Colored paper boats, highlighting the idea of an influencer.

Are You an Influencer?

In the context of social media, an influencer is one who commands a special relationship with an audience. So special is this relationship that the influencer can often endorse something in a way that makes you want to buy that something. The something that is influenced can be anything: clothes, food, or even endorsement of a position.

A few years ago, I watched Connie Dieken speak on the topic of influence. She is an Emmy-award winning TV host who has since taken her gift of communicating into the executive world as an advisor and coach. Connie has broken down influence into three elements: connect, convey, and convince. She has developed a test to help people better identify how well they do in each of these three categories of influence. The test has been administered thousands of times and Connie has built up a repository of data over the years.

As an audience member, I was one of about a hundred who had taken the test in advance of Connie’s presentation. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I scored among the highest in our group in the category of “convey.” My picture flashed on the screen for all to see. While I was surprised in the moment, it should not have been a surprise. The act of lobbying is most fundamentally about educating – conveying information to an audience.

I’d like you to think about how your team communicates with the federal customer. Your business developers and sales teams have slightly different roles, but the fundamentals of communication are the same for either. Click To Tweet

Connecting, Conveying, and Convincing

Connecting is the ability to not only get the meeting, but to then find common ground in the first moments of getting to know someone. Is the memorable impression immediately positive? Or does it take a bit to shine through? This can be improved with practice.

As mentioned, conveying is about sharing information to help bring the customer to a new level of awareness or understanding. My eight-minute rule of messaging is focused on making maximum use of your brief meeting to convey enough detail both effectively and efficiently.

Convincing is the tricky one. Many sales people jump to convincing without having properly connected. Effectively convincing someone, according to Dieken, “Involves acknowledgement of the reality of your audience.” That’s not hocus-pocus. It means you really have to understand where the customer is on the issue, and understand so within the customer’s context.

There is no remuneration in this for me, but I endorse Connie Dieken’s brilliant manner of teaching the subtleties of this topic. It’s worth the investment for your teams.

So, to my question at the top, “Are You an Influencer?” I hope the answer is yes!

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