Influence is what everyone wants. Whether you want to get a raise, get a date, get an investor or get elected: you’ve got to have influence.
According to Daniel Pink, To Sell is Human (a great book, highly recommended – check it out). But what Pink describes as “selling” in the new economy is really all about influence.
If you are interested in influencing others, as a business leader, sales manager or business development executive, this post is for you. Today, selling anything – your ideas, your products, your company – requires a new focus on what influence really means.
How do you know if you really have influence?
Influence begins with your story – the message that you are sending out online, and in person.
For example, ask yourself these questions:
What’s keeping you from having real influence?
Influence is the centerpiece of effective sales. Instead of selling to people, consider that it is your job to teach them how to buy – how to buy your ideas, your suggestions, your initiatives. The old-school sales pitch doesn’t pack a lot of influence, but a great story always does.
Your story is the key to influence, whether you tweet it or tell it. Social media means that information is readily available – information about you, your products and your competitors. Google is the great equalizer. So, how can you differentiate yourself? How can you create a (wait for it.. ok, here it is:) NEW elevator pitch – a message that fits for the digital age?
When you teach others how your ideas can create a new way of looking at the future, you begin to persuade (if your story is concise). You position your solution – and yourself – as a trusted advisor. In a word, you have influence.
In order to influence, step 1 is: Stop Selling. That’s right: you have to stop selling, and begin focusing on your listener. What information, if known by your audience, would change indifference to action?