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Michael S Melfi
One of the most important roles an entrepreneur plays in their daily routine is Master Influencer. Whether dealing with customers, team members, investors or personal relationships, the entrepreneur is constantly balancing life’s normal status quo with what is possible and uncertain. It is a battle between perception and reality, vision and compliance. As an entrepreneur you are either selling or being sold.
So, if people like to buy and not be sold, how do you manage to continue to lead from a place of vision, empowerment and drive? It comes from mastering influence. This is not a set of rules, rather a dance in human nature. The ability to have intra-personal and interpersonal skills will result in success in this area. How you learn to deal with individuals and the various situations that arise will ultimately determine your ability to succeed.
Let’s face it, we all have had the various experiences where we were in a situation and we chose to pursue one course of action and later, when we did not get what we wanted, we immediately blamed others or the circumstances. But what if it we were the cause? What if we were really in control of everything around us? This is the Art of Influence.
To some people this may sound like manipulation and it is important to understand the distinction between influence and manipulation. When an individual is seeking to get their way, or voice their opinion from a selfish place, or they are getting others to take action to benefit them to the detriment of others, this is manipulation. However, when an individual is coming from a visionary place and leading a team through empowerment and driving towards outcomes, this is more collaborative in nature and is considered influence. Said another way, influence is leading a person, conversation, or meeting in such a way as to seek an outcome that has the best intention for all the parties involved.
As we look at the three key groups entrepreneurs work with, customers, team and investors, it is important to seek to influence these conversations to create ultimate outcomes in line with the entrepreneurial vision created. Most entrepreneurs will be faced with adversity, obstacles and challenges. The ability to influence others to overcome the adversity, break through the obstacles and win the challenges will create the ultimate success for the team its customers, and the funding sources.
With your customers, how do you create disruptive marketing to create awareness and then create value and become a listener to their needs to allow them to choose to purchase from a powerful place that leaves them wanting to share their relationship with you? This is the key to a successful sales funnel and this is created when an entrepreneur has mastered the art of influence.
For entrepreneurial companies, the ability to influence the team is an intricate part of the day to day operations. The ability to remove uncertainty, to establish quality community and to build accountability and respect amongst the team members is very important to the ultimate success of the company’s ability to influence the customers and the investors. It is the art of influence demonstrated by the leadership of an entrepreneurial organization that can bind the team toward a vision through a solid culture.
When you are dealing with investors, they are often very talented and knowledgeable with various projects. So, how do you get them to see your vision, how do you get them to understand your strategy and agree with you enough to provide resources, mainly capital, to you and your business? This only comes from establishing trust and having influence in conversations and communication.
Human beings, regardless of their role in the business ecosystem, like to feel as if they are buying, rather than being sold to. So, how you are creating awareness, building relationships and influencing others is key to success as an entrepreneur or entrepreneurial organization. Ultimately, if you do not succeed at influencing others, you will not be at the closing table with a potential customer, you will not be in negotiations with investors and you will most likely not have a team to deliver the value to either of these groups.
Take the time to master the art of influence. There are many great books, webinars and podcasts available to provide insight and wisdom into the practice needed to gain the valuable skills associated with influencing others.
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