You and your support staff are the essential partnering agents in Consultative Selling. Together, you compose a profit-improvement team for each of your customers. You, the consultant, are the leader of the team. You will partner with the customer business function managers whose costs you can reduce and with the managers of the customer's lines of business whose sales can be increased. The minimal resources you need as team leader and their relationship to you are shown in Figure 6-1.
Figure 6-1: Supplier profit-improvement team.
Three types of support from within your company will be essential: financial, data, and technical. All supportive team members will play two roles. Internally, within the team, they will coach and counsel you in preparing and presenting Profit Improvement Proposals, as well as implementing them. Externally, they will create partnerships with their correlates in the customer's business—finance to finance, data to data, technical to technical.
Your first act as consultant should be to form your profit-improvement teams on a customer-by-customer basis. Your second act is to consult with your clients on the organization of companion teams composed of their own staff resources. As Figure 6-2 shows, a client team is built around the decision makers who will be your partners. By melding the two teams, you create your partnership.
Figure 6-2: Client profit-improvement team.
In Figure 6-1 you must be able to see yourself in the box marked "Consultant Comanager." This will enable you to be the partner in charge of your team. As such, you will be a playing coach, a manager who also plays a position, charged with setting each profit project's objectives and the most cost-effective strategy for achieving them.