Monday, September 24, 2012

Create A Circle Of Influence

We meet many people in the course of our careers. We will get to some know casually, while others will become close friends and trusted allies. Then there are those I call 'centers of influence.'
These 'centers of influence' people are like the hub of a giant wheel. As you look back, you can see where many good things, things like contacts, sales and help just when you needed it most, have come from this one person.
Wouldn't it be great if you could know that a person was to become a 'center of influence' in your life *before* it happened?
Here's the good news... you can!!
In fact, not only is developing such relationships possible, but they can be developed without greed or manipulation.
If developing a 'center of influence' relationship using win-win methods sounds good to you, read on!
Create a 'Center of Influence'
Let's begin with a short quiz. One question. No pressure.
What is the best type of advertising?
I submit that the BEST type of advertising is the one that is most overlooked.
I'm talking about word of mouth advertising.
While targeted email, banner ads, billboard ads, and even television ads all have their place, nothing compares to the power of word of mouth.
When a person tells another about your product or service, the fact that they are speaking about you constitutes an endorsement. While people might not trust advertising (in fact, they don't) they do other trust people.
That's why no serious marketer can afford to overlook social networking for long. It is the perfect place to begin developing relationships - in fact, it's all about relationships! Unlike paid advertising or article marketing, social sites like Twitter and Facebook encourage dialog, not the usual sales letter monologue.
How can we develop a powerful word of mouth advertising campaign in our businesses?
By recognizing, developing and rewarding those people who can become a 'center of influence' in our lives.
Let's look at the steps it takes.
1. Recognition
You need to be in regular contact with the type of people who can benefit from what you do.
Do you know what your ideal prospect looks like? If so...
  • List the type of clients that you would like to have more of. List what makes them an ideal client for you
  • Find common characteristics. Put yourself in the position to meet those people.
  • Get to know them on their turf. Before people will buy and recommend us, they need to get to know and TRUST us.
2. Development
Has someone you know ever bought from your competitor, just because they didn't know YOU sold it? We are not at the front of people's minds. They have kids, mortgages, college funds, and work pressures, just like you do.
We must position ourselves at the front of their minds by being in constant contact. We have many tools for this purpose. Like these...
  • Send them an email once a month, announcing something new in your business.
  • Phone them to say hello and announce your next big event. Ask how they are first, and keep notes so you have a point of contact for the next call.
  • A personal note works very well for developing this type of relationship. Write a brief note and send it along. Notes take time, which shows that you value the relationship.
3. Reward
This relationship goes much deeper than just money. While you are getting to know them better and educating them about what you do, take the time to LISTEN to their needs.
If you can meet one of their needs, do it immediately, even if there isn't an instant return for you. This person is important to your business, so SHOW them how important they are.
Please understand that these relationships must be open and honest in order to work. People like to help other people, especially those they know and trust.
Develop that trust relationship with people who are well positioned to help you. You must earn their referrals.
When you do, your marketing will become supercharged with what is clearly the best form of advertising... positive word of mouth.
And that is a beautiful thing indeed!

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