What is influencing?
Influencing successfully means getting a result which meets the needs of both you and your customer. Often called a win-win situation. It might be persuading a company to take a course of action i.e. purchase your product or use your service or it could be to persuade someone within the company of your point of view.
21st Century influencing is not forcing your views or bargaining or twisting their arm or nagging or telling and hoping that the firm will take on your viewpoint or service.
Influencing is much more subtle and requires a host of skills to be able to pull or push the customer towards your goal. It is essentially a person to person issue and needs excellent communication skills to be effective. Influencing is therefore a collection of personal skills all used in harmony just like an orchestra of dozens of musical instruments working together to produce magnificent music.
How does it work in a B2B environment?
Since influencing has to be done at a personal level, you need to decide who within the company, you need to be influencing to arrive at your goal. A strategic approach here works wonders to give you a plan as you’ll want to draw up a list of people within their organisation who collectively can make the decisions to agree to your course of action or buy your product. Often known as a Decision Making Unit (DMU).
Each person within the DMU is a stakeholder i.e. someone who can influence others within the firm. An analysis of the DMU will be extremely helpful before you make your first entry into the company. Here’s a template you could use: