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Where the Real Power Resides

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
June 9, 2010

Where does the real power reside in your dream client? Does the power reside with the C-suite? Does the real authority reside with the business unit owner? The answer is yes . . . sometimes. But sometimes the real power, the real influence lies with a decision-influencer who has absolutely no real authority.

A Better Relationship Than You Have

Your decision-influencer has probably worked for the “decision-maker” for years. During those years, the decision-influencer has developed a deep relationship with the decision-maker. They have learned how the decision-maker thinks. They have learned what the decision-maker values.

And during this time, they have learned how to work with and for the decision-maker. They have developed the trust that has allowed them to develop a better relationship with “the” authority than you presently have.

More Influence Than You Can Quickly or Easily Develop

Because they have developed this relationship, because they have been trusted with important tasks, and because they have built a track record of success in working with and for the decision-maker, they have developed a level of influence. They have, over the course of time, developed more influence than you can quickly or easily develop.

They have shown that they are always looking our for the decision-makers interest, looking around the corners that he may not be able to see around. They have controlled access to him, preventing him from being bogged down in things that aren’t worth his time. And, they have ensured that what is really important makes it to his desk and gets his full attention.

By working with and for the decision-maker, they have learned how to sell them. Chances are the decision-influencer knows how to sell their decision-maker better than you do.

The Ability To Get What They Want

When your decision-influencer has an interest in what you sell, their better relationship and greater ability to influence the decision-maker gives your decision-influencer the ability to get what they want.

Long after you are gone, your decision-influencer is at work selling “their” solution. They are often the first voice your decision-maker hears in the morning, and the last voice they hear before they leave at the end of their day. They are keeping dissenting views from reaching the decision-makers ears, filtering opinions in a way that prevents them from influencing the decision-maker. The decision-influencer works the internal politics.


Sometimes it is right to approach the C-suite. And sometimes it is more important to just get in. Truth be told, until you get in, you never really know where the real power and authority resides.


    1. How do you tell who has the real authority and decision-making power?

    1. Who has the most influence over “the” decision-maker?

    1. Is the person with the organizational chart and job description authority always the person you need to influence to win a deal?

  1. Which relationships could you develop that would allow you to have a group of advocates (with greater influence than you have) to work behind the scenes and on your behalf?

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Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 9, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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