RESET: You Can’t Sell Externally, Until You Can Sell Internally

In this month’s video, Wayne O’Neill explains the importance of learning to sell internally to be more effective selling externally. The same personas that exist externally also exist internally. So if you learn the keys to navigating those relationships and behavior drivers inside your own team, you learn the skills to be effective connecting externally.

Internal Selling


So what I’d like to talk about today is the concept that I see most of our clients struggle with. And the concept is counterintuitive. So listen carefully the way I’m expressing this.

You can’t really sell as effectively as you may want to externally until you learn how to effectively sell internally. It’s an adage of our practice. So let’s explore the why about that because if I’m you I’m listening to that and trying to process that. So what you want to do when you’re connecting with any client is you want to wrap yourself around the organizational dynamics or the way that client makes decisions. That’s about the personas of what exist in that client.

And believe it or not, unless you’re just a very, very small company, those same personas exist within your company. The technical and operational perspective, the game playing perspective, the procrastinator, the false decision maker. So understanding those dynamics and trying to build a bridge, not build just a relationship, build a connection bridge with those different perspectives will give you confidence as you go to market. Because what it’s really about is building resonance and discipline.

This is not about a culture-building exercise. This is, you all don’t have to like each other. But you do have to learn how to respect different perspectives within a team. It’s about getting confident about that you may not see every angle when you’re connecting with a client. If you’re a business development and marketing person, you have to understand the technical people and operations people see the client differently than you see. And maybe see risks or perspective that you don’t see. If you’re technical and operational, don’t just hide behind the cliche perception of marketing person or even a seller doer. That they get everything by entertainment or their normal go to market procedure. Learn that they have a different angle that may help you after you win the job to execute the job effectively.

The biggest sin by far though that I see– and because I am the boss, I see this all the time. –just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at building resonance and discipline within your team. Because here’s what I’ve learned by coaching owners and coaching customers and coaching people who make decisions to buy your scope, trust me, they can smell it on you. Now, we’ve just gone through this over the last several weeks. It’s not that the client doesn’t listen to me, not that the client doesn’t listen to my coaches. But they pay a lot of attention to my support team, particularly the project managers. Are those folks respected? Do I seem like I listen to them? Do I seem like I ask for their perspective, even when we’re meeting with the client?

So the punchline is this, you may be thinking to yourself, I don’t know; I’ve gotten pretty far without having to do this. Why would I want to slow down and really work and internal team work? I want you to consider this. Over nine years of practice, almost every single client has changed the trajectory of revenue and made more profitable account relationships because they’ve had the resonance and discipline of the way that they go to market. You can’t sell as effectively externally until you learn how to sell effectively internally.

Thanks for listening. And be safe.


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