The Trojan Horse

Most of you know the history of the proverbial Trojan Horse.  Legend has it that the Greeks, who were having trouble sacking Troy, built a giant wooden horse, filled it with 30 men, and left it at the gates.  The Trojans pulled the horse into the walled city, and under the cover of darkness, the concealed men opened the gates to the remaining Greek army, and the Trojans were destroyed.

The term “trojan horse” is now a part of our everyday vocabulary, and is often used to convey a sneak attack. In the world of computers, a trojan horse can refer to a virus that is masked as a legitimate looking piece of software, but in reality has a malicious intent.

In the context of sales, however, the term has a much less nefarious meaning.  The trojan horse can be a useful strategy in penetrating a heavily defended competitive account.  Instead of a full frontal attack, find a dark corner (translation: business unit, subsidiary, or department), flawlessly execute, and watch what happens over time.  The incumbent (your enemy)  won’t feel threatened, or better yet, might not even know that you’re there.

And if you play your cards right, that seed you planted will grow, and before your competition knows what’s going on, you’ll be challenging them for the customer’s family jewels.  It takes patience, creativity, and perseverance, but using the Trojan Horse might just pay off…if you’re willing to work for it.

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