Strategic HR Weekly "Sales" Tip #24
The Complex Sale
As an HR professional, you will eventually need to "sell" HR. If you're an HR practitioner in a business, you'll have to sell the value of HR initiatives to the C-suite. If you're an HR consultant, you'll have to sell the value of HR initiatives to prospective client businesses. And it is a "complex sale", because it can impact every single part of a company's P&L, and there are numerous strategies that many be applicable to make that happen.
Sale professional Jeff Thull has written several excellent books about "the complex sale". He suggests creating a sales process aligned with the 4 purpose-steps of Qualify, Diagnose, Design, and Deliver. I recently completed a diagram (below) for creating a strategic HR plan in a business (using the SHRMS tool, but it can apply regardless of what tools you use). Around the outside of those steps, I overlaid Thull's 4 purpose-steps. Note that the number of circles in each phase does NOT necessarily correspond to how much time might be spent in it. In fact, the one-circle Qualify phase might be very lengthy, because it's so critical for laying the buy-in and foundation for the rest of the process.
In summary: Have a well thought out process; have a purpose to the process; and show the process to your client early on so they can better get their heads around where you'll be taking them.