Smart business requires you to connect and network. You have the choice to align with people who can help you, or people who won’t do much for you.
Surprisingly, many people in business spend way too much time with people who don’t or won’t help them. Then they wonder why things aren’t moving forward for them. They underestimate the significance and value of being around or doing business with influential people.
Who are the influential people you need? They are the customers who tell everyone they know how great you are. They are the vendors who will bend over backwards to satisfy your every need. They are the potential business partners who see the promise and worth of your product or service and want to join in, and they are the people who connect you to other influential people.
The most valuable influential person has the attention of the audience you are trying to connect with.
See the value? Influential people don’t just walk in the door. Well, sometimes they do, but are you taking advantage of the opportunity? Are you creating the opening to meet, do business with or help an influential person?
Here are 7 tips that will forge a long-term relationship with an influential person.
- Know what the influential person looks like. Don’t just grab someone because they have celebrity status. You need to understand what your intention is. What does your business need? What do you want to accomplish? What’s critical for you to get ahead or make things happen? Once you have a handle on who that specific influential person is for you, then you can make your move.
- Do your homework. Observing and studying your target is essential. Know their habits, attitudes and interests. What makes them tick? What’s their business model? How can you help them? What can you offer that they will find attractive or indispensable for what they want?
- Be on top of your game. Be authentic and sincere. Influential people spot phoniness and fraud a mile away. Be able to articulate your message, ideas or partnership thoughts.
- Keep initial contact brief. Three page emails will get you blocked. Rather, sum up what you want to convey in a few sentences. End with a call to action, such as asking them when a good time would be to call, inviting them to respond to a question about their business, or sharing a story of something you have in common.
- Personal is best. Don’t be afraid to share who you are. Tell a story that hits their emotions. Be who you are. Influential people know and understand that you are trying to get in front of them. The truly influential person respects and appreciates honesty and sincerity. If you name drop or brag on yourself, you’ve lost them.
- Be patience and persistent. When you reach out and don’t get an answer in the time frame you expect, sit tight. Influential people are busy. Don’t feel that you are being ignored; give them the benefit of the doubt. They’re human, too. Send another email, or better yet, a handwritten note. Persistence is seen as a commitment to building the relationship. Sometimes, influential people will test your resolve.
- ASK! Why is it that so many people neglect this so-simple-it’s-absurd practice? Because they don’t see themselves as worthy. They have a sense that they could never persuade or win over someone. You need to get out there and practice asking. Start with people who you think will say yes if you need to build your confidence. Then go from there.
The worst thing you can do in trying to connect with an influential person is talk yourself out of it. Stop doubting yourself and believe you have what it takes. Don’t give in to fear.
After all, the influential person puts his or her pants on one leg at a time – just like you and me.
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