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20 May 2010

Don’t Influence People, Win Friends

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post courtesy of Maren Kate the “Chair Hunter.” I’m a huge fan, not just because she’s generally awesome, but because she’s out there taking bold action and walking the walk. Show her some love by sharing this post and subscribing to her blog.

Writer’s Note: Many of you have probably read the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. This post is not meant to take away from that great work of art, but rather to add to it, in my own zany way.

Influencing people is great if you’re an entrepreneur, maybe you can convince 10 of them to come see your art show on Saturday night or get them to email their friends with links to your online store that sells fishing equipment. This is all fine and dandy. It’s great to be an influencer, but it’s better to win friends. Winning friends is what separates the super brands like Apple from the generic brands like Augen (Who’s that you say? See – they’re generic).

Setting the stage to win friends and become a super brand…

When you first start a business, either online or off, you inevitably get all fired up and think, “Wow I’m going to make $40k a month in no time… just like Tim Ferriss!” and then a few months in and a few dollars shorter reality sets in. This is where the average man gives up – YOU are not the average man (at least you better not be if you’re here!). You want to escape the 9 to 5, to live a life of freedom that feeds your very nature and allows you to live your passions.

But how do you cross the abyss from wanting to make $40,000 a month to actually making $40,000 a month? It’s a road spattered with blood and tears but there is a shortcut that can be greatly beneficial if you are part of the few who will really work it.

You ask what cows have to do with winning people... I ask what DON'T cows have to do with winning people?!

Winning people works…

Gary Vaynerchuk has won his audience. They adore him. They buy out all the wine he promotes. They clamor to read Crush It! in a night and then tweet about it for weeks. The generic guy who runs a blog about auto parts influences people. Sometimes a reader thinks, “Oh, good point, buddy. I should try that on my gear shaft”, but nobody thinks, “WOW I want to BE this guy”.

If people want to BE you, if they want to follow you around writing down every word you speak and work for you for free (heck they’ll PAY you for the opportunity), congratulations – you’ve WON your people.

A food analogy…

You cook a steak and the friends you’ve influenced say, “Good steak, I may have to have steak for dinner next weekend”. The people you’ve won say, “Oh my gosh! You are a meat genius! Can you give me the recipe? Can I have your email address so I can ask you questions on how to brine it properly? Let’s have lunch together and talk about how you became such a grilling whiz!”

In business, who do you want? The 10,000 people who listen to your pitch and think, “Yeah, this is useful”, or the 100 people who are so psyched on your product and pitch they hunt you down to tell you they want it now!

I had this happen recently. I offer a few different services on Oracle Launch. For a while people used some of them and “liked” them. I had influenced their thinking and they appreciated it, but they weren’t stark raving mad fans. After some tweaking I created a product that WINS people. They try it and love it so much they email me with a gushing note and tell 10 of their friends about this STEAL you absolutely MUST try.

Who do you want? You want the people you can WIN.

How to WIN people…

To win people I’ve found there must be two factors in play. First, you must be a dynamic person or brand – people must either love you or hate you. Secondly, you must have a product that is amazing – people either love it or think it’s dumb and you’re an idiot for producing it.

Many people think people who drive Hummers are asses. Why? They don’t necessarily have a reason – the giant, hulking cars just rub them the wrong way. And they are quick to tell you about it. Most people that drive Hummers know that others stare at their cars – they love it, that is why they bought it.

They don’t care if people think they’re asses, they’re asses who are getting a lot of gawking stares… so screw ‘em. Do you think the execs at Hummer spend one moment worrying about what the haters think? No. They only care about the handful they’ve WON who spend big money to drive a tank around residential neighborhoods. You want to be Hummer.

So start brainstorming some new business ideas that you can WIN people with, not just influence them. Think of a business opportunity that people will either love or hate – then you are set to win your audience, one true fan at a time.

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  • http://twitter.com/shannonrss/status/14355478044 Shannon Albert’s RSS

    Nathan Hangen – Don’t Influence People, Win Friends:

    Editor’s Note: This is a guest post courtesy of Mare… http://bit.ly/dsOm4J

  • http://twitter.com/kbloemendaal/status/14355478677 Keith

    RT @nhangen Don’t Influence People, Win Friends:

    Editor’s Note: This is a guest post courtesy of Maren Ka… http://bit.ly/dsOm4J

  • http://twitter.com/mariamcisse/status/14358447317 Mariam Cisse

    RT @nhangen: Don't Influence People, Win Friends ##digitalempire http://is.gd/chnfE – Do you want to be a Hummer?

  • http://twitter.com/ferrisswatch/status/14360206730 ferrisswatch

    Don't Influence People, Win Friends | Nathan Hangen: When you first start a business, either online or off, you in… http://bit.ly/d0C9s4

  • http://twitter.com/ferrisswatch/status/14360206730 ferrisswatch

    Don't Influence People, Win Friends | Nathan Hangen: When you first start a business, either online or off, you in… http://bit.ly/d0C9s4

  • http://mariamcisse.com/ Mariam

    All right.. You've won this time! This is an incredibly good article!

    I want to be Hummer. But don't I need the gas station before that? A Hummer that can't be driven is as useful as a Toyota Yaris. It might be even worse…And rather than having one of these, I work on my swiveling hips while learning to walk in high heels…

    There are people you can win right from the beginning, but I think many people first need to get used to you in order to be won. I mean, you're not being sold easily as well, are you?

    And if I can win you walking, I believe I can skip the Toyota and be a Hummer.

  • http://twitter.com/nhangen/status/14363158419 Nathan Hangen

    @marenkate says Don't Influence People – Win Friends http://bit.ly/cbntNk

  • http://twitter.com/moon_hussain/status/14365222430 moon hussain

    Don't Influence People, Win Friends http://nathanhangen.com/blog/win-friends/

  • http://twitter.com/josephratliff/status/14368293890 Joseph Ratliff

    RT @nhangen Don't Influence People, Win Friends | Nathan Hangen http://bit.ly/9s9WAf

  • http://twitter.com/lisamorosky/status/14375959728 Lisa Morosky

    Reading: Don’t Influence People, Win Friends http://bit.ly/968dAE #in

  • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

    I love that you used Gary V as an example. He is definitely someone you either love or hate, the former for me for sure! At first I remembered thinking there was no way I could ever be as successful as he was. Then I went back to the very beginning of WineLibraryTV and watched his first videos.

    If you've never done it, go…do it now! The Gary in the beginning was nothing like the mad man we know and love now. But he stuck to it and showed up! I have no idea what I'm going to look like a few years from now, but I know that I'm learning as I go. Having a goal in mind, to win people over, is a sure way to keep on track!

  • http://twitter.com/mikestenger/status/14386614283 Mike Stenger

    Don't Influence People, Win Friends – http://ow.ly/1NRoG

  • http://twitter.com/marsdorian/status/14388106292 Mars Dorian

    RT @nhangen Don't Influence People, Win Friends – Good article, but must be followed through, otherwise it's useless http://bit.ly/9s9WAf

  • http://www.mikestenger.com Mike Stenger

    Killer points Maren! The thing about influencing people is although it's something that can be seen as important and we should all do, it's not as much and as deep of a connection as being friends with someone IMO. There's more of a bond in friendship than in “Hey I like this guy and enjoy what he has to say”.

    Wouldn't you agree?

  • http://www.financiallydigital.com Nunzio Bruno

    Those two things are really what it boils down to. If you aren't creating that experience for people then I would argue that your influence, if it's even an influence, is just a fleeting moment passed on the internet. I'm in that group for sure, the group that wants people to identify with me and come back because I've “won” them. Now if I can just focus and get my stuff to market a little faster lol..there's the hurdle.

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    Yep – it's goood advice,

    Great brands build super loyal-(friend)ship by creating amazing products that divide the crowds.

    But honestly – who's really doing it in the online world ? Even the people that are awesome and passionate don't REALLY divide the crowds (except Gary V ;)
    or would you say that you have enemies ?

  • http://website-in-a-weekend.net/ Dave Doolin

    Mariam, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here, but I think I like it.

  • http://website-in-a-weekend.net/ Dave Doolin

    Ok, fine, I get it. But strategy is easy. How 'bout some tactics?

  • http://twitter.com/bigredtomato/status/14425581354 bigredtomato

    RT @nhangen: Don't Influence People, Win Friends ##digitalempire http://is.gd/chnfE

  • http://twitter.com/johnluffa/status/14426094431 John Lufadeju

    [Lunchtime Reading] Don't Influence People, Win Friends | @nhangen http://bit.ly/9s9WAf

  • matthewneedham

    Great article Maren. I think this is so true. I perhaps need to do more of this!

  • matthewneedham

    Fair comment there Dave.

  • http://www.yourblogtools.com/ John Lufadeju

    Enjoyed this post Maren,
    Showing some concern and understanding consumer needs are good quick wins. It amazing how much an individual can open up by simply coming to their level.
    Being approachable and real is another winning formula.

    Nathan, I’m feeling your blog man – looks great!

  • http://twitter.com/eblogr/status/14438020213 James Tayo

    RT @nhangen @marenkate Don't Influence People, Win Friends http://bit.ly/9s9WAf

  • eblogr

    Well, for one.. you can win people by helping out. That is always the fundamental. If you help someone in need, without asking for anything in return, you will almost always win that person over.

    Dale carnegie said.. be genuinely interested in the other person… the word to note there is “genuinely” ….works all the time

  • srinirao

    Very smart advice that I think extends beyond products. In the world of networking I think the same thing applies. If I go out to an event or reach out to bloggers, I'm not thinking about influencing people as much as I'm making friends. I wonder if how well we'd do if we approach everything in our lives that way.

  • http://agilnetwork.blogspot.com/ Samuel Rodriguez

    Maren, I like how you write: clear and concise. Very good advice. I am interested in the topics of your blog. I'm subscribing.
    Saludos!

  • http://twitter.com/camplommer/status/14523381005 Cameron Plommer

    RT @nhangen Don't Influence People, Win Friends | Nathan Hangen http://bit.ly/9s9WAf

  • http://www.tonyteegarden.com Tony Teegarden

    Awesome share Maren and point well taken.

    Don't try and be everything to everybody. It's a great way to fall into a world of frustration. I know when I rounded the corner at my blog with my real voice I figured there was a chance I'd turn off some folks but I wasn't looking to impact everyone with my message, just someone who was ready for it.

    “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”-Simon Sinek

    I think you summed up what I was looking for in an audience with your post and it feels totally right.

    Great work.

  • http://www.heroicdestiny.com/blog/2010/05/23/what-im-reading-may-23-2010 What I’m reading: May 23, 2010 | Heroic Destiny

    [...] Don’t Influence People, Win Friends [...]

  • http://twitter.com/bobombdigity/status/14559170144 Bombdigity

    Don't Influence People, Win Friends | Nathan Hangen http://bit.ly/9s9WAf

  • http://thinktraffic.net/5-signs-you-might-be-wasting-time-with-social-media 5 Signs You Might Be Wasting Time With Social Media

    [...] to attract new customers/readers or strengthen relationships with existing ones? Do you want to influence people or win friends? Which social media platforms will you invest time in? How much time will you invest? What message [...]

  • http://twitter.com/sandyspadaro/status/14665473212 Sandy Spadaro

    Don't Influence People, Win Friends | Nathan Hangen http://bit.ly/9s9WAf

  • http://twitter.com/onbloggingwell/status/14712465745 On Blogging Well

    Don’t Influence People, Win Friends by @nhangen | http://bit.ly/95mZVA #blogging #business

  • http://nathanhangen.com/blog/soul-selling/ Would You Sell Your Soul for a Buck? | Nathan Hangen

    [...] all this talk of influencing the influencers, we start to play a dirty game of “look at me,” which is one that ends up in [...]

  • http://bigredtomatocompany.co.uk/2010/05/wednesday-wisdom-11/ Wednesday Wisdom | Big Red Tomato Company

    [...] Kate writing on Nathan Hangen’s blog wrote about being friends with people to influence them a modern twist on Dale Carnegie’s [...]

  • http://www.passionninja.com Jennifer Barthe

    I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of people driving Hummers. It's amazing how they can roll around in something so ugly and not give a hoot. They know they should be driving the thing on a battlefield instead of on Main Street. I don't care for the car, but I love the attitude.

    I learning to stand out by just being myself. I know that it's going to take a lot of hard work and sweat to win people over – in terms of time. All I have to do is start winning over a small group, create a community with them, and everyone else will follow.

    Starting out from scratch is not that bad.

  • http://www.passionninja.com Jennifer Barthe

    That's a good point.

    I thought about taking questions people ask me and then posting the answers on my blog as a general post. Let me stop thinking about that idea and just do it.

  • http://www.urbanizedmedicine.com Jennifer Barthe

    I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of people driving Hummers. It's amazing how they can roll around in something so ugly and not give a hoot. They know they should be driving the thing on a battlefield instead of on Main Street. I don't care for the car, but I love the attitude.

    I learning to stand out by just being myself. I know that it's going to take a lot of hard work and sweat to win people over – in terms of time. All I have to do is start winning over a small group, create a community with them, and everyone else will follow.

    Starting out from scratch is not that bad.

  • http://www.urbanizedmedicine.com Jennifer Barthe

    That's a good point.

    I thought about taking questions people ask me and then posting the answers on my blog as a general post. Let me stop thinking about that idea and just do it.

  • http://twitter.com/pwedgar/status/15643679281 PWEdgar

    Great article that applies well to selling – add a little process here and you can greatly improve your results – http://tinyurl.com/23wpozs

  • http://josephratliff.com/blog/2010/06/you-gotta-find-the-criticism-first-before-you-worry-about-it/ You Gotta Find The Criticism First Before You Worry About It… | The JosephRatliff.com Blog

    [...] That fear permeates itself into the way they try to start a business, the way they build a business, or the way they live life in general. [...]

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