Weigh-in to Buy-in – cool phrase! It’s usually associated with companies trying to get their employees onboard for some initiative or a change that requires employees to make it work. Essentially, the principle is that, if you want employees to buy into this initiative or change, you have to allow them to weigh-in. You have to allow them to have input, to participate in the design process, and maybe even be a part of the decision-making process.
People buy-in more readily if the solution is something they helped to create.
That brings us to a discussion of our customers. This same principle that applies to gaining employee buy-in applies to your internal and external customers.
Have you ever proposed a solution to the customer that didn’t satisfy them? Maybe they had a bad attitude, or maybe they were irate about something, so they were too emotional to consider YOUR idea.
But maybe, just maybe, they didn’t buy-in because it wasn’t THEIR idea; it wasn’t something that they helped to conceptualize; it wasn’t something they helped to design; they weren’t part of the decision.
They didn’t get a chance to weigh-in, so they didn’t buy-in.
There are many ways to get them to weigh-in to a solution. First, you could ask them to suggest what would work for them. “What can we do to make this right?” or “What could we do in the future to better serve you?”
Second, you could offer 2-3 alternatives, and ask what would work best for them. Think of the healthcare worker who can’t let the patient outside to smoke (i.e., non-smoking campus); since there are ways other than smoking to relieve anxiety and stress, offer some options, and let them choose.
Third, if this is an ongoing relationship you’re managing with chronic issues to address (think about the season ticket holders in sports), conduct focus groups, share your organizational goals and challenges, and note your desire for a permanent solution – then ask for their guidance and suggestions.
When you want the customer to love the solution (or at least live with it without voicing the negative emotion), find opportunities to let them let you know what solutions would work best.
Let them Weigh-in to Buy-in.