Persuasion and Influence: Competing for Internal Resources

Suppose you work for a large pharma company that historically makes its profits from blockbuster primary care products, and you work in oncology.

When you present your plans to the senior people, it’s evident that they don’t understand your specialty, and what’s worse, they don’t seem to care.

They grew up in the company selling the old stuff. They still have their eyes on the big prize–the next big thing–and they hardly notice what’s going on in the more remote corners of the company.

How can you get them to pay attention, take an interest, and develop an understanding of the complexities and importance of the oncology market?

More selfishly, how can you preserve and grow the franchise within the company?

1. Develop a demographic and psychographic understanding of senior management. Who are they? What do they think and do now? And why do they think and do as they do?

2. Define your goals. Where do you want them to be when your campaign is over? Don’t assume you’re going to convert them to a drastically different point of view. Can you “de-activate” some of their attitudes and beliefs? Can you educate them? Can you raise the shadow of a doubt in their minds that they may be missing something?

3. Develop sticky messages. Sticky messages are messages that are simple, emotional, and filled with surprising specifics. They are also vivid–they paint pictures in the mind of the listener, and they most often come in the form of stories.

4. Develop your proof statements. Make sure that any claims you make about the value of the oncology franchise are credible.

5. And finally, seek out opportunities to get your points across in a powerful manner.

Presenting is the number one tool of influence and persuasion, because when you get people in one room at one time to think about one thing, you have the greatest chance you’ll ever get to change their minds and move them to action.

David slew Goliath, and small pharma franchises can earn the attention and respect large enterprises with the right combination of messaging and personal impact.

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