Take a look at your sales pipeline. Chances are you have a collection of clients stuck in the consideration and decision stages, or what we at Finka Inc. like to call engagement and invitation stages. You may stare at your pipeline and the contacts in these stages and think, “What will it take for them to budge?” Well, you may need to grease your pipeline with an influence strategy. By understanding what influence is and mapping out a detailed plan of how to use it in your sales conversations, you can more effectively put yourself in your clients’ shoes, listen to what they truly need, and present value that matters most to them. Continue reading to learn how to increase your influence and design your strategy with three influence amplifiers.
What is an Influence Strategy?
Before we discuss what an influence strategy is, you first need to understand what influence is. According to Merriam-Webster, in relation to modern practices, influence is “the power to change or affect someone or something—especially the power to cause changes without directly forcing those changes to happen.”
While strategy may feel like a daunting buzzword, it just means a detailed plan. Therefore, an influence strategy is a detailed and thought-out plan of how you’ll be more influential in your sales process and conversations.
To get an entire, step-by-step influence strategy template, download the free Amplify Your Influence Guidebook.
1. Connect to Value
One of the first influence amplifiers you should integrate into your influence strategy is connect to value. What does this mean? It simply means focusing on the benefits and positive outcomes your client will receive from your offer.
According to the Transformational Selling Podcast, episode 126, “as a transformational seller, you are focused not only on the problems that they’re experiencing, which are the short-term fixes, but we are also diving into a deeper conversation to uncover the goals that they have, the values they’re looking to live up to, and the dreams, aspirations, and visions they’re looking to fulfill. That is ultimately what we’re here to facilitate for our clients.”
So, those dreams, aspirations, and visions? Play on them.
How? By using the “so that” statement. I recommend practicing this statement before adding it to your conversations by writing your business’ statement in a document or on piece of paper, or even just saying it out loud.
For example, let’s look at Transformational Sales Leader, an offer that aids corporate leaders in the sales and finance industries in strengthening their coaching skills. Here’s how I’d write my “so that” statement:
“Transformational Sales Leader helps them have more effective coaching conversations so that leaders can elevate performance and sales results. This coaching skills program helps their team have better customer conversations so that they can increase their net promoter scores and are the voice of customer results.”
You can have your own idea of your offer’s benefits in mind, but in your client conversations, actively listen to their pains and replace what you’ve written with benefits that specifically speak to their obstacles.
When you tailor your “so that” statement to each client’s pain points, your influence will increase tenfold.
2. Use Social Proof
Social proof is an ideology that started all the way back in 1984 from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. It’s essentially a term to describe the psychological pattern of people following what others do. For example, if Anne Patchett’s latest novel has over 300 reviews on Goodreads with an average rating of four stars, other readers will be influenced to buy the book and read it themselves, as they see that 300 other fellow bookworms have enjoyed the book.
Depending on which niche your business is in, social proof will look different. If you’re an author, a book review is social proof. As an entrepreneur or financial advisor, you could showcase client testimonials, convincing whitepapers, or articles with informative data and statistics.
However, the queen of social proof (and marketing and sales) will always be word of mouth. It’s responsible for 20-50% of buying decisions.
By using social proof that tells a story or highlights data that aligns with your customer’s pain points, you’re sure to have strong influence in their decision-making process.
3. Request Help, Ask for Advice
You may read this final influence amplifier and think, “What do you mean ask for help and advice? I’m supposed to be the credible expert.”
And you 100% are. But remember, always make your client the hero. It may feel weird at first, so you can practice this in non-sales conversations too. When you request help or ask for someone’s advice, you turn the table and make them feel important and included. You make them feel like the expert, sparking their confidence and engagement.
Asking for your client’s advice also shows that you value their thoughts and feelings, making them feel acknowledged and helping them to see that they’re not just another transaction to you.
However, don’t confuse advice with opinions. You never want to ask for someone’s opinion because opinions bring more weight and our egos into the conversation.
It's Time to Spread Your Influence Wings
Think of using a sales strategy as being a caterpillar—you have many limbs and avenues of opportunity, and you’re able to conquer many leaves. But when you marry a sales strategy with an influence strategy, you’ll grow wings and be able to cover even more land and reach more clients. Sure, it will take some time to perfect your influence strategy as you sit tight in your cocoon, but once you’re confident with your plan and break free to implement it, it will be worth it. You’ll be influential in every conversation.
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This book offers you eight habits that will help you:
- Unlock the power of Your Brilliant Difference
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• Feel authentic and aligned to your values every time you sell
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I can’t wait to hear from you and the stories you’ll share because you’ve chosen to become a Transformational Seller!