More and more often, many of us are selling and consulting with clients as a team versus alone.
In most cases, teamwork makes sense. It is a great way to illustrate the concern your organization has for the client relationship and the diligence you have put towards it.
The concept is easy, succeeding at it is hard.
No Heroes on Teams
Leading or being part of a team takes a joint commitment to assist one another without any ego or hero-like behavior. That’s fine when everyone is on board. But sometimes, someone isn’t. And that’s why I often end up coaching executives to say something to their teammate versus ignoring a pattern of incorrect consulting behavior. If nothing is said, that behavior will continue and get worse. You will end up doing more of their work than you should.
Discovering the Weak Link
A client of mine noticed one of his teammates was regularly underprepared when meeting with clients, presenting recommendations more as “nice-to-haves” versus clear solutions. When we diagramed the actions the team took to understand their clients’ real goals and challenges, we discovered he didn’t know them. He acted on his cursory knowledge of clients from his on-line diligence versus interviewing clients pinpointing where their “pain” actually was. In essence, finding the pain and staying in it.
My client realized this behavior had been going on for quite some time with this team member. This teammate had become the weak link.
Contribute Instead of Criticize
Now for the hard part…telling your teammate they need to procure better intel to craft more accurate solutions than “nice-to-haves.” One way to initiate this conversation is to come from the position of “contribution” to your teammate versus “criticism” of them.
Initiate the conversation with the greatest benefit to them and the team; that of providing clients with air-tight solutions that resolve true declared problems. By doing this, your recommendation of better diligence at client meetings will be mutually understood and you’ll avoid making more work for yourself. You’ll also strengthen your teammate’s image in the process.
Is this a familiar situation for you? Let me know how you’ve handled it.