SELLING SAFETY – Choosing the Right Person

Picking the right person to sell safety to, determines your ability to move your vision and desires forward.

Denis Baker

In my sixth article on this subject, we will discuss how to identify the right person influential to others. Think about it. If I can sell safety to a leader that has a group of 50 employees, I am moving the ball forward a lot quicker than selling safety to an individual.

We’re Not Judging

“Be curious, not judgmental”

Walt Whitman

Your goal as a Safety Professional is to identify and differentiate those people who will buy into safety and spread the word from those who will not. It’s not about judging people, but rather it’s about valuing your time and being disciplined with it. Identifying the right person gives you a strategic objective for eliminating injuries.

Don’t get me wrong; this does not mean a person is not worthy of time and attention. Selling safety to anyone will effective reduce injuries and create a stronger safety culture. However, focus on those who you think you can sell your ideas. If your objective is to get buy-in and influence, then you are wasting your time with people who are clearly against the safety culture. Selling is about relationships, not about being cold, hard, and uncaring. It’s about growing your influence through others.

I genuinely believe spending time with individuals who are resistant to the program opens up an opportunity to have a value-added conversation when you are attentive and responsive to their issues or concerns. How much time and effort you spend here depends on the person and the potential to reach others through their commitment.

“Go for someone who is proud to have you.”


How to Pick a Person to Sell To

Picking the right person to sell safety is like starting a foot race. For the race to begin fairly and end fairly, the starter will use a three-word process, “on your mark, get set, GO!” For the race to start fairly, all persons must begin running when the word “go” is given. If someone leaves before the word “go,” the race must restart and eventually the person will be disqualified if they start early too many times.

Getting the right person requires getting off on the right foot. Here is how to start the race fairly and find the right person to sell safety effectively:

  1. DESIRE (“On YOur Mark”) –  Find the person who has the desire to see change happen. The person must have a need or problem that you can address or change. When there is no difference between their present state and their desired state, why would they buy? When selling safety, the decision to buy comes down to emotion. Get in touch with the person; this is not manipulation, but rather persuading the person through your influence. Emotion creates passion and the desire to motivate others to action.

2.    PASSION (“Get Set”) –  The person must have a passion for influencing others. If the person has the desire but doesn’t have the passion, they won’t be successful in influencing others.

3.    COMMITMENT(Go!)  – The person must commit to take action and create an atmosphere of change. You can have all the needs and desires, but if you are not going to take action, it doesn’t matter. When you’ve had a productive selling conversation with the person, they will realize all the things discussed won’t happen if they don’t take action or do anything differently. To challenge or question a person’s integrity, leadership, and commitment in a non-threatening way, ask, “Are you for real or not?” I’m ready; are you?

Closing the Sell

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”

William Clement Stone

Moreover, we come to the point of “closing the sell.” To sell an idea, you must build support for it, which will result in getting people to support it publicly. Accomplishing this will create social pressure and the momentum to accept, buy-into, and implement your ideas, results in your success to “sell safety.”

Evaluate your people and focus on those who have a significant influence throughout the organization, plant, site, etc, but never pass up the opportunity to “sell safety” to anyone.

Denis is an experienced Safety Professional with multi-industry experience. He is also an Executive Director at the John Maxwell Group, a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical principles and relevant influencing techniques to change employee behaviors and ultimately reduce and eliminate injuries.  His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a passionate desire to become an effective leader.  

You can contact Denis at for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

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