Cultivating centers of influence is an ongoing part of a good marketing process no matter what your service or product. The question is, “How effective are you in your efforts?”
Effectiveness is often a perception in the mind of the person doing the marketing. Let me share a few examples of what some consider an effective method of cultivating, impressing, centers of influence.
- Last weekend the Phoenix Open was played in Scottsdale. It is one of the best attended golf functions anywhere. I believe that there were well over 150,000 people there in one day. Do you believe that by taking a potential center of influence to this tournament makes you unique? Perhaps you spent a few dollars on admittance, food and drinks, but I don’t really believe that this one event will help get business referrals. The same goes with taking a potential referral source to the super bowl. Most events are not unique and other people in your industry offer the same incentive.
- Impressing your centers of influence with all your credentials, is, in many cases, a repetition of what your competitors are giving them. I do believe that this information should be given or communicated to a potential center of influence, but I doubt that this alone will make you their top choice for referrals.
- Being seen in the “right places.” While it’s important to become visible, (social and civic affairs appear to be the main venues) I don’t believe that a social or civic acquaintance is enough, without a lot more substance, to develop a proper business relationship.
- Monthly newsletters, birthday cards, imprinted gifts, i.e. cups, pens, etc., may become more of a nuisance than a benefit.
- Becoming a customer/client with a potential center of influence rarely results in getting all the business referrals that this center of influence is capable if giving. Imagine a professional, CPA, Doctor, attorney, etc. who has hundreds of clients. What real difference does your becoming a client bring to the table?
Let’s step back and take another look. Why are you cultivating this center of influence? I’m sure the reason is so that you can grow your own business. This center of influence can add value to your business by referring additional clients/customers, which translates into additional revenue. Now, take a look at all the efforts you are currently making to cultivate your centers of influence. Are you providing a value to their business?
The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons. Aristotle
Nick J. Petra CFP Business coach and mentor www.strategicduck.com