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.
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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