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I am an analyst in a government agency which is tasked to provide strategic support to other agencies.  Recently, a new boss and skip level decided our team was dysfunctional (it was) and that it will be restructured from the ground up.  As such, a job that was about 70/30 analysis and liaison, respectively, has been re-scoped to 20/80 of the same. 

In this case, liaison means convincing other agencies that my team can provide a valuable service and promoting a two-way exchange of information.  Unfortunately, when I go out to meet with potential partners, I not only have to sell our service, but I also have to overcome two years of ill will that was built by a bad boss. 

While Mark and Mike's casts have helped me embrace my inner social butterfly, I'm also thinking about asking for sales training.  Does this seem like a good idea?  If so, any recommendations?

jhack's picture

There is a podcast on this topic, which I highly recommend: 

http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/11/jump-starting-internal-customer-rel...

John Hack

aasloan's picture

I like it.  I've actually already implemented it to some extent but I can now take it all the way.

Still, I find myself in situations where our (statutorily mandated) customers have no idea who we are.  I think the "Jump Starting" cast will help with those customers who are already aware of us, but I'm also looking for something to help me adapt my skill set from the "C" style required for analytic work to the "I" style required to go out there and sell our team and product to the people who don't even know we even exist. 

I already tend to be a bit more "I" than my co-workers but my thought was that I could sharpen it a bit.  I've been going through the MT influence podcasts - could further training help or am I wasting my time? 

I'd love to hear a compare and contrast with MT and sales training from someone who has done both.

jhack's picture

There are several good books, especially "SPIN Selling" and "Consultative Selling" that would likely help. 

In some sense, you just need to get out there, do it, pay attention to what works and what doesn't, and continually refine.  

John Hack

Mark's picture

AASloan-

I like the way you're thinking.  And, sales training, in my experience, is often too narrowly focused on sales cycles, product sales, and customers who have to buy things.  I think you'd get some value, certainly...but that's not where I'd suggest you start.  I bet you'd be disappointed, and spend a lot of time "re-purposing" everything you learned.  When one re-purposes early learnings, one is often off by an order of magnitude.  Early on, that's the same as a wrong course.

I'd say you're talking about persuading folks regarding internal capabilities, and about folks who might well be called internal CLIENTS (versus customers).

Regarding THOSE capabilities, I STRONGLY recommend David Maister, and Peter Block.

Start with Peter Block, Flawless Consulting.  It's not perfect, but it will set your mind in a better way, I think.

Then read Maister's The Trusted Adviser.

When you finish those, come back and tell me what you think, and I'll suggest further.