Overcoming the “Sleeping With The Enemy” Challenge

For those of you that recall seeing the 1991 movie Sleeping With The Enemy starring Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin, you may well remember the theme and plot of this action thriller.

We often hear a familiar theme played out in our world of professional selling. In this context, the theme often describes an ideal prospect (the sleeper) that you are in pursuit of, but you are facing an entrenched incumbent (the enemy). As in most cases the incumbent has well established trust-based relationships running both horizontally and vertically within your prospects organization. To add to the challenge, the prospect protects the incumbent that he has grown comfortable with.

Something you can count on….

With well established prospect and incumbent relationships, two factors are often are in play:

  1. The pricing may be out of line. This may be intentionally low due to flying under the radar, or high simply because enough people are turning their heads.
  2. New, fresh ideas are few and far between. Why bother?…they are protected and have been for years.

Accepting the challenge….

Now that you have chosen to overcome and accept the challenge, it is time to create a solid strategy using the proven steps below.

Your goal is to find and schedule an initial appointment with a valid decision maker that is open to listening to new ideas.

  1. Find the contact(s) with influence and the authority to create change. This may be a senior manager – perhaps the CEO, or others in the ‘C suite’ that is leading from the front, and open to new ideas. Another option could be in the form of a manager that is open for change, assertive and has a high degree of influence within the organization. Your challenge may be at the executive level. All the more reason to implement the next step.
  2. Peer to peer referral. Once you have found the right contact(s) use certain customers to leverage your credibility on a peer to peer basis. Let your contacts leverage their influence to establish your credibility.
  3. Social Media. The case may be that you do not have a customer at the appropriate level to use the above option. In that case your social media tools such as LinkedIn are invaluable in using your existing contacts to provide the needed leverage.

Once the appointment is obtained, the buying cycle can take on a life of its own. You have survived this long and know what the next steps are to achieve the level of success that you are capable of.

You are to be congratulated! Many retreat and use multiple excuses not to take on a sales challenge such at this. While you may not be Julia Roberts, sometimes all you need is a word of encouragement and a change in perspective to succeed in Overcoming The Sleeping With The Enemy Challenge.

To your success,

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