Home > Ideas > Who’s in your corner?

Who’s in your corner?

No, this isn’t about the panel of Experts that create Action Plans that “Guarantee Success” nor is it about Gurus who whisper Gems of wisdom in your ear. It’s not even about the back-up team at the office that supports your efforts.

I am speaking about alliances in the field.

It’s a war out there! There will be no bloodshed, but there will surely be winners and, sadly, some losers! It’s important that your name does not figure in the latter list.

Yes, there is a pitched battle for supremacy in the market and hence the need for lookouts and informers. Like in a Tom Clancy novel where the KGB double-agent would drop a secret document in the restroom of a shady bar for the CIA guy to pick up, you need agents in the warzone to bring back gen and alerts to you.

When in the market visiting clients you are bound to meet Sales Professionals representing other organisations – some who are your direct competitors or others who promote non-competing products. Those in the second category are ideal the profile for your alliance. And on a rare occasion you may meet up with a person who is your rival’s rival but has no product that competes with your portfolio. This is the best guy to befriend!

During my tenure with an Office Equipment Company I used to regularly share information with couple of guys who used to promote Electronic Typewriters and Computers, resp. We would be each other’s eyes in the account.

We couldn’t be everywhere all the time, but one of us would be in a common account quite often; and we had a lot of common accounts – hence we made it a point to watch out for one another. Whenever there was some talk in the account about a product of interest for one of us the person would immediately by notified. Thus we made sure that no order went uncontested and in the process won a lot of business for ourselves from each of these accounts.

In such situations it is important that have clear guidelines:

–          Decide what information would be shared, also how and when – never compromise your company’s Code of Ethics and never part with information other than specified.

–          Never bargain while offering information, nor should you expect a quid pro quo. It’s possible that your product is not in demand in any of the shared accounts in a particular period.

–          A smart guy can ask you to do things in order to outflank his rival and put you in an embarrassing situation in the process. Avoid such connivances.

Make sure that such alliances do not put you in a tight corner; instead use them to help you turn the corner!

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