Sphere of Influence Selling: The Key to Initial Engagement

Posted on Jul 11, 2009

By Dan Hughes

Chief Sales Officer

Broadlook Technologies

Why use “Sphere of Influence” for your initial engagement? The reason is simple. The strategy behind SOI is to create engagement.

Creating engagement means creating awareness, curiosity, and an impetus to act. Sales and marketers have long known that the higher the level of awareness and curiosity, the stronger the likelihood of engagement and ultimately to close a sale.

Sphere of Influence techniques start with identifying multiple names, titles and emails. It is a due diligence step that every good sales or marketing professional should do. Those sales and marketing professionals that use Profiler or ProfilerX already know how to accomplish this step effectively, saving them time and allowing them to focus their time on selling.

Armed with the necessary contact information, the next step is to approach the target prospect company with a series of voicemails and emails designed to create a “Sphere of Influence” around the identified contacts you wish to engage.

In the communications, you want to use voicemail and email that are similar in content and call to action. Both messages should include the standard elements of a quality introductory e-mail or voice mail, but with the following exceptions;

When sending the email, clearly show that you are CCing others and make reference in the initial sentence of the email that you are doing so. When leaving the voicemail, introduce yourself and company and then mention that you are leaving similar messages for the other contacts identified as well as draw attention to the email that compliments your email.

And then the all important statement must be included in the email and voicemail.

“…I am attempting to identify who best in your organization I should discuss how my company’s (product, services, solution) can impact yours…”.

Why? Because it is true and it gives the prospect an opportunity to determine who best in their organization should engage you for further discussions related to your company’s potential value to them. At the same time, other decision makers and influencers are aware of you and will be curious as to the results of any conversations that take place.

Albeit simple, these two critical elements; the clear CC of emails and mention of other intended parties in voicemail, along with the disclaimer the you are “simply attempting to identify who best in their organization you should begin exploratory conversation with to determine mutual benefit” , are big impact items.

You can use these components of “Sphere of Influence” at any point in the sales cycle, however be cautious. Some may be tempted to use SOI with a contact you have been working with to date because they have either “gone dark” (not returning communication attempts), not making progress at the speed you wish, or says that “management does not want to do anything” and you believe otherwise. If you do, you run the risk of antagonizing what may have been your internal champion or advocate.

Performing the elements of “Sphere of Influence” at the onset of engaging a company will pay big dividends in motivating the target prospect to engage you in conversation, flush out who are decision makers and influencers and reduce wasted time on companies that are not qualified.

To learn more about Sphere of Influence, watch for our upcoming webinar entitled “Sphere of Influence Selling: Strategies that can advance your sales 9 out of 10 times.”