Since we began our own businesses nearly 10 years ago, we’ve always done all we could to connect with others and expand our networks.
Instead of trying to figure it out ourselves, we met up with people, joined masterminds, flew around the US to conferences to hang out at bars and network (and not normally attend the conferences… the magic happens outside of the seminar room).
It all worked great and our businesses got off the ground pretty quick. My goal was always to at least make my investment back to call it a win (i.e. the cost of a trip to Orlando, hotel, drinks, and food should be a wash if I picked up at least one client).
But it wasn’t until about a year ago that I started using some Jedi mind-trickery to influence people to close more deals, expand my reach, and make new trusted contacts. Our businesses have grown, we’ve been able to start a quarterly brewery networking event that sells out, and we’ve now been able to start firing clients because we either don’t want ‘em or need ‘em anymore (unless they’re going to pay us enough to take our attention away from our own stuff that’s making great money).
So let’s breakdown what this influence trickery is…
If you have an online business that isn’t directly client-focused, most likely you silo yourself in your home office or go to a coffee shop and throw on the headphones to zone in. If you don’t have an online business, then we’ve got some talkin’ to do! (but that’s for another time)
Or, you might run a business where you are very client-focused, either online or offline. You might be running this business and constantly writing emails, talking on the phone, setting up meetings, trying to drum up clients and keeping them happy.
Either way, there’s a 99% chance you’re swimming upstream in a losing battle with your communication style. But, there is a better way…
With every platform becoming a type of social media network (i.e. Snapchat, Quora, and all the biggies), there are SO many ways to communicate. There’s commenting, liking, sharing, private messaging, and so on.
When it comes to truly connecting with people and wanting to influence them in some way, I think differently… and so should you.
NOTE: Influencing others can be good or bad, however you want to use it. I see it as a special opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level than most expect, if they realize I’m “influencing” them or not. So pick wisely, however you use your newfound influencing mastery.
About a year ago I made a challenge for myself to do two things:
- Reach out to anyone who pops in my mind, for whatever reason.
- Reach out to at least one person per day that I wouldn’t normally talk to in my daily routine.
My goal was pretty simple: Become top-of-mind with these people and see what comes of it.
As you can see, I didn’t set some pie in the sky monetary goal or approach this in a “I wanna expand my network” kind of way. I purely wanted to reach out because I believe there’s a reason why names come into your head.
What’s interesting is that after talking with most of the people I connected with, they said they were thinking of me as well. For example, they’ve seen a recent Facebook post or received an email from me or Matt and have been meaning to reach out. Whatever the case, it’s been overwhelmingly clear that if I reach out to someone, they’ve quietly been hoping for this conversation to happen.
Yeah, it’s a little woo-woo, but I’m seeing it happen all the time!
So here’s a framework of what to do to start planting yourself in people’s minds:
- Set a daily or weekly goal for yourself: Figure out how many people at minimum you will reach out to and stick to it.
- Be aware of opportunities to reach out: The key to being consistent (and successful) with this technique is that you need to be on the lookout for opportunities to reach out. You want to be natural and not seem robotic or forced. Using Facebook or Instagram is great for this.
- Opportunities to look out for: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, events/parties, someone in town, etc.
- People to reach out to include: friends, family, clients, potential clients, mentors, mentees, employees, employers
- Choose the best way to communicate the first touch: This is what most people get all wrong. For example, your client just had a birthday and you see it on Facebook. Your initial knee-jerk reaction is to comment on there and say “Happy B-day!! :-)” just like the 50 other people that came before you. Sure, it’s a great gesture and they appreciate you, but you’re getting lost in the weeds. You might get a like back as a “thanks” from your client. But, what if you instead chose to wish your client a happy birthday by texting them on their phone? I guarantee you (unless your client hates you) that you’ll get a “thank you so much!!” by the end of the day. Why is this? Because people are so wrapped up and zoned out in their social media and following the herd! This is you being the contrarian and knowing that your odds of being noticed and remembered is MUCH higher by taking your communication to a less crowded platform.
- DO use these: Phone call, text message, Facebook private message, Snapchat message, email
- DON’T do these: Facebook comment, Instagram comment, LinkedIn private message
- Schedule a time to meet up or next steps: Now that you’ve got their attention, touch base within a week or so to figure out where you want to further the conversation. Maybe it’s some time to meet up for coffee or just a phone chat. Either way, this is where you can really make an impact and grow your influence.
The moral of the story here is to think different than others. Communicate in different channels on a constant basis and you’ll get noticed. Once you get noticed, you’ll have a warmer connection with these folks and you’ll choose your next steps. From there, the sky’s the limit with your connection (could be more money, more fun, more love, whatever!)
This goes for anything in life (business, personal, online or offline): don’t be boring and don’t mindlessly do what everyone else is doing. Be slightly different and you’ll see quicker gains.