Time is money and you will probably only have a few minutes to get your point across whether it is seeking approval from those that control the purse strings or talking to a colleague, being able to articulate the value of career development can be tricky.
Here are some tips for getting buy in from your decision makers.
Speak their language
There is a long list of benefits in favour of taking part in the numerous AICM activities so you need to target the one that will resonate with the specific traits and needs of the person you are speaking to.
If you are talking to the financial controller that has just walked out of a meeting about improving the bottom line they will be less moved by the great opportunities to network and grow your understanding of the broader Credit world. So hit him with the facts that focus on improving the bottom line for example from the last event that you or a colleague went to we saved money on lawyers to understand changing legislation and implement the required changes, this event will help us by...... Alternatively point out your membership discount or the fact the AICM is a not-for-profit so you won’t get it cheaper anywhere else.
On the other hand you may be fortunate enough to work for a company that values their staff and is committed to helping them grow and develop, so maybe just pointing out the fact that you will be learning something new or updating yourself on a crucial part of your role will be the main message to get across.
Some decision-makers want to know about the return on investment and the bottom line. That means you’ll need to have done your research and have plausible figures ready to go.
Consider your company’s business objectives. If you focus on what the CEO has been saying is critical to your business and pointing out how this contributes to the objectives it will make sense to everyone.
Use relevant examples
Perhaps you have learned something that has saved time or money by reading the AICM Magazine or attending a meeting or maybe at a previous meeting you met someone that gave you a valuable insight into a customer or a different way of approaching a problem.
Keep in mind two or three examples from your past, or examples you have heard from colleagues, these will be an invaluable tool in helping you shortcut around explaining the value and why you should attend.
Case studies and examples are often the best way to overcome any skepticism. If these speak to the persons needs and interests you will get results.
Get some inside help
As a general rule, we all put a lot of trust in colleagues and peers who have proved themselves. That means you can boost your chances of getting the answer you want by enlisting someone to champion your efforts.
Seek out people who have taken part in similar initiatives in their profession and are further up the organisational totem pole or are well respected by those you need to seek approval from. These people could be used as an example or to help champion your cause. Perhaps the accounting/finance team attend CPA conferences. If all else fails paying for it personally is worth considering as:
- It will show the decision makers that you are serious about your professional development and it will encourage them to support you the next time.
- You may be able to claim it as a tax deduction.
- It is an investment in your career.
- When you utilise the information and contacts you make to the company’s benefit the decision makers will take notice of your value to the organisation.
Five (bite-sized) key takeaways
- Tell the decision-makers what they need to hear – how will this help them achieve their business objectives.
- Help them get their heads around it by giving them relevant case studies.
- Find some champions to back your cause.
- Use relevant examples
- Always keep the business objectives in mind.
Have you won over someone not initially supporting your attendance at an AICM event? Or are you struggling to get that golden tick of approval? Share your stories with us in the AICM LinkedIn Group. Otherwise share your story at the next event.