A frenemy is someone who befriends you so that you think he is a supporter. In reality, the frenemy is only acting the part and is truly working against you. Frenemies are extremely dangerous, because they lull you into a false sense of security that you are winning the sale, when they are really coordinating a plan to defeat you.
A well-wisher talks to you on an intimate, friendly basis. He provides information that you consider proprietary. However, the well-wisher is an extremely amiable person and is probably providing the same information to all the salespeople competing for the business.
Weak spies are observers who provide you information about the internal politics of the selection process. They report the thoughts of the various selection team members and keep you informed on the progress of other vendors.
Strong spies are not only observers, but also disseminators of information. They promote you and your solution to others within their company when you aren’t around. Strong spies have a deeper, more personal connection to you than weak spies do. They’re more akin to confidants than acquaintances.
Guides are trusted friends who will courageously defend you and your solution, since they have a vested interest in your winning. Guides can be considered best friends. Not only are they confidants who provide all the inside details about the internal politics of decision making, but they also help you plan and execute your strategy to win the business.
Guides are usually seasoned employees. They’ve worked at the company for quite some time and understand how to get things done. They have the business acumen and the experience to provide adept advice on how to win the deal and get the contract signed. Most importantly, after helping devise the wining game plan, they play an integral part in executing it.
The ideal coach is the person with the highest authority or influence involved in the selection process. When this person becomes your coach, you will enjoy a unique advantage.