You are Donnie Brasco. Your prospect is Lefty.
It’s always risky to go to bat for someone.
The champion inside your target company will be representing you, and if it goes bad, they get the blame. But you can make it safer for them to introduce you to their associates.
Let’s take a look at getting on the inside, only where no one goes sleep with the fishes
Show your rap sheet
By providing your industry credentials in a way that your champion can easily share, you’re letting the others make their own assessment of your credibility rather than relying solely on your champion’s evaluation.
That’s safer for Lefty.
We know dis guy
By having multiple people inside the organization endorse you, Lefty is more likely to speak up for your position, because he isn’t alone out on the limb.
Try to get more than one touch point inside the organization (ideally with a targeted yet complementary value proposal for each contact’s area of responsibility) and make it easy for others to see your business case with easy access to your value proposal via recorded meetings, case studies and other assets.
Get it in writing
A document trail offers protection as Lefty can show the logic trail of why he’s supporting you. You’re protected too in case the deal goes south and you need to testify to your superiors what went wrong.
This applies to the value proposal (in the forms of ROI calculations and case studies etc.) as well as the sales process (in the form of written down next steps and agreed deliverables).
Don’t betray your champion’s trust
Lefty got shot because Donnie didn’t turn out to be who he said he was. Not only was it bad for Lefty, but word got around fast, and you can be sure Donnie was no longer welcome anywhere in his chosen industry.
Make sure that everything you commit to actually happens, and never leave your champion holding the bag.