Create a Circle of Influence

We meet many people in the course of our careers. Some we will get to 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 so very 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, we will see today that not only is developing such relationships possible, but that such relationships with influential people can be developed without greed or manipulation.

If developing a ‘center of influence’ relationship sounds good to you, and you want to develop it using win-win methods, today’s article is just for you!

Create a ‘Center of Influence’

Let’s begin with a short quiz. One question. No pressure.

What is the best type of advertising?

When asked this question many people answer “the kind that works!” While no one can disagree with that, 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 advertising.

Here’s why.

When one person tells another person about your product or service, the very fact that they are speaking about you constitutes an endorsement. While people might not trust advertising (in fact, they don’t) they do trust people.

If Jane feels strongly enough about what you do to tell Jim, Jim will take notice even if Jane gets the facts wrong. When Jane tells 15 or 20 Jims, she has become a center of influence.

This is exactly why no serious marketer can afford to overlook social networking for long. Social networking is the perfect place to begin developing relationships – in fact, it’s all about relationships! Unlike paid advertising, digital marketing for restaurants, or article marketing, social sites like Twitter, Facebook and more 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.

It’s done in three steps. Let’s look at each step.

1. Recognition

In order to become a true center of influence, a person needs to be in regular contact with the type of people who can benefit from what you do. This begs a critical question. Do you know what your ideal prospect looks like? Once you know, do this.

  • List the type of clients that you would like to have more of. List what makes them an ideal client for you (they need what you do, they are open to change, etc.)
  • Find common characteristics. Do these super clients go to the symphony, play golf, visit certain web sites, participate in online forums? As much as you can, be where they are.
  • Get to know them on their turf. Let them see you at events they attend. Volunteer to help their favorite charity. Make yourself visible. Before people will buy and recommend us, they need to get to know and TRUST us.

2. Development

This is NOT manipulation, but education. Have you ever had someone you know buy what you sell from a competitor because they just didn’t know YOU sold it? We are not at the top of people’s minds. They have kids, mortgages, college to pay for, as well as work pressures, just like you do.

We need to position ourselves at the top of their minds by being in constant contact. We have so many tools at our disposal for this purpose. Here are three to start with.

  • Send them an email once a month to announce something new in your business.
  • Phone them to say hello and announce your next big event. Ask them 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. Have you written a new article or been in the newspaper? Write a brief note and send it along. Notes take time, which shows that you value this relationship.

3. Reward

No, I am NOT talking about only money here. This relationship goes much deeper than that. What I am saying is that, while you are getting to know them better and educating them about what you do, take the time to LISTEN to their needs.

When you can meet one of their needs, do it immediately, even if there is no immediate return for you. This person is important to your business. Don’t TELL them, SHOW them how important they are. If this relationship does not include reciprocity, it will degenerate into a ‘what’s in it for me’ situation that will not stand the test of time.

Please understand that these relationships with influential people 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!

 

Click here to return to the Driving Traffic Quick Course

Charlie Page
 

Happily married for 44 years, Charlie is the dad to two wonderful daughters. He is the author of 12 books on Internet marketing and creator of over 16 membership sites. You can see all Charlie offers using this link Click Here

  • Mark Mansfield says:

    That is rite Charlie. The more of your posts I read the more I understand about “IM” I even know that “IM” stands for Internet Marketing. Thanks Mark M

  • […] The bottom line for your customer is “What’s in it for me?” […]

  • […] The bottom line for your customer is “What’s in it for me?” […]

  • Njero says:

    Well spoken. We need to build trust!

  • James Blackstone says:

    Touche on social media.I recently wrote an article on this very subject.

    I found that large twitter followers are not as responsive as smaller well targeted and well groomed lists that don’t see a lot of spam.

    I have a very small twitter followers list of about 90 followers. When I tallied up their followers it totaled more than 200,000. I was shocked. Now when Anyone follows me on that account I make sure to follow them back and also engage them in a meaningful conversation. I re-tweet their links only after I visit their links and review their media.

    Then when I interact with them they know I’m the real deal

    • Charlie Page says:

      The longer I work online the more I realize it’s not about raw numbers – it’s about relationships. When I wrote How to Make Big Profits from a Small Mailing List I was trying to share these exact ideas. Good for you focusing on quality. It makes the Web better for us all.

  • Tim Pond says:

    Hey Charlie,
    thank you for another superb article.
    Building synergistic network is crucial.
    When you’re trying to get JV partners/affiliates to promote your product, tune in the “WII-FM” (What’s In It For Them) channel REAL hard.
    My best,
    Tim

  • gabriel daalmans says:

    Hello Charlie,

    Thank you for a very useful and honest traffic course. There is no guarantee for big traffic streams and conversions with paid methods as well as with free methods. It is trial and error; one has to play the game to winn the game. Without action you are a loser for sure.

    Regards
    Gabriel

  • Nicholas Wind says:

    Great post Charlie.

    I am not naturally a people person but have become one out of necessity.
    The old model Amway business from 80’s and 90’s helped me become better at caring about folks.

    I am also like you full time at home as of 6 months ago through hard work.
    Here is a nugget for new folks.POSTING PROPERLY in forums to add value for others who are struggling is a must and it’s been a very good way to make friends and now leads for me.

    This takes patience but it works.Also blog commenting if you blog.I have 2 blogs.
    That’s only one way I market.I post 2-3x on 2-3 forums in my niche which is simple marketing online.
    Don’t get stuck in the forums just positive ,friendly.helpful posts.

    I see folks come in and whine about how hard this IM thing is and I make no money and….etc.
    That’s not attracting anything good or making friends.
    Lastly one thing we teach also is go learn something simple ,apply it and teach it.Doe not matter how long it takes to learn but share it as if you are teaching a new person.

  • Nancy Meadows says:

    Charlie, you are so good. All of the information you so generously share is always of great value. As a DOE member I am looking forward to weekly calls with you. I need a plan, a step by step path towards having online success.

    I look forward to speaking with you in the New Year.

    The happiest of holidays for you and your family.

    Sincerely,
    Nancy Meadows

  • Mary Elliot says:

    Hi Charlie,

    Wise words, as usual – it’s often too easy to say ‘ I just haven’t time to…..’ ( I nearly didn’t post this comment!) especially if you’re a newbie and everything takes you so long! However, it’s vital to take time to get to know people and help them where possible, not just to benefit, but because helping people should be part of everyone’s agenda.

    It’s also a great boost to realize that you have reached a stage where you actually know (a tiny bit) more than someone else!

    Mary

  • Karey Tonnesen says:

    Hello Charlie !
    Thank you so muich for your informative introduction to your great educational product offers, some of us struggeling marketers may need to increase traffic and sales to our sites.
    As a life time member of your DOE and your awsom Follow upp coaching course I have indeed benefitted tremendesly from my membership and your
    one on one caring communication with me, thank you very much Charlie !.
    All the Best Karey

  • Charles Kaluwasha says:

    Hi Charlie,
    Knowing people of influence is a great asset to our businesses.
    Attending functions in our communities and support some projects can help establish good relationships and keeping in touch with friend and even strangers we may come across whether on the bus,train and plane may have a greater impact on our future relationships.
    This has been an excellent article which many of us do not utilize. A word of mouth spreads like wild fire.

    As always, I do enjoy reading your articles and they are useful to me as a newbie. Thank you for being an example to me!

    Charles

  • Hans Peter Spadin says:

    I just had finished reading a newsletter containing an article “Advertising your business by word of mouth” by Jeffrey Hauser when my in-box popped up with a message from my DOE lifetime membership and I received your latest article, Charlie. What a contrast! While the other article focuses more on the dangers that word of mouth can do and how it may do harm to one’s reputation if “bad” news are spread, yours focuses on the benefits of WOM for entrepreneurs and you present your topic from the standpoint of somebody who speaks from experience and knows what it takes to avail one’s self of the great benefits that word of mouth advertising can and does bring to any business.

    Word of mouth is truly the most powerful and free way to increase anyone’s business if it is used honestly. Every restaurant owner, fashion store, hairdresser, bookstore, plumber and contractor largely depend on keeping their current customers satisfied and getting not only new job orders but also new customers through their referrals, referrals that come in through the power of word of mouth.

    From my own experience as a financial adviser at the sales front I know the power that word of mouth has to generate new prospects, leads and sales. If you just closed a deal you want to maintain the momentum and so you ask for some referrals from your new customers, which ideally will note a view names with contact info you can follow up with. This is simply done by asking “Do you have a friend of whom you think that he might also be interested to learn more about the services you just purchased through me. And of course, you would tell your new customers to spread the word about your services and their experience with it. No matter what you’re selling, if it’s real estate, stocks, insurance, cars, hardware, electronics or even information products, if you truly care for your customers well being in such a way as they become aware of this fact, then, you have already countless “circles of influence” you only need take heed of and be kind and treat them as a friend…

    Just think what it could do to your business when the word of mouth goes public, for example when a journalist secretly visits a small new restaurant and afterward writes and publishes an article in a reputable magazine wherein he is featuring the restaurant and tells the readers about his good experience there, wouldn’t that be helpful for your progress? Indeed, a good word of mouth comes close to an actual endorsement and it is very effective when the word spreads from someone who is a “circle of influence”.

    Charlie, I enjoyed reading your article and how you demonstrate and point out how important it is to be honest in business and what the outcome of such an attitude looks like. Something that is hardly to be found in an internet marketing world where many are hypnotized by the greed for fast money without truly caring for the people who buy something from them online. Thus, it becomes clear that word of mouth cannot at the same time bring forth both, “good” and “bad” fruits, but “the tree is known by its fruits” and if the beginning is right, so will be the ending.

    “Whatever a man sowed, that shall he reap also”…, that is, if the business and service is honest, word of mouth will certainly find a way into the “circles of influence” and from there let your business grow until your business becomes a circle of influence.

    We usually think of people or persons as “these” are the circles of influence, but that’s not necessary true. The old saying “it doesn’t matter what you know but WHO you know” doesn’t reveal the whole truth at the surface. Only if one understands what constitutes the “WHO”, or “how” it (he or she) became so adorable, we can truly speak of honesty. Therefore, it is essential to understand the idea that is behind the “WHO” and what makes it going on, in order to be both beneficial first and benefitted second after entering that circle of influence.

    The truth is that it is always an idea these great people represent and for which prosperity they work day and night. It is their love and consecration to the well being of that idea which causes them to prosper, to build and maintain a long term successful business. To such a business, there’s nothing better than word of mouth which comes from satisfied customers or other circles of influence who can attest to the sincerity of the business and its representative. If we can connect with others in such a way, then the bond will be strong and it will certainly help to increase our business. Thank you Charlie, for presenting your inspiring article.

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