Influence is a key part of sales and marketing. One of the most important jobs of marketing and sales is to influence the customer to buy your product. This is true whether you’re planning a marketing campaign or working the phone with a customer.
Because influence is so important, there is an implied third party or parties in all your interactions. That third party is the influencer, often more than one. The influencer helps the prospect make up his or her mind about your product or service. Influencers include friends, family and social media contacts. In fact just about anyone who has any kind of contact with the prospect is likely to be an influencer.
Of course influencers include marketing people, sales staff and others who are paid to influence the prospect. The question then, is how do you build influence with your prospect?
Influence starts with exposure. The more the prospect is exposed to your product or service, the more likely he or she is to have a positive view of the product and to act on that view.
This leads to the all-important concept of mind share. As a potential influencer your first job is to expose the prospect to the positive view of your product.
There are many channels, both direct and indirect, to build mind share in your prospects. They include paid and non-paid mentions on the web and social media. Blogs, web pages, and conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites are all important online channels for getting your product noticed.
You need a plan to figure out how to manage this flow of information and that plan becomes the basis of your marketing and sales efforts. You need to decide what your message(s) are going to be, how often to present them and where to present them. Generally you will want to use several channels, paid and non-paid, to get several closely related messages across.
Repetition builds mind share, but mindless repetition turns prospects off. Repetition is like chili powder. It’s important not to overuse it.
Of course you want your messages to be consistent. You need two or three basic concepts which you are trying to get across to your audience.
You want your blogs and web pages to back up your message; to expand on it and provide more detail – as well as calls to action. Again, all this should be carefully coordinated.
The next thing you need to do to cement your role as an influencer is to build a relationship with your audience. Trust is the most important characteristic of that relationship. If your audience sees you as someone who can be trusted, your influence grows proportionally.
Building trust is the most delicate part of being a successful influencer. It takes work and a misstep can cost you everything you’ve worked to build up.
It’s important that your audience see you as fair-minded. Everyone knows you’re selling a product, but you can’t be Johnny one-note. Disparaging competitors is a bad strategy. Honesty is critical to this relationship – both about your own and your competitors’ products.
Of course not all your efforts as an influencer is directed at your prospects. You also need to influence other people who have influence on your prospects. Word of mouth is one of the most important forms of influence. If the people around the prospect express favorable opinions about you it will have and important impact on your would-be customer.
Marketing is different in this age of the internet and influencers. It is no longer the one-way street it was 20 or 30 years ago. Today marketing and sales is a multi-part conversation between you, your customers and assorted influencers. The goal remains the same but the tactics and approach have to change.
About the Author
Rick Cook has been involved with computers since the days of punched cards and magnetic drum memories. He has written hundreds of articles on computers and related technology as well as a series of fantasy novels full of bad computer jokes.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 23, 2017 at 05:09PM