Today’s post is by Kevin Doddrell, vice president of Revenue Storm.
Top sellers understand almost instinctively how to leverage political opportunities to gain a competitive advantage with customers and prospects. Often, this starts with finding the right moment to gain a point of entry.
Let’s look at four political opportunities that can open the door to winning deals.
Opportunity #1: Newly Appointed Executives
When executives are newly appointed, they often extend job offers to people in their professional network within a month or two. This creates a mutual bond of loyalty, which results in a very high degree of mutual influence.
Aligning yourself with a newly appointed executive is an excellent way to not only support her in becoming successful, but it opens the doors to build relationships with the people brought into the organization, thereby broadening your scope of influence and knowledge in the organization. Follow this line of influence in your sales cycle and it will create a relationship competitive advantage!
Opportunity #2: Reorganizational Tension
Tension is created when an organizational restructure is about to take place. While many salespeople will say they have to wait until the restructuring is complete before they can sell anything, this is when “heat seekers” will strike and make a preemptive move to gain a political advantage. Look for the heat seeker and preempt your competitors!
Opportunity #3: Vacant Chair Competition
Whenever someone resigns or moves on from a role, a vacancy is created. As a result, political activity rises significantly as individuals jockey for selection. Often the race is on to implement new initiatives to impress the decision makers determining who fills the vacancy.
This is your opportunity to seek out potential candidates and appeal to their personal agenda by assisting them in creating a vision for their organization that demonstrates tangible value.
Opportunity #4: Honeymoon Period
Whenever an executive or leader is appointed to a new role, there is a “honeymoon” period during which he or she is allowed time to “settle in.” Years ago this used to be six months to a year. Now a new executive is expected to launch her first business improvement initiative within the first 90 days. They are keen for external thought leadership on the market and business environment and hungry for ideas on how to create a step change in the business…the ideal timing for new thinking from you!
The ability to research your clients’ political environment and develop a vision that links to a personal agenda created by one of the above situations is the key to successful execution and closing of deals. In fact, selling in a highly charged political environment (like the ones described above) can be one of the most exciting experiences on the planet. The more highly charged the political environment, the more emotions are in play. This leads to more active forces behind position taking and, ultimately, decision making. Too often sales professionals shy away from political upheaval when, in reality, they should charge in!