A friend bought me the Argo movie and I absolutely loved it. Argo is about the 1979 take over of the US embassy in Iran. I was 13 back then and in high school. I remember the story well.
What I love the most is the documentary that follows the film credits. The CIA agent Tony Mendez shared his strategy for selling the State Department on his Argo movie idea. His strategy can be used by any business leader who is trying to sell a pitch.
Here are 5 Tips:
- Know what they read
- Study what the decision makers read. In Mendez’s case, the decision makers read the cables. He stated that instead of sending a memorandum, he sent a 16 page pitch via cable since that gets read by everyone.
- Cite every possible idea
- City every idea that has floated around and then list their weaknesses. Lastly, list your idea and its strengths.
- Cite the urgency
- In the Argo case, the Canadians were getting tired of taking care of the six (6) US foreign service workers that escaped the US embassy in Iran. They were house guests of the Canadians and put the Canadians at substantial risk of harm.
- Give a deadline
- Always tell the decision makers when you expect a decision; or when you will be following up with them.
- Get your gut feeling up above 90%
- The other fascinating tip that Tony Mendez shared was that when he went to Iran to rescue the six (6) US house guests, he had to get his gut feeling up above 90%. He said you should double check yourself if your feeling is below 90%. For those of us in sales, we experience this gut feeling at “show time”. You have to have a stomach of steel and the guts to really put yourself all the way out there to sell your ideas, products, and services.
by Clovia Hamilton, President
Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.