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Your “Strategic” Alliance Maybe Parasitic – Sandler Training



Written by Hamish Knox; President of Sandler in Calgary, Canada

Creating accountable, sales focused organizations in Calgary



“You said you want to review your prospecting activities today.”

“Yes, specifically my strategic alliances.”


“I’ve got two. One with Dave, who sells cabling and one with Doug who sells IT services.”

“Is this one with the three of you or two separate?”

“Separate. The one with Dave’s been going for about 15 months and the one with Doug started about six months ago.”

“So what did you want to talk about?”

“I don’t feel that they’re working and I’m getting really frustrated.”

“What do you mean ‘not working’?”

“Well my understanding of a ‘strategic alliance’ is each member of the alliance supports the other with at least warm introductions if not joint sales calls.”


“And it’s not happening in either case.”

“Let me make sure I understand. Neither, Doug not Dave have given you any warm leads or done a joint sales call with you since you started your alliance with them?”

“Well, no. Dave did do a couple of email intros in the first month, but I’ve got nothing form Doug aside from a few vague promises to ‘introduce me to people who really need to talk to you.'”

“So what support are you seeking from me?”

“I guess I’m mad at both of them, but don’t feel like blowing things up.”


“Because, I like both of them and I’m afraid that if I end things with them they’ll run over to my competitors and make my life miserable.”

“More miserable than right now?”

“Probably not, but it’s frustrating when I’ve made at least one warm introduction for each of them per month since each of us started our alliance and they’ve made a bunch of commission on deals they closed that I introduced them to!”

“So right now you feel like you’re like the host of a parasite who’s sucking you dry.”

“Two parasites.”

“Fair. May I ask you a few questions about these ‘strategic’ alliances?”

“Sure. What do you want to know?”

“How did the conversation start with Dave and Doug?”

“Dave approached me at an association lunch about 17 months ago. We’ve known each other for five or six year mostly seeing each other at networking events and trade shows. I approached, Doug about nine months ago because we kept running into each other in the lobbies of our prospects. We didn’t know each other really at all when I reached out so we set up several conversations to figure out if we liked each other to partner up.”

“Thank you. So when you set up the alliances how did that go down?”

“With Dave it was him sending an email that said, ‘want to share leads?’ and me replying ‘yes.’ With Doug we sat down and talked about doing joint sales calls together and adding in a question about who the prospect was talking to about the other’s services so we could make introductions if we weren’t already engaged.”

“I’m confused where the strategic alliances are.”

“What? I had a conversation with each of them about sharing leads.”

“What I heard was you replied to a vague email from, Dave and had a conversation with Doug, but in neither of those cases did you agree on how many leads each would share, how often, to what type of prospects and when you would sit down and review the alliance to ensure both of you were getting what you expected. Did I miss that?”

“No. we didn’t talk about any of those.”

“That happens. In my experience when someone presents us with an opportunity like the ones you had with Dave and Doug we get excited, think ‘free leads! Easy closes!’ then run off without creating clarity with the other(s) about how many, how often, to whom and when to review.”

“I definitely got excited. Especially with, Dave. He knows a tonne of people.”

“Great. Does he know the right people for you?”


“Who is, Dave’s ideal prospect?”

“Well, builders mostly or general contractors because he wants to get his cabling in the walls during builds.”

“And yours is?”

“We do work with builders or GCs, but usually I want to talk to their end client who is making the decision on my services.”

“What would happen if you sat down with, Dave and had an ‘ideal prospect’ conversation with him?”

“We’d both probably discover that we have different ideal prospects.”


“And then we could either figure out another way to work together or respectfully end this ‘alliance.'”

“What about Doug?”

“Because we ran into each other over and over in the same company’s lobby we probably have the same ideal prospect, but we didn’t specifically talk about that in our conversation and we definitely didn’t talk about the other items you mentioned.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I’ll call, Doug up and ask to sit down and review our strategic alliance ‘to make sure it’s working out for both of us.'”

“Sounds good. You may discover he wanted to have the same conversation, but didn’t know how do bring it up with you.”

Until next time… go sell something

Upcoming Sandler Free Webcast

13 Leadership Blind Spots

When: Friday August 24, 2018

Time: 9.15-9.45AM

As the leader of your business have you fallen into “blind spots syndrome” while trying to grow your team and profitability? (If your gut reaction was “no” the real answer is “yes”)

You’ve worked very, very hard to scale up your business, but you feel that something’s missing. That’s a sign you’ve got “blind spots syndrome.”

  • An overview of the 13 common leadership blind spots and how to tell whether you’ve fallen prey to them
  • Tips on how to mitigate specific blind spots to take your company from struggling or stable to best-in-class
  • 6 powerful leadership strategies to drive organizational excellence
  • The 4 leadership hats and your proper matrix

Having a better business starts with being a better leader. Join Hamish on August 24 to start that journey…..

Reserve your seat today

Free online event. Limited Seating.

BONUS: All attendees will receive a free chapter from The Road to Excellence.


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