What a Center of Influence Can Do For You
Setting out to build an IT consulting enterprise, I realized fairly quickly that his target market, Information Technology (IT) Managers in major corporations, wanted to deal with name brand companies. They felt comfortable buying products and services from well-established, well-known companies for one primary reason: if they make a bad decision and it turns out costing the company a lot of money, it could cost the IT manager his job. To avoid any problems, and possible loss of a job, IT managers needed to be assured that the solutions they are acquiring from a third party vendor will really work, and make them look good.
In the beginning, our business was not a well-known name in the industry and we had a very difficult time getting into any doors, let alone setting any appointments. We developed a plan to begin working with the vendors that were already calling on these same IT Managers. These would become Strategic Alliance Partners (SAP’s) to help open a few more doors that had previously been closed to anyone outside of the good ol’ boy network.
Presentations were made to the managers and sales people of several well-known companies in the IT Industry. The word started getting out that there was a real player in town that through professional IT Analysts, could assist on IT projects.
The key was to call on well-known hardware and software vendors that had nothing to do with IT Consulting. We didn’t want to appear as a threat to these SAP’s, rather as a solid choice to bring and make them look good. This would enhance their current relationship with their customers, because if they brought in someone from the outside that did well on the projects assigned, they would be perceived as a vendor looking out for the company. In turn this would solidify their relationship and hopefully bring them more business.
The plan worked, and soon a small center of influence was developed. This center of influence opened up a few key doors in the beginning. As time went on, the first year in business developed a few key relationships that turned into over $600,000 in sales. The next year turned into over $5 million in sales, and the business kept on growing.
So start asking your self what centers of influence you have, even if its only one person, they could lead you to many other centers of influence. Take some time and ask yourself a few key questions, and write down your answers. This little exercise will surprise and invigorate you!
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
What are your centers of influence and who would you include?
Who are your friends and relatives that will help you promote your business?
What people in your church are you comfortable with that will help you get started and promote your business?
Are there any individuals in your center of influence that will buy from you? If so, who are they?
Set a few goals on what you want to accomplish. Here are three that you might want to have:
Goal #1: Write down who your Centers of Influence are.
Goal#2: Define how you will approach your Centers of Influence and what materials you will need to leave with, or send to them.
Goal #3: Come up with a list of 10 people that can open doors for you.
Best of luck!