As a young salesperson I was often reminded that is was important to sell “internally” just as much as I sold “externally’. There were lots of examples why, but generally they involved getting people onside with my sales situations.
- I had to convince proposal writers to put in that extra effort so my proposals were the best they could be;
- I had to work with contracts professionals to address potential contractual concerns;
- I had to convince management that we had a good chance of winning, so that we would invest the effort in a bid;
- I had to convince technical management to put effort into the solution; and
- I would need to convince management that we could make money at the bid price.
I could have just expected everyone to “do their job”.
I could have just focused on the external client … and hoped we won.
By working closely with all of my “internal clients”, by influencing their decisions, I improved our chances of success, and they helped me to better understand the sales situation. They pushed me as much as I pushed them.
This doesn’t just apply to sales.
If you are in management and not working hard to sell your fellow managers on your business ideas, investment strategies, hiring plans, sales plans etc. then you are missing an opportunity to help your own, and your fellow manager’s success. If they support you then your success is more assured … and of course vice versa, you need to support them.
If you are a partner in a business and are not selling your fellow partners on your activities then you are not building the relationship that you ultimately need with your partners. You need their support and they need yours!
Worse still is the toxic environment where people work to undermine their fellow employee, manager, partner etc. Is there anything worse? Nobody needs a colleague actively trying to undermine them! When it happens at the management levels and above, everyone knows it … and it breeds a toxic environment throughout the company.
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team. “ Phil Jackson
The best companies have a TEAM culture, their people push each other but in a supportive way. They celebrate each other’s success and “have each other’s back”.
Internal selling (or influencing) is one way to demonstrate leadership and combat the “political” environment that a toxic culture generates.
What kind of environment are you creating?
What kind of environment would you prefer as a place of work?
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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