The Foxhole Test

The Foxhole Test

To win your dream client you need the business acumen to know how to help them improve their results. You also need to help them develop a story that moves them from their present state to their desired state. And, you need a whole bunch of other attributes and skills.

The foundation of all of those attributes and skills is trust. It’s based on your honesty, your integrity, and, yes, your courage when it comes to a good fight. Your dream client needs to know where you will stand when the bullets start flying.

Change Initiatives Come With Lots of Enemies

Describing yourself as a change agent isn’t necessarily going to make you a lot of friends. Sure, your contact needs change, and you have helped make the case for that change. But change initiatives come with built-in enemies who are bolstered and reinforced by the comfort of the ever-present status quo.

The status quo is warm. It’s familiar. Yes, things are much worse than they might be, but change might make it worse. Even if it would make things better, the entrenched interests have no interest in finding out. The enemies of change target you and your dream client contact as public enemies number one and two, and they set their sites on destroying your plan.

Now the bullets start flying. Results are slower than expected. You have run into a snag. The train came completely off the tracks.

Where are you?

What Your Dream Client Needs to Believe

You are not going to be chosen unless your dream client believes that when the bullets start flying you are going to be standing right next to her.

Mature businesspeople know that change initiatives don’t move smoothly from the status quo to the desired state. Change comes in fits and starts, inching forward only to move backwards even further. If it were easy, they wouldn’t need you or your help.

Your dream client needs to believe you can be trusted. She needs to believe that you can be trusted to move things forward when there is resistance on her team. She needs to believe that you will pull out all of the stops in moving your team to push through the challenging uphill struggles that change requires.

Your dream client needs to believe that she isn’t going to be standing in the foxhole by herself. She needs to know that she isn’t going to fail because you aren’t going to let her fail.

Questions

Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Would you make a major purchase without knowing that the salesperson you are making it with wasn’t going to be standing beside you to ensure it succeeds?

How do you act to ensure that your dream client knows where you will be standing when your change effort starts getting hammered by the forces of same-old, same-old who are going to try to undermine it or wait it out?

If you call yourself a change agent, what does it mean about how you must act when the going gets really tough?

Have you ever had to stand next to your client when the train came off the tracks and help to put it back on the tracks and defend your solution?

Why do some salespeople insist on suggesting that an implementation plan ensures a smooth transition? What expectations have they created? Are these expectations real? Can they always be guaranteed?


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  1. [...] client needs to know that you are going to be there with them when the bullets start flying. The bigger the idea, the more likely the bullets turn into an all out nuclear [...]