In a company, power is always shifting
It has been a while since I wrote about a strategic commercial topic: in the last weeks I choose to balance the type of contents on the website and focus more on tactical, managerial and personal development subjects.
Now that I wrote about the topics I had on hold and the the website is finally in balance I can come back to strategy and I’d like to start with power nodes.
However, in order to talk about power nodes I need to take a step back and address the concept of power first.
In sales we define power as the element which enables you to get the final yes or one of the yes that make up the final decision.
Since a decision is the sum of several decisions and therefore the final yes is the sum of several yes, it follows that there are different types of power and that these types of power are held by different people.
In other words and taking a practical example, economic power will belong to a certain person while the power to approve a technical project will belong to another person.
Similarly, the power to approve a particular contract term will belong to one professional while the power to extend the contract will belong to yet another person … and so on.
Many of the people who have the power to tell you the final yes or to give you their approval have collaborators (very often their first line) whom they trust to make the decision and who influence them…and that is where the power node lies.
The power node is the relationship, the bond that links those who hold power with those they trust and who help them to make the decision.
Unlike power (which changes less rapidly and with more ‘violence’ – for example, the Director with whom you were negotiating is replaced) the power node can change very rapidly because it’s influenced by so many factors that happen every day in the prospect company.
Furthermore you have no visibility and control over these factors.
In fact, the organization chart gives good indications of who holds formal power and where that person sits in the hierarchy but doesn’t give any information about the nodes of power, which are the spaces where decisions are made.
Very often those who have the formal authority to make the decision cannot make the decision without collaborating with those who have the resources at their disposal and it’s in this relationship that you’ll find your yes.
This is precisely why you should always keep track of how the nodes of power shift within the prospect company in order to be able to navigate them – your Champion can be helpful with this.