Sales Tips
4 mins

Single Interlocutor Syndrome

The SiS: decoding a troubling sign in deals - is it possible?

    Many sales will forecast deals with a champion. But can you really tell if your contact is a Champion when it is the sole contact you are entertaining with your prospect? In my book, the SiS, Single interlocutor Syndrome, is a terrible sign of a sick deal.‍

    Some of you may wonder, "is that even possible?" It is because when sales are talking about their deal, they are rarely challenged about the number of people they are talking to within the prospect.‍

    Whether it started as an inbound or an outbound, you made contact with the prospect. For some reason, that contact is reasonably available and is making your sales campaign pleasant.

    Why put this at risk? Why compromise trust?

    In some cases, this person will tell you that:

    • Everything is on track without ever providing details
    • They make the ultimate decision
    • You don't need to talk to other people
    • Price will be the primary decision criteria‍

    They are responsive but can rarely answer the following questions:

    • Who in the company could be against the project?
    • What is this project attaching to in terms of the company's high priorities?
    • Who gave the mandate to move forward with some investment for this project?
    • What other resources will be involved in the deployment, and to what extent?‍

    Here is a suggested approach:"Mr/Mrs customer, I have been doing this for a while, and never have I ever concluded a successful partnership with one person. This is dangerous for your own shoulders as you would be carrying the entire weight alone of the decision and success of the project. We typically go and convince other departments and always report back so you can benefit from the insights we gather as outsiders."‍

    There is nothing untrue to this approach.‍

    Today, building pipeline is of the essence. How do you know you should dismiss an account? There is a simple path that you can follow, and that path is to chase the five personae. As we mentioned, one person in the account does not reflect the account possibilities. Here is why:‍

    • The buying personae your company typically target are not all the people that can provide you with key insights.
    • The buying personae may be influenced by others who own the problems/pains.
    • If you disrupt a traditional way of doing things, your typical buying personae may be protective of the "comfortable", and "old" ways.

    Before dismissing an account that has a great ICP (ideal customer profile) score based on the current situation, target five people in different departments and different levels of hierarchy.

    You'll be surprised by the conversations and what you may find!

    You can close a deal with a SiS but:

    • It will be much smaller than it should be
    • It will be at risk of churn, for if this person leaves, no one knows what it is about
    • It will close on their own terms (they have the control over you - price/time)‍

    Remember that a champion is not/never:

    • Treating you the same as your competition
    • Blocking you from talking to other people in the organization
    • Having difficulties justifying the project
    • Risk-averse‍

    Ask the questions. If that person is blocking you from meeting new people in the organization, do not be scared, she/he was never a champion (a person who has power, influence, a personal reason to make the deal happen, and sells for you when you are not there)."‍

    David Lopes
    Head of growth
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