9 Mistakes Customer Education Professionals Make When Trying to Get Buy-In

First, a definition of buy-in:

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, buy-in is defined as:

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

9 mistakes we see people make when trying to get buy-in for a Customer Education initiative:

Mistake #1: Not developing a presentation or pitch deck

When you have an idea and are excited about it, it’s tempting to run to your manager or leader and share everything you’re thinking.

Mistake #2: Not aligning your goals correctly

If you’re new in your career or have been an individual contributor for a while working on a small team, it’s easy to focus on the impact you and your program can deliver above all else.

Mistake #3: Talking to the wrong people

There are two levels to this mistake.

Mistake #4: Not building rapport in meetings

Building rapport is fundamental to developing high-trust relationships with others. And without trust, there is little likelihood that anything you say or do in your sessions will result in significant results.

  • You only need a few minutes to build rapport.
  • Resist the urge to spend more than a few minutes doing this; it will take away from the core reason you are meeting.
  • Depending on where the person you are meeting with sits within the organization, they may want you to jump in immediately. This is common for c-level execs who move from one meeting to the next and constantly balance a lot. They want to cut out any fluff; for them, time is money!
  • Lastly, and it might take a while to get it right, practice reading the room and adjusting your approach accordingly.

Mistake #5: Getting emotional

Let’s face it, a big part of getting buy-in is hearing no’s or getting feedback you don’t like.

Here’s a snippet on this exact topic from a recent Hot Takes episode interviewing Andrew Temte, Former CEO of Kaplan Professional.

Ryan Dillon, Hot Takes Host:

  1. your idea isn’t resonating
  2. there are essential details or framing of the business case you’ve overlooked that need refining
  1. Think about an upcoming meeting where you might get a “no” or feedback that’s hard to hear.
  2. Envision how you’d like to respond at the moment if that does happen. Think through every detail about how you’ll use your body/hands, the type of responses or questions you can ask to gain further clarity, and how you’d like to end the meeting if you get either of these.
  3. Then in the meeting, when you’re getting a “no” or feedback, remind yourself that this is part of the journey to growing your business acumen, communication, and leadership skills and that they’re giving you a big gift right now to let you know how to improve.
  4. And lastly, if you still get emotional, be kind to yourself. It can be hard to change patterns overnight. Still, the more you can shift into a curiosity mindset in the moment, the better and more enjoyable your professional career will be.

Mistake #6: Letting “no’s” or “this is a bad idea” get them down.

This mistake is very similar to the item above. However, this one is about letting the response of others change your mental state (and thus reducing your energy, effort, and determination).

Mistake #7: Not listening deeply to, and honoring, feedback

If feedback is a gift, what do most people do with gifts? Use them!

  • What part are people getting hung up on?
  • What part stood out to them the most?
  • What questions do they have?
  • What areas do you have the most engaged discussion?
  • What part do they think will be most helpful in their roles/departments/goals?
  • What are they most excited about?
  • What do they think you’re missing?

Mistake #8: Not following up after you meet

You’ve worked hard to create your business case in a pitch template format. You’ve scheduled the meetings and navigated through them.

Mistake #9: Not having solid responses when responding to questions, criticism, or naysayers

If you are doing this correctly and showing that you genuinely encourage all feedback, you will hear many responses that might feel less than ideal.

  1. “We’ve been successful, so why change the approach?” Or “Why make this change now?”
  2. “You exaggerate the need for this (enter your ask here: software, tool, advisor, additional headcount, etc.)
  3. “This isn’t a good usage of budget.”
  4. “Are you implying that we’ve been failing?”
  5. “Your vision goes too far/doesn’t go far enough.”



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Sarah Bedrick

Sarah Bedrick


Personal coach @ Thrive. Founded Compt & HubSpot Academy. Passionate about learning & sharing ideas so together we can reach our fullest potential.