Is your sales or marketing failing to generate the results your business expects?
Remember when you were a child and sought permission from one of your parents, only to have them respond: “Go ask your father (or mother)?” You learned to separately sell both, or first win over the one that influences the final decision maker.
In every selling situation there are direct and indirect influencers. Tweet this.
Our job as sales and marketing professionals is to identify and understand this extended audience, and then respond to their influence with our primary decision makers.
The Circles of Influence Exercise
A useful exercise for understanding your audience influencers starts by drawing a circle on a sheet of paper and placing your business (or business role) within it. Then draw a circle around that and within it write down the various classes of buyers your business serves.
Draw another circle around that one and put in it the influencers of your primary buyers. This could include bosses, colleagues, competitors, friends, family, etc. Around that circle write down the products and services your company offers.
You should start to get new ideas on how your offerings could be better positioned. You may also get ideas for changes to existing products and services, and even ideas for new ones. For example, if your primary buyer is conservative in regards to technology, isn’t it possible their influencers are encouraging them to adapt to it?
Isn’t it also possible these influencers are his or her children, whose names and whereabouts you’ve long since forgotten?
The takeaway from this exercise is that people are often influenced by the people around them, especially those they encounter every day. Smart businesses know this, but even the best of us occasionally fail to consider it.
Make it part of your process.
Acknowledge, Involve, and Help Audience Influencers
In my business as a professional speaker my primary audience is the meeting planner of the association or organization that hires me. However, it is their audience that I am ultimately serving. So, I have to learn as much as possible about them to ensure my presentation or workshop is a success.
These days you can use social media to do research and engage with buyers and influencers alike. In fact, if your business is having trouble connecting with buyers, a reliable method for making that happen is to involve the influencers that can introduce you to them.
To earn their trust, use your media to learn about the problems audience influencers may have. For example, while I help businesses with their content marketing and social media, I know for a fact that many of them have children that need the same help – building their personal media brand to help them get into college or land a new job.
That was my insight after doing this exercise. Now I’m working to determine specifically what to do about it. How about you?
Do you think helping the people that your customers want to help is smart business? Me too.
About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.