But…How Can You Build Influence?
How can you turn that influence from an intangible asset into cash?
Most think you have to practice some sort of sleazy sales tactics, but that could not be farther from the truth. Influence comes from being committed to providing value. It develops over time. You can’t fake it and if you do, it will come across and your business will suffer.
One of the best ways to build influence is by providing a solution to your customer’s problem.
Fix their problem and they look to you as an authority. Take away their fear and they’ll be grateful. Which in turn, will result in referrals and positive word-of-mouth advertising for you.
At the end of this article is a great resource to learn more about the psychology behind this marketing strategy.
Here are 3 ways how to wield the power of influence…
Building Your Network of Contacts
Your contacts are everything. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a high-end consultant, a Fortune 500 CEO or a programmer looking for a job, your contacts are everything.
Be active about cultivating your network. Go to “minglers”, seminars, and other such events in your area and get to know the players in the industry.
Seek to build real relationships. It’s not about building acquaintances, but building real friendships with people.
Help Others First
What good will come of having lunch with someone you met to help them with their business? Quite possibly nothing. But it’s also quite possible that he or she will know someone who can help you in your business, and their glowing testimonial for your character is just what you need to get your foot in the door.
The business community is a cycle of give and take. Those who are generous about sharing their ideas, their time and their contacts often find the same kindness returned.
Be the person who helps others in your community. You might not see the benefits right away, but the goodwill you build up will come back to help you.
Sell Without Selling
Many people feel that selling damages their relationships and weakens relationships. When done properly, however, selling can do just the opposite.
If you view selling as trying to force someone into a decision on something they either don’t want or aren’t sure they want, then selling will indeed damage the relationship.
However, if selling is done right, it should be a match of win-win situations. A consultant “sells” a client on being able to help them solve a problem. As a result, they both make more money. Or a headhunter sells his services to a CEO and helps him get his ideal job.
The list goes on and on. If what the seller is offering and what the buyer wants are a match, then the sales process is easy and actually strengthens the relationship.
A good sales process should be more about discovering what the other person wants and creating a tailor-fitted product or service for them, than trying old-fashioned hard-closing techniques.
This is especially true if you want to build your influence and bring in more sales in the future. Build a reputation for helping people, not taking their money. Do this consistently, and your reputation and influence will build accordingly and, as a result, you will increase sales.
To learn more about the fundamentals of the power of influence read Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In it he discusses how understanding 6 principles can help you build a strong relationship with your customers and increase your sales.
Your success is my business!