You can’t sell externally unless you can sell internallyMarch 24, 2014 | By Wayne O'Neill
This is concept is like a commandment to me, yet few people get it. They want to get out in the field and sell, sell, sell–meet clients alongside their team members, talk about their product or service, and leave with a check in their hands. But they’re missing an important component when the entire team isn’t on board.
Selling internally is about understanding the subtlety of how your team works, how your boss works, how the people who work for you work: because it’s the start of people understanding each other.
When I say sell, I really mean connect
From the outside, people intuitively determine who is a leader in a given group and assume that the leader has all the say. That’s not the case and that’s not how teams work. Each person in the group has to sell ideas to each other, despite demographic differences and lack of knowing one another on a deeper level. To get an idea across and implemented, one still must work to capture the others’ imagination and connect with them. Dig deeper, find connection points. Up the relationship a little bit.
My whole concept is: Whether you’re the boss or another member of the team, you have to find ways to connect with the team.
It can work for you…
With one of my recent clients, the reason behind my success is that I knew the technical people could help me in ways that I didn’t know how to ask. However, if I falsely tried to build a relationship with them, it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be authentic. You may or may not already know that I’m not technical, through reading my blog, but they will know right away. I had to relate to them in other ways.
I can’t just be like, “Let’s be friends.” That’s not who I am, I’m the guy who wears dark clothes and is out there connecting with clients and I don’t do what they do. But I am good at connecting with people like the construction site superintendent, who has mud on his boots and is very different from me. Regardless of our differences, there’s no reason that I couldn’t say, “So tell me about the fundamentals of driving a job site.”
I’m very good at grasping what is important to them, because I care about other’s perspectives. And that rhythm, when you start to do that with a client outside, the client can just smell that you’ve done that.
…or it can work against you
The thing is, you can’t avoid this. If you fail to sell internally, it will come back to bite you. When you inevitably introduce other team members to a client, they can smell how well you get along with and buy into that other person’s beliefs. People catch on to the subtlety of teamwork, and seeing how well you act within your team affects their perception of you.
Here’s the bottom line…
You have to get people to understand you, and if you don’t, you’re starting the relationship off wrong with a client.
It’s impossible to hide that you do or do not have a supportive and cohesive team.
If a client believes you have issues within your team, they will doubt your ability to improve theirs.