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Project Managers vs. Executives – Part 2 – or What do the Dumb-dumbs in the executive offices know? (#2 in the series Project Managers vs. Executives)
By Diana Lindstrom

In part 1 we learned how to decide which executive to start building a relationship with. In this part of the three-part series, we’ll learn the beginning steps about what to do next.

Part 2: What

Selling is NOT evil.

Here are a couple of definitions that I prefer*.

  • Sell – to persuade another to recognize the worth or desirability of something
  • Sell – to cause to be accepted; advocate successfully

Besides thinking of ourselves as advocates, we’re also teachers. Whether we want to or not, as project managers we teach people about project expectations every day. They come to expect success, or failure, based on what we deliver.

When we consistently deliver successful projects, it’s much easier to advocate the process.

Learn how to sell. Read books, take classes, talk with salespeople. There are many sales techniques – and some are not relevant to what we do. I’ve found that techniques that use relationship building work best for this type of sale.

Then translate the word “sell” to “teach” or “advocate.”

We don’t convince other people of anything – they convince themselves. We supply the information for them to do that.

The best information to give them is the benefits of project practices. Answer this question: What will they get?

Be careful here and really study this point. Benefits are not features. A feature would be the project schedule. A benefit would be opening a new market.

Next time, we’ll talk about when to sell project management practices.

*American Heritage Dictionary

Diana Lindstrom, PMP, CTACC, has been a project manager for over 22 years. Starting out as an electrical engineer, she has broad experience including executive management, enterprise-level procurement, paralegal, writing, and coaching. As an executive coach, Diana helps new executives (and project managers) make that mind shift from tactical to strategic thinking. She can be reached through

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