You found a power sponsor to help you navigate your way into and through your dream client. You have had a couple of meetings, and your power sponsor introduced you to all of the stakeholders. You made some commitments, and you asked your power sponsor to provide you with some information so that you could start helping them build a vision.
Now your power sponsor has gone dark.
Your calls are unanswered, voicemails unreturned. No response on email either. You need the information to move forward. What’s next?
It’s (Still) Not About You
People with a lot of authority and influence usually also have more commitments than they can easily keep.
Before you start believing that you did or said something to lose the deal or that your power sponsor has decided not to move forward (even after such a great couple of meetings), stop and take a deep breath.
It’s important to remember that most of the time that you are worried about what other people are thinking, they aren’t thinking about you at all; they’re just busy. We all have the ability to be just a little arrogant and self-involved in believing that everyone spends their time thinking about us; they don’t. It’s not about you.
It’s likely that your power sponsor had every intention of helping you in the timeframe that you discussed and to which they committed. It’s equally likely that either work or life intervened and made other arrangements for them. Something at work has their attention. It could be a big problem that they need to focus on helping to remove. It could be a big opportunity that requires that they capture it while they can. Or it could be their kid has flu.
Helping Your Power Sponsor Help You
If you want to help your power sponsor, stop leaving them messages asking them for the information you need. Instead, be the resourceful, initiative-taking, proactive, results-producing leader that you are and ask them for something else.
Your next voicemail or email, start by saying something about how you understand that your power sponsor is busy and probably tied up with something important. Then ask your power sponsor who would be the best person for you to reach out to in order to acquire the information you need to move forward. It’s likely that your power sponsor was going to delegate the task of getting you the information to someone else anyway.
Ask them to just shoot you an email with a name, and tell them you’ll take care of everything from there.
If that doesn’t draw a response, call the other contacts the power sponsor has introduced you to and tell them that you have had trouble both reaching your power sponsor and acquiring what you need. Tell them that you hope your power sponsor is okay, and that you have been concerned about them. Ask the contact if they can help you determine the best way to get the information that you need.
If you want to be seen as a value-creator, someone who keeps projects moving forward on their own, be that!
Why do we assume the worst when our power sponsor goes dark? Doesn’t it normally turn out that it has nothing whatsoever to do with you?
If voicemail and email messages don’t help you move your opportunity forward, why continue to pile them up when it is clear they aren’t getting you results?
If you were already doing business with your dream client, how would you be expected to behave?
What message does it send when you are resourceful and act on your own initiative? What do you think these attributes might mean to your dream client about their ability to trust you as their business partner?