The Heart of Your Contact Database
When you hear people talk about their “sphere of influence,” do you know what that means?
Your sphere of influence, or SOI, is, in the simplest terms, the very heart of your contact database. Your sphere of influence is made up of the people that know you and who, more to the point, are most likely to go to bat for you. Given this, building it is something you should think about carefully and something with which you should take great care.
Most often, when someone is starting out in sales, one of the very first things they’re told to do it sit down and hammer out a list of everyone in their sphere of influence. We’ll bet dollars to donuts you’ve gone through this exercise. Over time–and with the proper care and feeding–this so-called sphere will blossom and grow, and that’s a very good thing.
Your sphere of influence is the lifeblood of your business.
Your SOI is made up of the people who know you. They’re not just the people who will use your services at some point down the road (assuming you take care of them properly … we’ll get to that another day), they’re the people who will tell others to use your service. These are the people who will get the word out about you and send you referrals. These are the people who will help drive your sales engine.
So who should you include in this list of awesome? Really, it should be anyone who knows you. And that can be anyone from your friends and family to your hairdresser or even the checker at your local supermarket.
- Anyone who’s ever worked with you before: your past customers are probably your single greatest asset because they know you know your business; they already know you’re the bee’s knees.
- Your family: brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, nieces, nephews … you get the idea.
- Your doctors
- Your dentists
- People from your church, synagogue, your community center, you name it
- Your kids’ friends’ parents
- Your kids’ teachers
- Coaches, folks from the PTA, even the lunch lady (assuming you know her & you have a special affection for sloppy joes)
- Your hairdresser, your manicurist, or any other -ist you might have.
In short, include anyone to whom you could walk up and say, “Hey! It’s so great to see you! How’ve you been?”
As your business grows, so will the database. Every time you complete a sale, the name of that customer should go immediately into your SOI database. Your SOI is a thing that should be very carefully tended and cultivated, because maintaining the relationships you’ve already created is vitally important to your business.
Who does NOT belong in this group?
People who don’t know you. This is NOT the place for web leads. Don’t include someone you’ve never actually met or talked to. Period. The sorts of nurturing campaigns (we’ll get into these in future posts) each needs are very, VERY different. So don’t go lumping everyone in there together; that could well do more harm than good.
Once you’ve got your sphere fully formed and flourishing, you’ll be all set to start nurturing those relationships, so they can help your business grow–a perfect time to take the HG Challenge! Your Sphere of Influence is the thing that butters the bread of your business. Take care of it. Feed it. Nurture it.