There is a reason your contacts sometimes don’t want to allow you to develop relationships with contacts in other parts of their business. There are also reasons they sometimes don’t want you to develop relationships with the people north of them on the organizational chart. It isn’t always pretty, and it isn’t usually easy to find your way out of a territorial relationship.
You’ve developed a nice relationship with a contact inside your dream client. You’ve spent time with them, you understand their needs, and your opportunity is progressing nicely. But moving your opportunity forward requires that you engage stakeholders from another part of the company. Maybe you need the IT department to approve the technology piece of your solution. Or maybe you need finance or purchasing to acquire budget. Without bringing in the stakeholders you need, your opportunity is dead on arrival. But your contact doesn’t want to give you access.
And why not? Is it that she’s a control freak bent on taking the credit for the solution to work her way up the corporate ladder? Probably not.
Your contact may fear losing control of the solution. She might fear that by allowing you to bring in other stakeholders, her peers will radically transform your solution. And her fears are completely rational; she’s may know or have experience that suggests that another group’s needs conflict with hers. Or maybe your contact has had the unfortunate experience of having finance or purchasing negotiate a deal that destroyed the value the opportunity would have created. But sometimes it’s something else.
Maybe your contact really doesn’t want to lose her relationship with you. She might fear that as soon as she allows you access to the C-suite, that you’ll no longer focus on helping her with her needs. Once you find your way up, you’ll forget how you got there, start serving the leadership team, ignoring here, and make her job even tougher.
These are legitimate and real concerns. The only way to move successfully past these concerns is to get them out on the table. You can’t resolve concerns unless and until you know what they are. You might have to say something like, “I feel that you have some concerns about bringing other people into this process. How can we do that and still address your concerns.”
It’s about trust. Just acknowledging that the concerns exist and are real is sometimes enough to break out of the box.
Do you have contacts that refuse to let you develop relationships with contacts from other departments?
What do you with contacts that won’t let you access people north of them on the organizational chart? What do you do when you need authority and executive support?
Can your contacts trust you to maintain the relationships they’ve built with you when they allow you to bring in other, sometimes more powerful, contacts from within their company?
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