Harnessing Critical Mass InfluenceArticle by Colleen Francis, February 16, 2022
Are you effectively harnessing Critical Mass Influence?
So far in this series on Right on the Money strategies that you must embrace in today’s changed marketplace, I’ve talked about how you—as a seller or a leader of sellers—must now do things differently than you’ve done in the past. I’ve explained how to get time-based branding working for you and that tackling your character now is a race between define or be defined.
Today, let’s talk about earning influence in the marketplace. You might be thinking that you already do this, but hang tight. The difference now is you must exercise influence in a much broader way. The stakes are higher in this highly competitive, inflation-fuelled market and so your scope of influence must increase to be successful.
Achieve it by engaging what I call Critical Mass Influence. That’s the vector of people who affect your ability to complete transactions within a tight timeframe daily.
A generation ago, sellers focused their efforts on a small group of buyers inside each account. That worked fine…until it didn’t! Granted, change didn’t happen overnight. Gradually, as businesses became more digital and people became mobile-connected, every person in your market began wielding power that was previously out of reach.
These changes have important consequences for sellers. We’ve long known that customers’ conversations and how they perceive you—rightly or wrongly—directly strengthen or impede your chances of securing a sale. But today, those conversations are happening with more people, across more channels…multiple times daily. And you need to influence them all, whether you like it or not!
4 Actionable Steps to Get Critical Mass Influence Working for You
There are four actionable steps you must take to get Critical Mass Influence working for you now in this permanently changed marketplace.
1. Do Talk to Strangers
Here’s good advice I once overheard at a marketing conference: Get inside the stories that are in your customer’s head. Do that by reaching out to the people that your customer listens to (e.g., on social media, industry associations, journalists, consultants, trade analysts). While they might feel like strangers to you, they’re on your customer’s radar. So, they matter.
A client of mine in the oil sector does that by spending a lot of time talking to Tesla officials and enthusiasts of electric self-driving vehicles. Why in the world would he do that? Because that’s what his customers do. And my client’s job is to gain a deeper understanding of what matters to them: including future trends in the marketplace.
2. Everywhere Is a Profit Center
Everyone today can be customer-attractive or customer-repulsive. And as I mentioned earlier, define or be defined is the nature of character now. You must leverage everything you and your colleagues post online—and do so in a positive way. Recognize that every time you do this, you’re broadening your brand further. You’re reaching new audiences and sharing purposeful information. Each part of your business becomes a profit center when you adopt this approach.
3. Get on the Inside Track
Get out of the mindset that you’re only dealing with one buyer. Smart sellers know the best way to connect with decision makers isn’t always in a short, straight line to the top. Instead, they reach out to all internal influencers inside their prospect’s accounts—connecting with all who have the ear of potential buyers. A client of mine spent years—years!—nurturing a great relationship with influencers (he affectionately called them his “spies”) within a targeted company. That eventually helped him close a very large piece of business. And it only happened because his “spies” eventually gave him direct access to the top decision maker within the organization.
4. Go Where You’re Known
Last but never least, there is this timeless advice that’s been tweaked for today’s digital marketplace: You must reinforce your contacts with existing buyers. But unlike before, today this entails more than just picking up the phone. Going where you’re known means connecting and sharing on social media. Remember: your existing customers will always be your top lead generators and your greatest advocates.
Yes, influence is everything and everywhere now. But the only way you can leverage this cold, hard truth is if you deliberately make Critical Mass Influence happen for yourself. So, get started now!
There’s one more in this four-part series of Right on the Money strategies you must embrace to adopt and adapt to today’s changed marketplace: you must harness the power of a marketplace that features multiple discrete perspectives. We’ll look at that in final installment in this series.