Influence is about creating a shift: in people, behaviour and mindsets.
Influence can make the difference between achieving results or falling short, persuading clients or losing them, and winning that pitch or not. Even in our personal lives our ability to influence can determine our own wellbeing and happiness.
No matter what you do, influence is the key to your personal and professional success. So how can you harness epic influence? Here are five super secrets.
Know what you can’t influence
Every year Time magazine publishes a list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Beyoncé is on the 2014 cover as the most influential person on the planet, after selling out world tours and shocking the music world by releasing a secret album via social media.
Interestingly, last year Beyoncé tried to pull some unflattering photos of her 2013 Super Bowl performance, but with no luck. To be an epic influencer, know what you can and can’t influence, even if you are the most influential person on the planet.
Context is king
One of the most successful businesses on the planet sells plastic containers via home parties. Around the world a Tupperware party starts every 2.3 seconds. Buying a plastic container in the context of a home party and seeing it as part of a complete family lifestyle creates powerful contextual triggers that influence purchase.
You may not always be able to control the context when you have sales meetings in your client’s office, or even at a coffee shop. But you can do what thought leader Peter Cook suggests: be clean with setting up the context. Don’t send an invitation for coffee, then try to use the meeting to sell something. Epic influencers are upfront. Create and label the context and say “I would love to meet with you to discuss X which I think would add Y value to your business. How are you placed next week for a 30-minute meeting?” Context is king when it comes to influence, so control or clean up your context.
Give before you take
In his seminal book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Professor Robert Cialdini outlines the law of reciprocity: if you give people something, they feel compelled to return the favour.
What can you give your clients of value right now that would benefit them, without expecting anything in return? The internet has made this generosity mindset both easy and possible. People love a quality free e-book, a report on industry trends, a preview chapter from your next book, or a short video sharing fresh insights. In order to trigger the power of reciprocity, you have to give high-value, quality content that is relevant and timely for your audience, without expecting anything in return.
Don’t run in the rain
Samurais in Japan operate from a deep place of calm, even when it’s raining. Instead of dodging and ducking under eaves like everyone else and messing with umbrellas, they choose to calmly stride through the rain. The rain is a metaphor for life with all its busyness, meetings, overflowing inboxes, multiple projects, pressing deadlines and the demands of work and life.
Like samurais, epic influencers always operate from a place of deep calm, striding through the rain of life.
Good versus evil
Google, the world-famous search engine, has as its ethos ‘Do no evil’. It is a mindset every epic influencer needs to adopt. In sharp contrast the 2013 movie The Wolf of Wall Street depicts stockbroker Jordan Belfort (the wolf) ordering his salespeople to “Get on the phone and don’t hang up until the customer buys or dies.” It’s definitely not the way to create long-lasting, sustainable influence. In life we have two choices: to be influenced, or to be an influencer. But we have to make our choice for the right reason. The best influencers are authentic people who want to make people’s lives better. Truly epic influencers use their influence for good.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a music star, an innovation guru or a salesperson. Epic influencers know what they want to achieve, and they generally improve people’s lives in the process of reaching their dreams. And now you have the five super secrets to do the same.