Are You a Sheep or a Shepherd?

If you were to search for ways to boost website traffic, you would find article upon article about Google rank and backlinks and getting links from industry influencers. It’s mind-boggling. They’ll even tell you to do a free giveaway, just to get X number of subscribers. Is that what it is really about? Do you have to play that game to get ahead? Only if you are a sheep; the same sheep that go running down to the car dealership when they hear a ridiculous sales pitch on the radio again and again and again.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

It’s not about a defined set of steps. It is all about relationships – real relationships. If you are new in town and your car is acting up, what do you do? You ask around to find a good place to get it fixed. You trust that the person recommending this mechanic has used him before and knows that his work is both good quality and a good value. What you don’t do is go to Google or to the Yellow Pages. The exception would be if you are planning to go to the dealer. But, if that’s the case, your decision has nothing to do with Google rank or the size of an ad, it’s based on past experience – an established trust. No e-book will substitute for that.

Who’s Who

To be truly successful, you need to find ways to get into the lives of the people who can make a difference in your world. The internet has simplified this task considerably. All you need to do is to figure out who it is that you need to get in touch with and then find a way to catch their attention.

To find the influencers in your sphere, look at the leaders of organizations and people who write about your topic often. Look for major employers on Linked In. Look for people who hold decision-maker titles at those companies. Look in membership lists, social organizations, garden clubs, zoo sponsors, virtually anywhere you can find a list of names.

Right Place, Right Time

Once you know who you need to get in touch with, you need to search far and wide to discover where you might happen to bump into them, again and again until they know you. If they are a member of the Chamber of Commerce, see which committees they serve on. Do they participate in any leads groups? Do they give presentations? Attend lectures? Has their name been published in the newspaper or the local business journal? Look for every possible angle you can to find commonality that is not directly related to your business relationship. The most effective way into their world is through a personal connection based on a true match of intrinsic values.

Connect with Sincerity

The most important way to build your influence is to have your relationship be genuine. Forget about the bottom-line, forget about the competition. When you meet your chief influencers, get to know them like you would a prospective daughter-in-law. You want to develop mutual respect and admiration. You want to remember the details of their lives. You want to share the experiences of life, to laugh together and roll your eyes together. Then, you’ve got something to go on. Forget about the gimmicks. Sincerity wins every time.