One of the most frustrating situations in b2b sales or any kind of major account sales, is the false coach or champion. You know the ones I’m talking about – the ones who give you bad information regarding your strategy or who is the real decision maker.
This is usually a tough situation since you can be blindsided by someone you thought was helping you in the sale by providing you with excellent or good information about your prospect.
There are usually four types of False Coach or Champions you need to watch out for since they can cause poor decisions on your part. Here are the four types of False Coach or Champions…
- The Friend
This person will act like they are really helping you to win the sale. They seem to be your friend and you can actually enjoy being around them at the prospect company. Since you like them and they appear to like you, listening to their ideas and suggestions seems natural.
Here is the kicker – some organizations actually ask people to be friendly and helpful to sales people – to keep them in the game. Yes, their job is to allow you to feel you have a shot at winning the business. However, this is a trick designed to keep you in the game to get the favorite to lower their price or to play the two of you for a better deal. It is true – some customers do not play fair. Therefore, you must watch for signs the contact or “friend” is actually walking their talk. Occasionally push them to advance the sales process by getting you a meeting with a key person or influence to the sale. If they can not get you in – there could be an issue.
- The Information Giver
A person who appears to be giving you insider information can be valuable – unless the information is incorrect. Here is an example of why you need more than one contact. The more contacts you have in a prospect account, the more information you can receive to validate that the accuracy of the information given is important to you. In other words, the more sources sharing the same information will validate the accuracy of the information. If you only have one source, the potential for incorrect information is higher.
- The Inside Sales Person
The inside sales person is usually an ego driven person who thinks they can present your ideas or solution better than you can within their organization. The only problem with this plan – the inside sales person will give up too fast when someone pushes back. This is usually connected to the political side of the organization rather than the performance based side of the organization. Here you have to be careful since this person can turn on you very quickly and actually become a blocker to your success.
Here is a situation where your persuasion skills become very valuable. You want to get the insider to let you “help or assist” them during their inside selling of your plan. Convincing this person to let you coach them in the proper way to position your solution and to accurately collect the cost or expenses for a good ROI calculation become a necessary step.
One of the signs this person is only in it for the political side, they will begin to share with you how good they are at getting things done. In fact, they will spend their time with you telling you how good they are and how they don’t need any help from you to get it passed. BS! They usually fold up the first time a difficult question is asked by a higher level position within the organization. Remember, it is your job to get inside, make the relationships, gain rapport, ask questions to make the decision makers think, and show the ROI of your solution. Then you will get the lion’s share of the deals and accounts.
- The No Credibility Mentor
Here you have the biggest dilemma of them all. This person gives you a sincere effort to assist and guide you through the corporate waters of both power and politics – with one major problem. This mentor has no internal credibility within their own organization. In fact, if you are positioned as a favorite of this individual it could be a strike against you from the very start.
This is a situation whereby the mentor type has fallen out of favor due to politics, poor decisions in the past, or overall lack of performance in their position. The fastest way to counter this embarrassing mess is to find multiple mentors and coaches within an organization. Learn from all of them regarding internal politics and power people – and if someone on your team of mentors has fallen from grace in their inner circle of decision makers – then their ability to influence others for account decisions is limited at best.
Okay, your job just got a little more interesting since you need to check out your mentors, coaches and people of influence. Use this b2b sales tip to win more sales and keep you on the side of high performance.
One last sales tip: It is your responsibility to focus on performance rather than politics. When coaching my clients whether in sales or management, you focus on performance and be politically aware so no one blindsides you. Much sales success to you.