Some people seem to be naturally charismatic and have a magnetic pull that resonates with the people around them. A small percentage of those people were probably born that way, coming from the womb with a knack for attracting others to their causes. For a Marketing Guru, influence is something we learn through trial and error and by observing leaders who exhibit characteristics that contribute to their ability to impact how others behave.
As a self-proclaimed awkward loner, I was of the breed that required a great deal of training to reach the ranks of the influential. It wasn’t until my manager at a sales job asked me to read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People that I realized something was fundamentally wrong with my ability to interact with customers and clients.
After reading the book, I recognized for the first time what was wrong. I was nice, people enjoyed talking to me and I made friends once in awhile, but I had never learned how to inspire people to do something different based on my recommendations. I wasn’t getting sales– at all– and it was because I had never learned to master the principles of influence.
Today, I run a social enterprise women’s association with over a thousand members, have presented a TEDx Talk and now sell services from magazine advertising to PR contracts with ease.
The secret to my success is a framework I coined called “The 4 Keys to Influence,” which I published in a 32-page workbook. The framework is based on my research in social psychology, evolutionary psychology and other texts that describe human interaction and the accumulation of power. The following are the basic tenets of the framework:
Present a powerful presence.
We all know the saying “dress for the job you want,” but it’s easy to forget this principle when going about our day-to-day life. Our presence is both the way we walk into a room and the clothes we wear on our bodies. It’s the first thing people judge when they see us and dictates a huge part of the impressions we make.
To hone this Marketing Guru skill, it’s important to be attentive to your body language and learn to present yourself with power while making others feel a connection to you. On the outside, your brand should be a reflection of the expectations they have for what a leader in your field should look like. To get ideas, look at the top influencers in your industry and take note of how they dress and present themselves in the public eye.
You’ll find that many sales and leadership books spend most of their time teaching this topic. It’s because this is the most hard but essential to learn skill that will help you build influence and get people to follow you or buy from you.
Build a reputation as an authority.
Who are you more likely to listen to when it comes to your money, the guy with the MBA or the guy with a sociology degree and no experience? It’s a harsh point, but one that must be made to become a Marketing Guru. People follow those who have authority, so it’s your job to create a brand that screams credible.
A degree is just one way to build authority. Being endorsed by a high-level industry leader, having many years of experience or receiving lots of testimonials and referrals are all additional ways that you can become known as a credible leader. I learned from my Marketing Guru that getting PR is one of my favorite ways to increase credibility.
Look for opportunities to strengthen your resume and be sure to showcase your credibility in visible ways to make sure people can see you as an authority when making decisions to hire or buy from you.
Demonstrate visibility and consistency.
The last two parts of the four keys come as a pair. It’s important to be consistently visible to your audience in order to establish yourself as a trusted resource. This really goes back to our natural safety measures as human beings. We rely on familiarity to demonstrate that something we have encountered is safe.
Just like Stephen Covey describes in his book, Speed of Trust, decisions are made more quickly when we trust the source of information. When they trust you and your product 100%, imagine how much faster your customers will choose to buy. Trust reduces hesitation, so by building a plan to be consistently visible to your audience, you can make it easier for them to make the decision to follow your lead or take action to hire you or buy from you.
The four keys to influence is a great framework to think about how you can become a Marketing Guru in your industry. It’s also useful for short-term projects, such as a product launch or marketing plan. Use this framework to guide your thinking. How can you create a stronger presence, build authority and be consistently visible to your audience? Thinking this way will help you to become more influential in any field of business.