Is Richard Branson Flying Your Aeroplane?

Is Richard Branson Flying Your Aeroplane? In this Blackboard Fridays Episode 86, Jacob talks about Sales and Operational Structure. Need this implemented into your business? Talk to the international business advisor who can do exactly that – Contact Jacob, Learn More, or Subscribe for Updates.

Congratulations! You’ve built a business, you have a team, and you’re slowly evolving your role “off the tools”. You’re become a business leader, with more time for sales and no need to capture timesheets in the office. Or at least, that’s the theory.

Because no matter how much you tell your new clients that someone else will be doing the work, they keep pushing back. “But Jacob,” they say, “I’m sure Harriet is great for other clients, but we want YOU!”

If this problem is familiar, we have a solution. In this week’s episode, which you can watch here, we walk through the specific process for helping you to position and sell your team into your clients, so they don’t expect you to deliver the work yourself.

Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?

“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.

Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.

At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.

You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.

That’s me.

Learn more here. Or Let’s chat.


I’ve had this conversation with four different clients in the past month, which is usually a pretty good sign that there’s a lot of other businesses out there who need to hear this information. Here’s the problem that they were having.

My client, the business owner or as the director of a state or a region, is responsible for keeping a team of delivery personnel busy. When they go out to sell, to bring on a new client, part of their responsibility is convincing the client that Tom, Dick or Harriet is going to be the right person to actually deliver the work.

The challenge is that those prospects have built up in their mind that this business owner or this regional director is the expert. They don’t want Tom, Dick or Harriet. They want the expert. So how in the sales process do you go about selling your team so that the client is satisfied?

Well, it starts first of all with our understanding what the client’s fear is. See, the client has found you for some way. Maybe they’ve been referred, maybe they’ve done a lot of Googling, they’ve read some of your blogs, they’ve watched those incredible Blackboard videos that you do every Friday. For some reason they found you and they’ve decided that you are worth talking to, that the risk of coming out from behind the veil of online and actually having a conversation is worth it because you know what you’re talking about.

You’ve been positioned high in their mind, but they don’t know these other Tom, Dick or Harriet. Their concern is that the quality of these people is not going to be as good, that the consistency is not going to be the same, that frankly there’s a reason you’re the business owner and they’re not.

I want the best for my business or for my life. You’ve gotta understand that client fear and then you’ve got to allay it. You’ve got to put those fears to bed and you do that sometimes by acknowledging them and by talking about the better value, the better opportunity that by working with one of your team that they will receive.

At its simplest, it’s about defining your role and their expertise. So what is your role in this situation as the business owner, as the person who is not going to be doing the doing, is not going to be seeing the client as often, what role will you play? Are you still involved from a relationship perspective? Are you the person who will check in every quarter or once or twice a year to see how they’re going, to make sure they’re receiving value?

I find myself that this is one of the best ways of positioning myself as separate from my team by saying that I’m the person that they call whenever they have an issue, when they’ve got a concern. This person will help do the delivery, but I will maintain the relationship, keep the customer service going for the long term. I will be consistent even if over five, 10, 20 years some of these individuals may change.

I also like to use humor in that situation. I draw the analogy of Richard Branson flying the aeroplane. Everybody loves Richard Branson, but you wouldn’t really want him as your pilot on a long haul flight across the Atlantic.

In that analogy, of course I’m comparing myself to Richard Branson. And that’s your role is to go well I’ve got a separate role from the experts who are doing the delivery because I’m now a business owner, because I’ve now got all of those responsibilities, I’m actually not as good at the functional roles anymore.

You don’t want me doing your books. You don’t want me coming into your business and trying to run that culture project with the team. I’m just not on the tools anymore. That would be like getting Richard Branson to fly the aeroplane.  Get him in his role and get the best person in to help you out.

From an energy perspective, I sometimes like to think about positioning and that process through which you’ve been positioned and your opportunity to leverage that to position up because this is how the client sees your business. You are higher than, you are better than your team. What you wanna do is actually convince them that this person is better than you for what it is that that client specifically needs. 

Now, you’ve already been positioned up. You’ve been bigged up as the expert, maybe as I say, through social media or through a referral. So your job is to take that energy, take that positioning of yourself as an expert and run with it. Don’t fight against it, but run with it.  So we’ll add someone who knows this industry, who knows the service.

I have absolute confidence that Harriet is the best person to help you deliver it and I’m still going to be here if you need to call me, if you need to check in. I’m going to be checking in with you. Harriet is much better than I am. Because you’ve been positioned so highly, you’ve got an opportunity to put that other person up on your shoulders so that the client actually feels that they’re getting a much better outcome than if they just worked with you directly.

This applies even if Harriet or Tom or Dick have found the lead. This is a mistake I’ve seen a lot of professional services firms where as careers develop, these individuals start to go out and find leads to work on their business development skills. They wanna go and do that sales piece because they know how valuable that is to a business.

Don’t let them get too far ahead of themselves because their natural tendency will be to talk about how great they are and to a degree deposition you as being important in the process. Much better if they’re talking about how great you are, get you into the room and  then you can, using your expertise, reposition them even higher. That gets them a double kick along instead of them having to talk about themselves. You start to get an appreciation here of why I preach so much about having a consistent sales meeting process.

Whatever you use and if you’re looking for one, the Gratitude Sales Model that we at BusinessDEPOT use is covered at length in episodes 40 and 55 because if you’ve got two or more people in a sales meeting, it’s critical you’re running the same process.

Otherwise, you’re gonna keep crossing over each other with questions. You’re gonna completely miss the energy and you’re not going to achieve that outcome. That outcome of Harriet being the right person to do this and of the client walking away from the sales meeting knowing that they wanna work with your business for the long term.

Next Steps

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