Billy Bob spent long hours polishing a 20-something page proposal and presentation for ABC Software Company. Like many other recent leads, Billy Bob really believed this one was going to happen. He still felt this way despite the fact that several weeks had passed beyond the agreed upon decision date. He reasoned this one was different because he had a firm commitment from the prospect regarding what was going to happen. Joe Customer insisted, "the project was viable and if Billy Bob would just be patient it would all work out." There were, in fact, many assurances from Joe Customer that he had the internal support to move forward.
Internal screeners (called "Seemores" by Anthony Perinello in his book "Selling to VITO") tell you they can help, are very polite and understanding. In reality they are nothing more than "gracious gate-keepers".
A "true-trusted sponsor" wants results. Therefore, they know who, what, when, where and how to execute within the company's bureaucracy and are willing to move forward and share that information.
- Assuming too much
- Confusing the "internal screener" (Joe Customer) as a "true-trusted sponsor"
Make sure all "true-trusted sponsors" satisfactorily pass through these five questions before putting all your eggs in one basket.
- You have their trust and confidence
- They have the trust and confidence of the people in power (at times, the influencer may be a loose cannon with no credibility within the organization. Be very cautious here.)
- They have a personal stake in this project. In other words impacts and consequences have been quantified and articulated by this individual as it pertains to them.
- You ask them to be a "true-trusted sponsor" and they gladly accepted the challenge with enthusiasm.
- They spend what resources they can with you to translate ideas, concepts and words into an executable and customizable plan that clearly moves the sales cycle forward isolating benchmarks along the path.