How to create an effective sphere of influence

If you find yourself ignoring the role spheres of influence (SOI) plays in your marketing plan, you could be jeopardising the success of your business.

What is your sphere of influence?

Your sphere of influence is any entity or person that can sway the decision of your prospective client. Let’s use the auto industry as an example:

In the auto industry, all of the following would be considered spheres of influence. As although none of these people are the end-customer, they have an inordinate amount of power to influence the decision of your customer:

  • Auto Magazines/Auto Writers: The magazines and their writers can glorify or vilify your car
  • Consumer Advocates: Consumer advocates can bless, or curse, your new vehicle.
  • The Insurance Industry: The insurance industry can place your car in a high risk/high premium, or low risk/low premium category.
  • The salespeople on the dealer’s showroom floor: The salespeople on the showroom floor can have incredibly high, or phenomenally low, enthusiasm for the car.

So as you can see, a large part of the success of your business is actually determined by other people’s options and regard for your product or company.

Who is in your sphere of influence?

If you’re an executive director, business owner or senior manager you probably have a long list of past and present clients, influential people within your industry, organizations and suppliers that you keep in your head, if it’s not formally documented. But are you really leveraging it to your full advantage?

By constantly engaging with your current spheres of influence—and constantly updating your list—you will cement relationships while increasing your industry credibility and have a bigger impact with less time and money invested.

How to use your sphere of influence?

If you believe as I do that people genuinely want to help other people and at the same time build their credibility with their friends and associates, then you’ll also understand how important it is to be constantly implementing the following:

  1. The education of your SOI about what you do and the type of clients you are interested in.
  2. Keeping your SOI informed of any changes in your business or new items of interest so they can sound more knowledgeable about your company when describing it to potential clients
  3. Remind them constantly that your business is built on referrals.
  4. Reward them in some manner for their referrals.

Remember it’s important that to help your SOI, you need a firm grasp on the type of client or customer you are looking for.

If you are unclear about which customers you’re targeting ask yourself these questions:

  • What characteristics do most of the clients tend to have?
  • What industry, demographic or geographic characteristics do my potential clients have?
  • How will my sphere of influence identify potential clients?

Once you’ve identified who your ideal customers are you can begin to utilise the contacts and knowledge of your sphere of influence to refer clients to your business.

As new clients come into your business your sphere of influence will only continue to grow and keep reaping benefits.

Ignoring your sphere of influence will not only damage your reputation but also your balance sheet, so start networking today!

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