How Do You Nurture Your Sphere-of-Influence?

There has been a lot of discussion over the past few years regarding leveraging one’s sphere-of-influence (SOI) to drive business. The concept of SOI speaks to the power an individual or organization has to affect events and influence others in their network. In other words, your SOI refers to the people in your network with whom your opinion holds some weight. An example might be your work colleagues, vendors, suppliers, college classmates and so forth – all of whom trust and respect your opinions and work. Establishing and expanding one’s SOI brings with it a number of benefits, including procuring new business, sourcing referrals, soliciting feedback and opinion, soliciting testimonials, and more.

In today’s world of social media, LinkedIN® contacts or your Facebook® friends represent a community that you’re connected to, which should include a sphere-of-influence. Many LinkedIn and Facebook subscribers work tirelessly to grow their networks misguidedly expecting to expand their SOI. While growing one’s network is important, merely growing it does not necessarily create a larger SOI. Keeping in mind that SOI refers only to that subset of your network that truly values your opinion, expanding your sphere-of-influence necessarily requires gaining the trust of others in your network who may not be quite as familiar with your expertise and skill set(s). All too often, many of us fail to create the necessary credibility within that network to grow our SOI strategically.

Some of the steps we can take to expand our SOI start with building stronger relationships based on establishing consistent and relevant contact with those in our network that we wish to remain in good standing with over the course of our careers. But this takes work. It requires dedication. We believe such dedication will pay dividends in the long run. We recommend the following process:

  • Review your existing contacts and segregate them into categories. Examples include:
    • Personal
      • Friends
      • Family
      • Religious Community
      • Alumni
      • Social Clubs
      • Neighborhood
      • Acquaintances
    • Business
      • Colleagues
      • Vendors
      • Customers
      • Prospects
      • Business Associates
    • Any other category you think is important
  • Determine which categories can most influence your business, whether these are prospects, colleagues, business partners, or otherwise
  • Develop or identify meaningful content that can be targeted at each segment on a defined period basis. For example, a real estate agent may wish to send past clients quarterly articles either developed directly or sourced from third parties, such as “Getting ready for Spring”, “Winterizing”, “Backyard ideas for Summer” and so on.
  • Set a schedule and do not waver from it.
  • Diligently distribute content to your contact categories.

Classifying contacts and identifying (and/or developing) content is a necessary “evil” if you’re to succesfully nurture contacts in your network to expend your SOI.  The trick is consistency and having the right tools. With consistent attention, the effort is greatly diminished. Secondly, a delivery tool that makes it easy to personalize messages, schedule delivery, reuse content, monitor impact, and quickly engage members of your audience is indispensable.

Real Capture’s Tendant is a relationship optimization platform that helps business people categorize contacts, deliver content consistently, and quickly engage interested parties. The system allows our subscribers to establish and nurture relationships with little effort and with great personal touch thereby expanding that all-important sphere-of-influence. For more information on Tendant and how it can positively impact your SOI, visit tendant.com.

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