This trio of tactics is the proven path to increasing your influence online and generating more business as a result.

Believe it or not, everyone reading this sentence right now is in sales.

Whether you’re selling yourself to a potential employer or investor, selling an idea to students or co-workers, or more directly selling a product or service to a target audience, you’re in sales of some sort.

And in today’s online marketplace, there is a specific approach you must take if you want to expand your influence and improve the effectiveness of your efforts.

I recently sat down with David Newman, a bestselling author, speaker and consultant, to get his advice on how anyone can build a powerful brand and sell more products and services online.

(Note: You can listen to our entire conversation here.)

David Newman
David Newman

The “3PR” Approach to Sales and Marketing

“I call it 3PR,” Neman says. “It’s an acronym that stands for Personalized, Professional, Public Relations. It’s your own, specific personal platform building game plan. If you want to monetize your expertise, or have a speaking driven business, these are the three pillars behind it.”

The first step, according to Newman, is using Public Speaking (both online and in-person) as a lead generation tool.

“Just speaking to share your message, speaking to generate leads, speaking to generate interest,” he says. “This could be in your community. This could be online via a podcast or webinar. This could be at a local trade and professional association monthly meeting.

“It doesn’t matter what format or venue … the key is finding the kinds of groups and meetings where it’s the right people who are in the right room for the right reason. And they are your prospect base. They are your high probability buyers.”

Speak, Then Publish

The second phase, Newman says, is Publishing.

“I don’t necessarily mean publishing a book or hundreds of pages of content,” he says. “I’m talking about the simplest forms of publishing, things like going on LinkedIn and doing a LinkedIn Pulse article, writing a blog … submitting articles to trade and professional associations of the target clients that you wanted to connect with.

“The best place to publish is where your target audience is already looking.”

Develop Your Social Media Strategy

They key here, according to Newman, is to spend time on the social networks and channels where your target audience is already hanging out.

For example, “LinkedIn is the number one social media platform for business-to-business sales and marketing, ” Newman says. “But the mistake I see a lot of entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches and independent professionals make is they think they have to be everywhere.

“I would focus on the big two or three in your industry, in your market. So whether that’s LinkedIn and Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter, whatever it is … start building a following. Start building at tribe.”

The Tribe vs. The Tent

Newman says another mistake he sees is professionals building their online “tent” before collecting a tribe of people who will use it.

“I call it ‘Build the Tribe Before the Tent,'” he says. “You get so concerned about building the tent, and the tent is your business – your opt-in pages, or programs and products – that we want everyone to come in, but nobody’s there.

“Before you build the tent, build the tribe. Build a following, build a subscriber base, build a fan base, build a group of people,” he says. “It can be a very small group, but a group of people who are interested, intrigued and engaged in what you have to say and how you can help them with your content and your ideas is key. If you do that with your social media strategy, it’s going to work.”

3 Keys, 1 Goal

To summarize, Newman says the “3PR” strategy he advocates is all about using the steps to build upon each other.

“First, speaking builds your visibility,” he says. “Next, publishing builds your credibility. Finally, social media builds your shareability.”

When taken together, Newman says, you can utilize all three elements to increase your influence and effectiveness both online and in-person, and the end result is more people buying whatever it is you want to sell.