Influencing the Influencers
There are Centres of Influence in your industry who can help you reach your target audience.
Any Small Business owner will understand the potency of a positive recommendation given to a person about your business by a friend or family member. Particularly when the person asking for the recommendation is purchase-ready with the only decision remaining as to who to purchase from.
The type of purchase, the amount of money it costs and the importance that the person places on it, will determine who they may trust to ask for recommendations about this purchase.
Enter, the Centre of Influence.
A Centre of Influence is a person or an organisation who also serves people in your target audience. They are likely to be able to influence their behaviour by providing positive (or negative) commentary about the products or services that you provide.
Centres of Influence are often overlooked and underestimated by Small Business owners who are busy in their pursuit to move their end target customer through the sequence of know, like and trust.
While we definitely want to take our target consumer through this sequence, in some cases building strong relationships with your centres of influence can help you to accelerate this.
Here are three examples of industries where Centres of Influence could potentially play a large part in referring purchase-ready customers to a business:
1. Financial Planning Industry.
An obvious Centre of Influence for a Financial Planning organisation would be an Accountant. A person ripe for Financial Planning services will most likely have an established and trusted relationship with their Accountant.
Their Accountant will be familiar with their financial situation and will most likely recognise when that person’s financial needs stretch beyond what they, the Accountant can provide. At this point, they will need a network of people, such as Financial Planners that they can trust, who they can refer their client onto.
Alternatively, it might work the other way. An Accountants client might decide that they are ready to start seeking advice from a Financial Planner. They begin to ask around as to who might be best to seek advice from, and they’ll most likely ask their Accountant for a referral to someone.
2. Retail Pharmacy.
For a local Pharmacy, a Centre of Influence would include General Practitioner doctors (GPs). GPs are dealing with sick patients in their clinics daily. They are writing prescriptions for medicine and recommending products to help their patients return to health.
As a pharmacy, who better to demonstrate your value and relevance to? If it’s important to the GP that their patient receives the best possible treatment, then they will ensure they send them to the provider of the best possible solutions.
3. Building Supplies.
With a business that supplies flooring, the majority of people looking to install flooring will most likely be building a home or renovating. Which means they will be using a builder. The builder is likely to be the first person they recruit for the project, and once that trusted relationship has been established, they will rely heavily on the builder for recommendations of suppliers.
As a flooring supplier, it’s a lot more cost-effective to market directly to and build relationships with local builders in town who are dealing with the customers who are ready to buy. As opposed to promoting your business to the whole town – where the majority of people are not even close to considering a new floor.
Establishing strong connections and relationships with the Centres of Influence in your industry can significantly decrease the cost of your customer acquisition.
Centres of Influence will send you pre-qualified and purchase-ready consumers who are more likely to convert due to the high trust levels involved in their referral.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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