Go for the Alpha When Sharing Expertise?

In the new animated film How to Train Your Dragon 2, you got to see more of the ecological aspects of world’s dragons. What’s particularly noteworthy was the use of alpha domination. Like many real animals, dragons can be dominated (even against their will) by an alpha who in turn can only be challenged by another of equal strength.

So when sharing expertise to a prospect organization, it seems to make just as much sense to go for its own alpha. Wouldn’t medical leads come faster if you could simply influence the one whose authority overrides that of all others?

You’re forgetting what it takes to even get their attention.

Generally, alphas only have two primary concerns: the welfare of the group and their control over it. You might assume that the former might get you the interest you’re looking for. After all, why would sharing expertise on topics like improved maintenance not benefit their group? Why is that a bad idea?

Answer: You’re indirectly challenging their authority.

How? By pointing out what’s still missing. That’s not to say they can’t stand criticism or don’t know how to fix problems. But for the most part? It would be highly unrealistic to think they enjoy seeing someone point out the flaws in their structure, business model, management style etc.

Here just some of the reasons why:

  • You’re pointing out the obvious – How could they be in that position and not be fully aware of what you’re pointing out. Worse still, maybe you don’t know enough about their situation. It’s not like you’re the boss.
  • It could give other challengers the edge – Never presume politics will never be in play throughout your entire B2B marketing experience. Unintentionally raising up an organizational flaw can be like putting a target on your prospect’s back.

So naturally you’d want to avoid all of that. But how can you influence an organization otherwise? Well, consider the following:

  • Go for the challengers – It might feel like stabbing someone in the back but an inside influencer who doesn’t entirely agree with the top dog has a better chance of opting for your solution than someone who insists they don’t need you.
  • Present the answer, quick – A prospect is well aware that their practice is less than perfect. Got any better ideas? No, seriously. You do don’t you? If you have the answer they’re looking for, show it them already!
  • Help them hear from the bottom up – It’s the classic “Voice of the People” approach. Instead of aiming straight for the time, try taking some time networking with the employees down below. They may have a more first-hand experience with the problems you’re trying to solve than the one who sees a business in a strictly macro perspective.

Unlike animals, organizations aren’t exactly hive minds. Aiming for the top isn’t exactly guaranteed control over a prospect’s entire business initiative. Learn to look for the right contact in other ranks of the pecking order.

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