So much of our time is spent trying to figure out the best way to sell to our customers (and by that, I mean the ones paying the invoices every month) that we often forget about the customers closer to home. How often do you consider the customer that pays your salary?
It’s easy to forget that sometimes our most vital customer could be the one sitting in the office down the hall. Based on my past experiences, I know they’re not always at the forefront of one’s mind. Have you ever considered what could get accomplished if you were both playing on the same team?
Here is a list of five things you should do to make sure that you are dialed in to one of your most important customers:
- Know Your Audience. Knowledge is the backbone of all communication. Think about all of the people you interact with on a daily basis that make an impact on the products and programs to which you are connected. Who helps to make or break your initiatives?
Now, consider your relationship with each one of those people and determine how healthy it is. Do you make an effort to get to know that individual on a personal level? Do you go out of your way to help him or her and support their ideas when needed? Can you trust each other? Management of these relationships should be approached the same as how we approach relationships with our external customers.
- Know Their Purpose. Do you fully understand the psychological drivers that sway this audience’s decisions? Have you taken the time to figure out what is important to them, or how a simple decision can impact their world? Take the time to look at the issue through that lens and see what you come away with.
- Open the Lines of Communication Early. Have you actively pursued your audience’s input early in the process, allowing you to find a common goal that can be incorporated into your solution? Get these people involved. Make them a shareholder in the approach.
- Polish Your Message. When you are selling your concepts to them, are you in “rough draft” mode or are your ideas fully developed? What are you trying to convey? Is your message clear and effective? Will your presentation have a significant impact on your audience?
- Remember: There’s No “I” in “TEAM.” Problem solve until you come to a win-win result. Make sure you’re coming up with a solution with a net gain for the company and your counterparts. Sometimes this may mean your immediate need may not be met, or that it will require more work from you personally. Work each problem like you own the company, and you’ll more than likely end up with a great solution that builds trust within your team.
How do you fare in each of these categories? Consider the last time that selling your idea internally didn’t go the way you wanted, and apply the thinking we just covered. Would your result have been different?
What am I missing here? What are you thinking?
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.