We teach merchants and support leaders in retail home office departments skills and a strategy for how to influence internal partners. Let’s face it, most of the time requests to other peer departments are going to make their day change and possibly add to their workload. So you start out with a situation that at minimum will be more emotionally charged because of the stress it will add.
Offering food helps but that only goes so far. Having a plan and using some key interpersonal skills will go a lot further not only to get your request done but strengthen the internal relationship even more. And, when you think about it, aren’t you going to be asking them for something else before long? Sure you are. So here are some points we teach to help you achieve your goal through others.
Just because you have an informal relationship doesn’t mean you should treat them with less respect. Have a plan. Write down what you want and then think through why. Also note how it will impact them. Is the benefit to both of you or the company as a whole important to them? Does it outweigh the level of change or support they’re going to need to apply?
When you meet with them, briefly outline the request at a high level and then ask for their reaction. You can tell quickly whether you’ve judged the impact accurately or what level of complexity is involved. Be prepared to share numbers and data that helps them see the broader company impact or connection to values you both share. Ask for their help in working through the obstacles. Ask about who else might have come to them with a similar request and how did they solve it.
Collaboration with internal partners often helps build stronger relationships. They are most likely a ‘specialist’ in their own right and have deeper knowledge about how to get things done in their area. If all else fails, try offering food. What do you do to influence internal partners? Share your thoughts here or tweet us @mohrretail. Thanks for reading.