Today, sponsors make decisions as a team. Each team member brings an agenda, which is often filtered through his/her personality. There are five personality types you’ll encounter in a pitch. We’ve covered two so far.
Here’s the next in the series. Meet Alan the Alpha.
Alan is an alpha male. He is physically imposing and most likely handsome. He is a strategist. Grunt work is routinely pushed down to his subordinates. His image is important to him, as is his sense of power. He will listen and reserve questions for the end as a sort of crescendo effect. This holds him above the fray. Because he works across many departments, he’s learned a lot about various aspects of the business. Hard data will interest him. Getting him to reveal his “switch” will be tough because he knows what you’re after and why. He treats the pitch meeting like a game he plans to win.
Level of power: High.
Level of Influence: High.
Power style: Establishes dominance with body language and tough questions.
Reason for being at the table: He’s there to vet your offer. He’ll sign off on the deal but won’t manage it.
Asking Alan to talk about his strategic marketing needs will get you nowhere. Instead, you’ll have to dodge and weave. Ask Alan something you’re pretty sure he won’t know–something esoteric about marketing. If he fumbles for an answer, then he’ll want to preserve his power in the room. So when you ask a follow-up question fairly soon thereafter, he’ll talk. Once you get him interacting with you and the others, rather than hovering above it all, the more opportunity you’ll have to find his “switch.”