Tips for selling your technical vision

My company’s CEO once commented that Architect is a sales position. I think that is a wise observation and applies to most technical leadership roles.

It’s not enough to have good ideas: you need to sell them.

Here are some tips I’ve found that help build consensus and nudge a team in a direction I believe is best.

Before the pitch

Preparation is important. Below are some techniques you can use to design a solid presentation or meeting.

Build a prototype

If you can, whip out a quick prototype of your idea. You’ll make the concept more concrete. Abstract, complex ideas are hard to understand from the written or spoken word. A demonstration goes a long way to contextualize the idea and show the benefits.


Diagrams can visually explain the connections between pieces and ideas. If a prototype is untenable or too time-consuming, a quick diagram or two can make up for it. It’s a great way to circle around an idea and collaborate.

Get your audience’s perspective.

While preparing to sell your idea, ask around and get additional perspectives. You want to know the possible objections and understand how to address concerns beforehand. Scrambling during the pitch will make you look unprepared.

Find advocates.

Find 1-2 developers with more tenure and convince them first. They can point out holes in your idea and, once onboard, lend the weight of their reputation towards convincing decision-makers they should accept your idea.

This works well when you’re a consultant or new to a team. Management will naturally have more trust with established employees they know. Having other developers on your side will make it easier to convince leadership.

During the Pitch

Here are some attitudes and techniques to keep in mind when giving the presentation or running the meeting seeking to convince a team to go along with your idea.

Have empathy

Pitching a new idea or pattern introduces risk. The consequences of that risk often fall on the people you’re trying to convince. As a consultant, I might not be around long enough to feel the pain of a wrong decision. But the people I’m trying to convince will have to live with whatever comes, and they’re often acutely cognizant of that.

Make sure they feel heard and respected. Be sensitive and assure them that you share their concerns. Have plans to address them.

Level Set

You’re usually suggesting a change because there are issues with the status quo. Highlight how things work today, what problems they pose, and what goals you have for your idea. You can’t assume your audience knows the pain points as well as you; bring everyone up to speed.

This also shows you’ve done your research and aren’t just complaining about things that are mere preferences.

Know the content

Confidently responding to clarification questions shows that you’ve thought deeply about the solution. Your audience will lose confidence in you if they ask how exactly something would work and you don’t have an answer or haven’t at least considered it.

Raise the downsides yourself.

Don’t just wait for objections; raise them upfront. This shows you’ve considered all sides.

There are often legitimate tradeoffs when making technology decisions: no tool or technique is perfect. Bring an argument for why the downsides are worth it.