Most of us have to have tough, frank conversations with our bosses from time to time, but none may be quite as daunting as “the pitch”—you know, when you have a great idea, but you have to convince your supervisor it's a winner before it’ll see the light of day. This is not the time to “wing it”—no, before entering this type of discussion, it’s important to do your homework. If you’re pitching your boss on a new EMR software solution, for example, you better make sure you have a handle on the benefits of the EMR—as well as its value and cost—so you can speak to that system's potential to drive success in the long run. If you’ve found yourself in this boat, follow these eight tips for selling a new idea in the workplace.
1. Focus on the benefits.
How do you know if you’re touting a benefit or a feature? Well, it’s about the steak; not the sizzle. In other words, you have to know the amazing features that the right physical therapy software provides inside and out—and then some. As such, you’ll not only want to highlight things like intuitive and customizable initial evaluations, built-in compliance alerts, and data reporting and tracking, but also explain how these features play a role in everyday decision-making. Don’t just rattle off a list of details that will bore your boss to death. Instead, allow your boss to be involved in the process—and make him or her feel more invested—by showcasing several different software platforms that may be a good fit.
2. Identify a specific need or existing problem area.
Often, the first thing you’ll need in your ammunition belt is a solid reason why your practice needs a new software system in the first place. Money talks—and dollar signs can scare off even the toughest of bosses. So, your best approach with key decision-makers is to present meaningful data showing exactly how and where the business is wasting time, resources, and finances—and how this software platform can fix those issues. Don’t simply position this platform as a “nice-to-have”; rather, explain how it will create efficiencies.
3. Make sure the system is user-friendly.
Just because the newest software system on the block has lots of fancy bells and whistles—and comes wrapped in a shiny, new box—doesn’t mean it will be the right fit for your clinic. Sure, you’re probably replacing your existing system for a reason, but you’ve still gotta do your due diligence to make sure the new system you’re eyeing is easy to use and navigate. Just as you would when buying a new car, you should test drive the new software platform to ensure it’s as user-friendly and efficient as you believe it is—and that it’ll pass the smell test of your colleagues and your boss.
4. Seek out a reliable provider.
As with any big purchase, you don’t want to just show up to the store, get the goods, and be on your way; you want to know that the vendor you bought the product from will have your back if something goes awry. That means choosing software that not only provides exceptional customer service and unlimited support—but also does so at no extra cost. Furthermore, you should make sure your potential vendor will help guide you and your teammates through the implementation process. Assuring your boss that this particular software provider is reliable and trustworthy—and that your practice won’t have to sweat the switching process—can go a long way toward earning more buy-in.
5. Overcome objections.
Speaking of switching, selling your boss on making this transition won’t be easy, and you more than likely won’t succeed on the first attempt. So, in addition to doing your homework—and continuing to refine your sales pitch—you’ll want to get inside your boss’s head, anticipate the questions that he or she will raise, and prepare answers in advance. You know the benefits the new system offers, so it’s your job to position them in a way that truly speaks to your practice’s decision-maker. Sure, it’ll take some time and effort for everyone to get up to speed on a new platform, but if you’re turning to a trusted provider who’s selling you a top-notch platform, the learning curve will be completely manageable—and totally worth it.
6. Realize that timing is everything.
As someone looking to create positive momentum within your practice, you should also know when change isn’t feasible (i.e., when your practice is suffering from budgetary issues or slowing revenue streams). And while you may believe a new software solution can help therapists document and bill faster—which ultimately has a positive impact on bottom lines—the proof better be in the pudding. Approach these discussions carefully, and know that it might not be the right time for your practice to dole out money for a new software solution; after all, your boss may have his or her eye on saving money or budgeting for another big purchase. But, don’t give up for good. While selling your boss may not be in the cards right now, you should definitely circle back when the timing is more appropriate.
7. Remain positive and confident.
Don’t take objections or pushback personally; after all, your boss has to be sure that adopting a new software platform will provide real value to patients and therapists alike. Plus, he or she may report to someone else higher up the food chain. But, that doesn’t mean you should throw in the proverbial towel. Instead, we encourage so-called software champions to stay positive and confident no matter what challenges pop up along the way. After all, you’re selling your clinic on a new software system that you and your colleagues will use every day—no pressure, right?—and you’ve done a boatload of research to back up your pitch. If you’re still not getting the results you want, it might not hurt to take another dive into the software provider’s website to see if there’s any additional ammo you can use to strengthen your argument—and foster the buy-in you need to move forward.
8. Create a sense of urgency.
While you never want to rush an important—and potentially expensive—business decision, you also don’t want to dawdle or overthink the situation. So, what should you do? As the kids say, explain to your boss how therapists, clerical staff, and administrators alike may experience a serious case of FOMO—it’s actually a scientifically-proven phenomenon—if you don’t adopt a new software solution, pronto. As this resource points out, “Look at organizations...that are using your idea. It does not mean that implementing your idea will be for sure successful in your own company, but it is reassuring for the decision-maker.” Indeed, reminding key decision-makers that inaction could mean falling behind the competition could be enough to convince your boss to take action.
If you’ve ever pitched an idea to your boss, you know the business world moves at a snail’s pace and that decisions don’t happen overnight. Plus, change is difficult, so you may have to circle back to your proposal several times to gain the attention—and trust—of your boss. But, all your hard work certainly won’t be for naught. By detailing your clinic’s current problems, outlining your vision, and communicating the advantages of making a change, you’ll build a strong case for adopting a new software solution that’ll benefit your practice in the long term. Looking for more tips on how to get your practice on board with the right software? Check out this guide.