Got Influence?

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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:

  • Do you live up to your avatar?
  • Does your URL match up with IRL?

What’s keeping you from having real influence?

Corporate MeetingInfluence 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?

If your words inspire action, then you’ve got influence.

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