Normally, it’s always advisable to think the best of your customers. On the other hand, this shouldn’t be a reason to include the so-called ‘village idiots’ in your prospect organization.
Yes, it sounds rather obnoxious to suspect any potential client of being that stupid. But remember, sending the wrong prospect to a sales rep is more likely going to frustrate them. You don’t honestly think the village idiot is going to those qualifications now do you?
It might be better to first define what qualifies as a village idiot in a prospect organization:
- Theirs is not an ‘alternative POV’ – Possibly the most important characteristic is the one that differentiates an idiot from someone who simply holds an alternative POV. The latter can actually make the case for theirs and might even help you during the lead nurturing process. An idiot offers no such defense. (That’s why they’re idiots and not worth a sales reps’ time.)
- They don’t have much influence – By this, this doesn’t mean a village idiot is someone at the bottom of the corporate ladder (though that might very well be the case). It means they’re so incapable of getting others to buy-in, they’re clearly not the people to talk to.
- They have no idea of what you’re talking about – This clueless in the most literal sense. No matter how well or simple you explain it, they’re going to relay it in the worst possible way (if they even do it at all). In the unfortunate circumstance that the gatekeeper is in fact the village idiot, try to find other ways to reach the target decision maker.
- They hate their job – It’s a pretty harsh and straight forward, but it’s also the most obvious. They don’t like their job, their boss, their company, their co-workers, etc. You can feel sorry for them but if you’re trying to get an organization to buy-in, you do it through someone who’s less likely to quit.
But of course, the good news is that the village idiot you’ve encountered doesn’t always stay the same person. Sometimes they do leave and they’re replaced by someone who can really get you connected with the decision maker. Other times they can change companies and have a remarkable change in attitude. So in the end, maybe they’re not such bad people after all.