• Leveraging Influence to Be an Effective Leader

    01/26/2015 in Influence Skills

    Improving your ability to effectively influence others helps you become more effective as a leader, entrepreneur, or sales professional.  Learning to leverage influence while building positive relationships is powerful! 

    Learn more about the workshop in this hour long pre-recorded Leveraging Influence Webinar
    Workshop options include:
    • Register for a 6 week online Influence Workshop including Q&A sessions and on-demand replays. Options include weekly live sessions or go at your own pace, on-demand.  Included is a pre-assessment questionnaire to measure your own growth. For $199, you have access to the same training those companies spend thousands of dollars on.  It's a small investment in you that will yield massive returns.  

    • The same two day in-person immersive Influence Skills Workshop is available to be customized for your entire sales team.  

  • Influencing People, Not Customers

    06/17/2014 in Influence Skills

    I was asked recently to speak at a national sales meeting. Prior to the meeting, the VP of Sales and I discussed topics to determine an appropriate message for the sales team.  We mutually agreed that the best salespeople don’t think of themselves as "selling products” or "selling services.”  Instead, the most successful sellers must excel at "influencing people.”  

    Notice that we are intentionally using the word people rather than customers. To sell well in today’s complex sales environment, a sales professional needs to influence customers, colleagues, and others (such as convincing a supplier to do something special for a customer). 

    The opportunity to use influence in sales is critically important. For example, consider these two situations that require the salesperson to influence one or more other people:

    Situation #1 – Influencing a Customer: One of your existing customers recently acquired another company. This acquisition means that there are several new sales opportunities.  In order to capitalize on these sales opportunities you need to meet with some customer contacts that don’t know you at all.  You would like your current contact to assist you in setting up these meetings with the other customer contacts.  Based on your prior experience with this person, he/she tends to act as a gatekeeper and limits access to other people. You suspect that he/she will do the same thing when you make this request.  Use your influence skills to gain his/her support without making him/her feel as if you trying to go around him/her. 

    Situation #2 – Influencing an Internal Manager: One of your key accounts has threatened to give a large piece of business to one of your competitors unless you make a significant concession (for example, a price reduction, extended payment terms, special packaging, and so on). You need to speak with an upper-level manager to get his/her approval for this customer request.  Use your influence skills to get this manager to agree to this concession or something comparable in scope.  Highlight the negative consequences to your company if you lose the business at this account.

    Salespeople rarely, if ever, can use positional power to do their job.  As shown in the above two situations, sales professionals must influence other people.  Fortunately, influence skills can be developed and improved. 

    Visit our blog for additional articles on Influence

  • How Much Do You Use Influence Skills in Sales?

    04/09/2014 in Influence Skills

    Influence skills are a core competency for salespeople, customer service personnel, and managers, yet many people never consciously think about sharpening their ability to influence customers, colleagues, and others.  

    Consider the key accounts that your company must protect and grow.  Influence skills are critical for anyone who manages and interacts with key accounts. For example, here are some common situations that are likely to arise with key accounts, and for which your ability to influence others is crucial:

    When interacting with various people at each of your key accounts: 

    It does little good to develop a great value proposition for a key account if you can’t present your value proposition  to the decision-makers in a clear, compelling, and persuasive manner

    Influencing a gatekeeper to help you gain access to a decision-maker

    Strengthening relationships so that one or more people at the key account become your champion

    Convincing an existing customer to make a change that would be beneficial to both of your organizations  

    Influencing other people and groups internally because you need their support at a key account: 

    Convincing others inside your company to do something special for a key account 

    Persuading one of your suppliers/vendors to provide a modified product or service in order to help you win or protect a sales opportunity at a key account

    Getting other colleagues to assist you at the key account, such as agreeing to make a joint call or presentation

    For more information visit our Leading with Influence blog to see how successful influencers set themselves apart. 

  • Leading with Influence

    06/14/2013 in Influence Skills

    Leading with Influence

    Everyone has a natural style of influence.  Truly effective influence doesn't just happen!   So how do you get people to buy into your ideas?  Being able to accurately read situations, individuals and groups, and applying the appropriate type of influence behavior are key to becoming successful at influencing.

    Influence is the ability to have others take a desired action while building and maintaining the relationship.  To be successful, the ability to influence others over whom you have not direct control is a must.

    Everyone should assess their own personal influence style.  Once a person is conscious of his or her style they are able to vary it depending on the situation.  This allows them to become more effective in accomplishing their goals and the goals of the team.  If you are curious about your own influence style, please contact us about our electronic influence self survey.

    Successful influencers set themselves apart in four ways:

    1. Learn as much as you can about the people you want to influence.  Ask  well-designed questions to get a sense of what issues your peers and counterparts believe are important and must be addressed.  Use this information to tailor the presentation of your ideas as potential solutions that address those issues.
    2. Emphasize common goals, enthusiasm and excitement to build a relationship with your coworkers, rather than just arguing reasons and data.  This strategy is very effective when working on teams because it helps bring people together to focus on problem solving.
    3. Involve others in your plans.  Ask questions about what your colleagues are thinking.  Listen to their responses and incorporate their ideas and needs into your solution.
    4. Map out your goals and select a strategy that will be effective in influencing the other people involved.  Think about your contingency plan in case your first attempt is not effective.

    Always remember the importance of maintaining the relationship by using positive forms of influence!

    The Influence Skills workshop is one of STAR's most popular and can be customzed for customer service personnel, salespeople and sales management..