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— by Michael J. Maher

THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA OF BUSINESS IS UPON US!

To go from Relationships to Referrals, you have to ask yourself, am I spending my time in the Informational Zone or the Influential Zone?

Have you ever…

…had a client go from sold to gone or sold to doubtful when you sent them the paperwork?

…wondered why your emails to your database are never opened or get replies?

…questioned why your direct mail pieces don’t get responses or provide referrals?

…had a networking partner who had shown all signs of referring you business but didn’t?

…had a past client who had a terrific experience, but didn’t refer you business?

If you have, you are not alone. Many sales professionals get confused about which communication tool should be used to deliver what message. In the spirit of timeliness, ease or automation, we lose the client, the referral or perhaps even the relationship. We need to make sure we are working in the Influential Zone.

Informational Zone vs. Influential Zone.

The Informational Zone includes advertising, direct mail, and electronic communication (such as e-mail, texting, and social media).

The Influential Zone includes phone calls, events and seminars, and one-on-one meetings.

In the middle, as a bridge from the Informational to the Influential, are handwritten notes. The Informational Zone is fantastic for informing, confirming, or introducing. The Influential Zone is perfect for influencing, convincing, or selling. 

We e-mail wrong. One of the biggest mistakes I see from sales people today is trying to use e-mail as an influencing tool. You can’t sell, convince or influence by e-mail. Use it to confirm appointments. Use it to forward information to other people. Attach articles, information, podcasts or videos to e-mails to make them more effective and informative. Remember, e-mails and texts are only the promise of a future phone call.

We don’t understand the purpose of direct mail. Use direct mail to stay in touch with your past clients, networking contacts, and referral partners, but don’t rely on it to raise the relationship to a referral partnership – it will only MAINTAIN the relationship. An over-use of direct mail can even deteriorate what might have been a good, solid relationship. Your goal with direct mail should be to communicate your character and competence (i.e. success stories).

We under-utilize one of the most powerful communication devices known to mankind. Why don’t we write more handwritten notes? They are truly the most powerful asynchronous form of communication. Asynchronous just means that the receiver of the message isn’t present when the sender sends the message.

Imagine seeing an ad inviting you to an event. Then imagine finding a direct mail piece inviting you to that event. Picture reading an e-mail invite to the same event. Are you going to the event? Eh, maybe. Now envision a handwritten note from the organizer of this event specifically inviting you to the event. When I do this exercise at my presentations, the results are astounding and the difference between an e-mail and a handwritten note is sizable. Handwritten notes are impactful.

Now we know. We need to spend our time, effort, money, and energy in the Influential Zone. Inexpensive, yet powerful, one-on-one meetings, events and seminars, and phone calls are a much better use of our valuable resources. Plan your day around prospecting with face-to-face time and ear-to-ear time. The biggest reason these modes fit into the Influential Zone is because of the simple factor of feedback. You can listen in the Influential Zone.

Remember, relationship-building is much more about being interested than it is to be interesting. Want to show the other person you are interested? Listen. Want to make the other person feel important? Listen. Want to become wiser? Listen. Listening is the key to relationships.

Something I have found is that everyone has intelligence, beauty, talent… a spark inside of them. My job is to look for it, to listen for it… to find that spark and bring it to light. You can only do that in the Influential Zone.

When looking to sell, convince or influence, please do it through a phone call, event or seminar or in person.

Evolve. We have to evolve with the consumer and with the way business is done. We’ve been forced to evolve from the Ego Era to the Generosity Generation as the consumer has changed from a FIND ME/SELL ME position to a HEAR ME/HELP ME mindset. The “I am #1” slogan of the Ego Era no longer matters to the consumer. The slogan of the Generosity Generation is “I am here to help.”

The Influential Age. Another evolution is taking place. The United States went through a manufacturing time period called the Industrial Age – mass production, assembly lines, buildings were built, and skyscrapers soared. Then the Internet was born and the Informational Age began. And as rapidly as the Informational Age replaced the Industrial Age, a new age is upon us. The Influential Age has arrived. The future is not for those who build buildings or build their content… it is for those who build their influence.

Those who work in the Influential Zone rather than the Informational Zone will be those who thrive and succeed in the new age that is upon us.

Be Influential, my friends.

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