Without the ability to influence people, you don’t have any potential to create a sustainable business.
Without the ability to influence people you don’t have any potential to create a sustainable business. If you can’t influence your suppliers to give you product at a better rate your competitors will out price you, if you can’t influence your potential customers to change who they usually deal with to you instead, your business won’t grow. If you can’t influence your staff to make better decisions your business will never become more efficient.
Influence is a major contributor to success
The above reasons and I’m sure others, is why your ability to influence is a major contributor to your success. Many people lack influence, you might find that you can never convince people to change what they do even though you have a great product or idea. Some people have said to me that influence is just another word for manipulation. So let me differentiate the two for you, the difference between manipulation and influence is intent. If your intent is good, and what you have to offer is of benefit to the person then it’s influence, if it’s just of benefit to you, then it’s manipulation and people that manipulate other people and focus on just themselves don’t stay in business very long.
The two components that make up your ability to be influential.
To be highly influential you need to generate both high levels of curiosity and credibility. It is this duet of ingredients that create influence. It’s like if you took a hot chocolate, it’s made up of two ingredients, one is milk, the other is cocoa. Hot milk by itself is not that appetising, you’d drink it if it was the only thing available and you were cold but you wouldn’t really enjoy it. The other ingredient being cocoa, when you have a teaspoon of that by itself it’s really just a powdery substance that sticks to the roof of your mouth and gives you no enjoyment. But combine the two and you have an all-time favorite drink loved by the masses.
Generating curiosity means to give someone a strong desire to know or learn something, they may have seen your advertisement that has told them about people you have helped and in doing so you have made your potential customer curious about what it was that you did and how it helped them. Maybe you have been incredibly successful in something like winning a national sustainability award and people are now curious about how you managed to achieve that fantastic award and the benefits it has given you. It is this interest in you, your products and your services that is one aspect of your ability to influence people. Without curiosity, you don’t have a hope of influencing anyone because they are not interested in what you have to say.
Credibility is like Money, You are unable to do anything without it!
Credibility is like money. Either you have a lot of it, a bit of it, or you don’t have any. And like money, you can generate credibility, borrow credibility and you can inherit credibility. If you have little or no credibility, you won’t be able to influence anything.
The Different Types of Credibility
Generated Credibility is how people (your customers) experience you. If you can deliver results for them, if you deal honestly and create value, your credibility with them will grow and they will start to trust you and your advice. This level of credibility is hard won and easily lost so take care to ensure your customers are happy with what you provide. Then eventually they will be happy to talk positively about you either in references or referrals.
Borrowed Credibility is credibility that is borrowed from the products you sell and the people you have done business with in the past. For example, if you are selling Apple products you can borrow from Apple’s credibility in the marketplace, the high opinion that people place in the Apple brand can be borrowed by you to help you influence people to make decisions for using Apple. Or say you have done business with someone and they are really happy about your products and services. Then they go and talk to their friends, business partners and colleagues telling them about how good you and/or your products are then you are borrowing credibility from them because the people they talk to trust them, they have high credibility with those people and you get to borrow their credibility to enhance your business.
When you think about it, borrowed credibility from a happy client is an enormous privilege because they are staking their own reputation on your ability to deliver results to other people.
Inherited Credibility is the credibility you inherit from the organisation you belong to. For example, let’s say you are the local dealership for BMW. Now all BMW dealerships throughout the country are independently owned but because you belong to BMW, you get to inherit the credibility that that company has generated through long years of supplying premium automobiles. This is a powerful asset to have and shows why partnerships at this level are worth paying a premium for.
By far and away one of the most important things to remember when attempting to influence people is to make sure you Connect with people before you Convince them. Too many people try to convince a potential customer before they have connected with them at any level. Often people think they can convince anyone of anything. If you imagine the last time a stranger bowled up to you and tried to convince you of something without wanting to know anything about you or what your opinions on anything were. Without that connection, even with all the curiosity and credibility in the world, you don’t stand a chance of convincing anyone of anything if you don’t first connect with them.
Credibility – Curiosity Model
To help you with visualising how Credibility and Curiosity work we have the below chart mapped out for you. This simple visual reference below allows you to map out your ability to influence people. Simply place a dot where you currently are then starting working out how you can move up into sustainable, effective influence.
By analysing where you fit in this credibility, curiosity model you will be able to see how likely you are going to be to be able to influence someone at any given point in time.
The Finish. DFTBA!