Forget the idea of sitting across the table from a Chief Marketing Officer to pitch your sponsorship offer. Today, deals are made by teams. As in most meetings, each person brings an agenda. Often times, it’s filtered through their personality. If you expect to succeed, you’ll want to find their “switch”—it’s what flips on the green light. Doing so requires that you engage them before pitching by asking a few well thought out questions. Over the next few weeks, I’ll identify some of the most common creatures you’ll encounter, and provide tips for how to uncover their switch:
Echo Chamber Ellen
Ellen’s agenda is fairly obvious. She wants to fit in, especially where her boss is concerned. She’s a pleaser. Her desire to conform is so great, she’s a walking dictionary of corporate speak. Her questions are phrased in slogans: “What I’m not hearing here is, does this drive our vertical.” Huh?
Level of power: Low
Level of Influence: Lower still.
Power style: Passive aggressive
Reason for being at the table: Other people can dump work onto her. Watch, she’ll be asked to do a write up of the meeting or some other mundane task.
The “switch”: Irrelevant. Ask her anything. She will play along with whatever the prevailing mood is in the room.
Perhaps the best thing about Ellen is that she throws off lots of body language. When you direct questions toward her, observe where her eyes go. That’ll tell you who the Alpha in the room is. She’ll glance at the ultimate decision maker first before answering any of your questions.
Next, I’ll introduce you to Alan the Alpha.
(originally posted 2010)