouse to say “I do.” You’ve even got your kids to eat their vegetables. It’s obvious you have some skills at the art of persuasion. So, when you want to hear "yes" from your commercial lines manager, whether it's permission to take more training or the go-ahead on ordering a new computer or software, here’s how to maximize your chances by following these four tips.

1. Tell them what you want, what you really, really want.

Your request must be expressed, formulated, and presented with absolute clarity. If your pitch is merely, "I'd like to fix our current workflow," management has figure out what that means. But if you change it to, "I'd like to talk to you about how we can renew certificates of insurance faster and with more efficiency," you’re offering a concrete solution to a problem you’ve identified.

2. Do your homework.

Explain what's in it for the brokerage, not just for you. If you’re demonstrating a new workflow that will make you and your co-workers more efficient for instance, make sure you've identified the pros and cons. If you identify only the pros, you'll leave management in the position of having to think about the cons. Moreover, make it obvious that you've thoroughly thought it through and understand the pros and cons. That makes your argument even stronger.

3. Cultivate a sense of urgency.

How someone thinks and feels about a situation can often cultivate a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency encourages people to act today, not tomorrow.

Put forth elements in your request that will necessitate the need for action. For example, if your brokerage has a high staff turnover because people feel overworked, angle your request as a solution or partial solution to that problem.

People need to be validated, not aggravated into a sense of urgency.

4. Allow it to percolate.

There’s a huge difference between “no” and “not now.” A “not now” can mean a lot of things, like:

  • There’s something more urgent on the table right now.
  • It’s not your turn. If they say “yes” to you, then they’re obligated to “yes” to requests ahead of yours.
  • Budgeting. Depending on when your brokerage’s year-end is, there may be a legitimate lack of funding.

If you do receive “no” the first time, find out what it takes to change that. Were there missing pieces of information? Do they want to see a demonstration? If they do, follow-through on those requests.

Ultimately, if you receive a firm “no” with valid reasons to support it, don’t push the matter. The last thing you need is to lose your cool and behave unprofessionally in front of management. That will seriously affect your chances and credibility on future requests.

Topics: Best practices