Influencers' Impact on Your Business
by Marcia Yudkin
In her book Customers.com,
Patricia Seybold cites a marketing breakthrough
made by a furniture maker specializing in
day-care equipment for special-needs children.
He realized that although day care centers wrote
the checks for his furniture, the suggestion to
purchase often came from physical therapists not
employed by the centers.
By targeting these
influencers, and making sure they knew of the
benefits of his products, the furniture maker
increased sales. Here and with other businesses,
because each influencer has sway with multiple
prospective buyers, establishing a cordial
relationship with the influencer can pay off
more than directly courting buyers.
Once you identify categories
of influencers, you next need to target and woo
individuals in that category. Remember that
influencers will be passing valued clients on to
you. So they must feel personally convinced you
will treat their clients well. Thus you need a
personal approach, such as by inviting
influencers to lunch one by one.
The way you phrase the
invitation sets the tone for your interaction.
Explain that the purpose of the lunch is getting
to know more about their work, since you are in
a position to refer clients to them. Of course,
unless your opposite number is a complete
egomaniac, this means he or she will learn more
about you as well.
After your meeting, if you're
in a position to do so, refer clients to the
influencers. Again, unless they're ungracious
dolts, this makes them well-disposed toward you
- and gives you an excuse to interact further.
Soon you're great buddies and the influencer
wouldn't think of sending clients to your
Alternatively, you can clinch
a relationship with influencers by presenting
programs or special events that benefit them.
Years ago, a mortgage broker hired me to speak
to a breakfast meeting of her influencers. The
free seminar and classy yacht-club meal were a
way for her to thank those who'd sent her
business the previous year and recruit those who
hadn't yet referred a home buyer.
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Finally, you can win the good
graces of influencers who know you by sending
them obscure magazine articles concerning their
field of business that you've clipped. Attach a
note: "Thought you would find this of
When these tactics yield
referrals, there's one more item to take care
of, a personal thank-you, and perhaps a gift -
flowers, a book, a restaurant gift certificate,
concert tickets. No matter how many referrals
have been acknowledged before, the thank-you
helps ensure that the largess of your influencer
will keep on working in your favor.
Copyright 2009 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
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