As an influence marketer, you should aspire to become so much more than just pitcher. Cold calling might very well be where every bouncing baby salesman, saleswoman, PR agent, marketing professional, and talent agent start, but it’s not the goal. The goal is always to develop lifelong friendships with people who will be integral to your life and success.
Professionally, sure, but also personally.
While everyone talks about workplace romance resulting in either lawsuit or marriage, not enough people talk about workplace relationships–both inside and outside the company–resulting in lawsuits or lifelong friendships–or both.
I’ll be honest, one of my best friends started out as my client. It happens all the time.
Day Drinking on the Clock
Becoming besties with your vendors, clients, co-workers, and bosses is what’s supposed to happen. How else do you get to spend loads of work time–and the boss’s money–on people you really like to hang out with during working hours? Make them your client, your vendor, your partner, your employee, or your associate! Bingo!
If you make them part of “doing business,” these awesome peeps don’t need to hide out away from you for that 8-12 hours-a-day you’re at the office. While it’s completely unprofessional to giggle on a phone call, day drink, or take a long lunch at a steakhouse with your civilian buds, it’s downright dereliction of duty if you don’t behave this way with people with whom you work.
That’s why we’re always doing business with our college chums: college is just a super-long job interview. Right? Nepotism? Cronyism? No! Extreme due diligence!
Help an Influencer Out
Do what I say, not what I do. I’ve been terrible at being a mentor to influencers as a marketing professional. All my mentorship has been focused on helping my fellow PR professionals become the very best influencer marketer and creator relationship professional possible (being kind for everyone they meet is fighting a hard battle, right?); however, that has never been enough.
The more I can become a helpful, useful, wise, and generous intermediary between creators and brands, the more effective I can be when it comes to making that love connection–and being sure that connection makes the mark.
This strategy is really a no-brainer for in-house community managers. If you are working for an in-house communications team–or you’re an embedded PR professional from a larger, third-party agency–then you should become the go-to person when it comes to best-practices, advice, and backroom discussions about fees, terms, expectations, recommendations, and referrals.
You should become an advocate for the influencer. Speak for the trees! Building a long-term, trust-based, value-added, friendship-cum-business relationship should be the goal of anyone in sales. And, baby, PR, marketing, and advertising are, at their very source code, sales, pure and simple.
Insane in the Semipermeable Membrane
When I am an awesome and inspired influencer marketer, the separation between my personal contacts and my influencer lists is not only a semipermeable membrane but often becomes completely blurred.
Building personal relationships is the cornerstone of sales.
The best salesmen aspire to become counselor, adviser, and consigliere for their community. Real estate agents hate to be called “house salespeople”–but they are. However, if you want to get to know a new city, town, or village–and meet people, to boot–make friends with a local realtor: they know all the hot spots! If they’re worth their salt, they’re defacto mayor of their town.
I Suck at All This Actually
Like I said, I am terrible at this. It’s probably because of how my mind works. Some people never forget a face or a name; I, on the other hand, never remember them. So I learn to cope. It’s not shameful to keep notes on people, I think it is always worthwhile keeping some sort of customer relationship manager (CRM) at hand to make sure you can be be seen in the best light possible. While it might not seem authentic to depend and rely upon notes, at the end of the day, it does show respect.
The fact that I am scampering to find out how we know each other via searching my Gmail archives and digging through LinkedIn and my notes should inspire you with confidence that I’m not just blowing you off as set design or relegating you to background extra, it means I am trying hard to impress you and connect with you.
People don’t know that you’ve spent hours or days rehearsing or preparing or doing background work or learning names and memorizing faces–but they’ll surely remember that you remembered their name, their face, where they work, to whom they’re married, and how many children then have (as well as when their anniversary is and when all their birthday are). People who know all of these things work really hard at knowing them.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
If you haven’t read it before, pick up a copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Please be forewarned that all the techniques and strategies in there really do seem manipulative and inauthentic. They are, but with the heart. They’re “fake it ’til you make it” strategies that allow you to go from reader to orator, from bit part to actor. It’s sort of like learning the steps before becoming a dancer. At first, you’ll be looking at your feet and mouthing out the count–one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three–become your autonomic system takes over and your dancing relies more on muscle memory than on plain memory.
Wow! This post has been, personally, very therapeutic. In the case of this post, do what I say, not what I do. Making besties out of everyone I meet every day, both at the end of a PR infliuencer marketing pitch on behalf of a brand or even really developing real, authentic–and not transactional–relationships with the people with whom I interact every day, IRL–is always a goal for me–but is really hard for me. They say it’s because I live in a modern world and nobody knows their neighbors. But is that true or just a cop out? Maybe it’s just a self-selection sort of thing. Maybe apartment dwellers in large buildings are pursuing anonymity. Maybe we all just vant to be alone.
I’m On the List
There are two ways to get into that exclusive club: bribe the doorman or befriend the doorman. The host will do, as will the bouncer. Want to know the best way? Get on the list. This requires some forethought but you can do it. But only if you want to. Are you the kind of person who gets on lists? Can you be? Do you want to be? Good luck!
I thought of this title this morning during my waking hours; however, it’s too good to be true so shout out to Hannah Butcher who shared her very interesting and worthwhile SlideShare deck, How to Win Friends and Influence Influencers–check it out!