Where is the Love? Where is the Buy-In?
San Francisco is a great place to connect with intelligent individuals from small tech start-ups and big tech companies alike. With plenty of panels and meet-ups to choose from, I decided to attend one all about In-House SEO. I was excited to learn from the SEO bigwigs at Yahoo, SalesForce.com, AutoDesk, and CBS Interactive. It was interesting to discover that a strong command in the written form of one’s native tongue is a big plus in becoming an SEO expert. And it was shocking to hear that start-ups keep stealing SEO employees from Yahoo!
But the biggest surprise came from the moderator and the audience, which largely consisted of SEO professionals from smaller companies. The moderator asked, “What don’t you like about your job?” and all the answers sounded like this: fighting to be included on decisions. He also asked a couple of questions that sounded like this one: How can you embarrass or prove other people wrong so you can push your agenda? The audience also had depressing questions to ask such as, “How can I get others to buy-in?” or, “How can I get them to see SEO as something important?” and a lot of, “What do you do to get others to buy-in on a budget for SEO?”
Does life have to be so miserable for SEO specialists and other professionals? Battling and embarrassing your colleagues can’t produce a good workplace culture. Such an attitude only keeps departments away from accomplishing the company goals they all share. Who likes being embarrassed by someone? Who likes being forced and humiliated into action? Who enjoys wasting hours being told what to do? Nobody!
Thus, the real cry for help was for sales. The act of someone trying to get another person to commit to anything is sales. Had the top sales people from each of these companies also been on the panel, then the attendees would have gone away with constructive ideas on communication, awareness, persuasion, and strategic questioning basics. All too often, human beings seek the familiar and this meet-up was no exception. We human beings tend to hang out with people who look like us, vote like us, and have the same job as us.
So, if you are at a stalemate with co-workers or whole departments, book a lunch with your company’s salespeople, fundraisers, or recruiters. Ask them how they uncover problems or wants, how they prove the value of their offer, and how they obtain the buy-in. I promise that humiliating the customer will not be one of their sales strategies, so don’t use it on your work buddy either! Sit back and listen to your sales professional, and see how their job skills will make your job a whole lot better.