Are you a business owner or entrepreneur who is interested in learning how to gain influence? If yes, then you have a great goal, as this is one of the qualities of great leaders.
As a business owner, at the onset of your business, you might be satisfied with building a customer base and increasing sales.
However, as your business grows in leaps and bounds, you start thinking of how to gain influence and exert this influence.
This is important especially if you want to be a leader in your industry and you want your brand to have the recognition it deserves.
Influential people are always respected and revered in society, and when the history of their field is told, their names are written all over it.
Who is an influential person in their industry that you know about?
Going by the Time 100 listicle usually compiled by the American News Magazine Time, you can find familiar names of people shaping the future of science, politics, sports, health, business e.t.c.
Names like Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Lebron James e.t.c. might readily come to your mind.
These individuals, though being in different fields and industries have something in common; which is being a great influence in their respective fields.
That is what your focus should be as well; being a household name and at the forefront of industry developments and innovations in your area of specialization.
As you read on in this article, you will learn the practical steps you can take starting today, to gain such influence.
What Does it Mean to Gain Influence? – How to Gain Influence
The word “Influence” can be defined as the ability to make other people agree with your views and opinions or do what you want.
Gaining influence, therefore, is a stage you get to whereby you can make recommendations, come up with new facts, and people easily agree with you.
It is worth noting that gaining influence isn’t something that happens overnight, and neither is it an easy task.
On the contrary, you need to build to that stage whereby you make comments and opinions that people agree with.
Additionally, when it comes to gaining influence on others, it is not something you force on others.
When you enforce your opinions and views on other people, you cannot say that you have gained influence over them.
Instead of being influential, that is more like being domineering and forcing your opinions over others, and this is not sustainable.
It also will not help you to win the trust of others, as whatever belief they might have in you is superficial and not skin deep.
Gaining and exerting influence on others is the direct opposite, as this comes with the approval of others.
People see you as a leader deserving of their followership, and they willingly allow themselves to be influenced by you.
That is what gaining true influence is, and that is what leaves a lasting impression on others and helps you win over the trust.
This is what you should focus on as a business owner or entrepreneur, and what we will help you learn how to do in this article.
How to Gain Influence – Why It Is Important to Gain Influence
Every business owner or entrepreneur understands or should understand the importance of gaining influence.
This is especially so if you are a salesperson, as you need to be able to wield your influence on others, to be a great salesperson.
Every sale that you close, regardless of how small or large it is, is a factor of how influential you are.
You need to know how to influence people with what you say and do if they are to believe in you and what you have to offer.
However, making sales is not the only importance that comes with gaining influence, as we will soon see.
Here are some of the benefits that come with knowing how to gain influence over others:
Increased Business Sales
For you to clearly understand just how gaining influence can help you improve your business sales, you only need to think about some of the most influential people in business today.
For these, at the start of their business journey, the sales they made are not the same as those they make when they got influential.
In the beginning, sales would be low, as business owners would need to be more convincing at that time for their potential customers to buy their ideas and trust them.
However, as they gradually build their business and gain more influence on others, the public gets to trust them more.
It is easier to introduce new products to the market from influential entrepreneurs.
As an example, the CEO of Tesla Inc; Elon Musk, with the influence he has gained so far can comfortably sell new products and services in the open market today.
Little wonder then that the company can afford to start receiving down payments for products that haven’t been launched, through pre-orders.
This is one of the big benefits that come with holding influence over others.
Also, when making business sales pitches, you need to have the power of influence if you will make people buy what you sell; be it ideas or products.
Hence, it is important to gain influence if you want to stand out from the competition and build your business.
It Helps You Be a Good Leader at Work
One of the most challenging tasks for employers or business owners is to show good leadership and develop their employees.
However, when you work on and master the art of gaining influence on people, it can help make this task easier of leadership at work and developing employees easier.
When you gain influence, it is easier to lead others by telling them what to do and getting them to do it.
This is because they have come to trust you and hence find it easier to follow your line of thoughts and direction.
That is another benefit that comes from gaining influence over others, especially in the workplace.
How to Gain Influence – It’s What Dreams are Made of
Another way to look at gaining influence and why it is important is knowing that it is what dreams are made of.
Take a moment yet again to think about some of the most influential people you know in the world.
How many times do you find yourself envisaging what it would be like to be in their shoes or attain the same level of relevance and status as them?
That is with big dreams for yourself and your brand, as this is a stage everyone wants to attain.
Hence, when you work on gaining influence as a business owner, you are fulfilling a dream of youra, and one that will give you great satisfaction when achieved.
Characteristics You Need to Build to Gain Influence – Top Characteristics of Influential People
To be influential or gain influence, you need to develop certain qualities and attributes.
All the influential people in the world, irrespective of their field or industry, possess these qualities in them.
Likewise, if your goal is to gain influence, a good place to start will be working to cultivate or develop these qualities in yourself.
Here are some of those characteristics :
Consistency, they say, is one of the keys to success.
And when you look at the role that consistency plays in the success of business establishments, it is hard to disagree.
In a similar vein, if you want to gain influence, you need to learn to be consistent, as this is one thing common with all influential people.
That means you need to hold on to the core values you hold dear, and never compromise no matter how difficult the situation is.
Additionally, consistency would also involve being at the top of your game business-wise, and not settling for less or reducing your standards at any time.
Another notable characteristic of people who are influential and you need to gain influence is to be a man/woman of vision.
What that simply means is that you need to see beyond your nose, or in order words, see beyond the obvious or what is before you.
On the contrary, you should have long-term dreams and goals, and make decisions that push you towards those dreams.
That means whatever you do at present is not just for the short-term future, but rather for a long-term dream.
This is what being visionary is all about, and one of the characteristics of influential people which you need to possess.
Innovation and Creativity
People who have gained great influence over others are also great innovators and creatives.
Of course, this is one of the things that sets them apart and makes them stand out from others who are in the same industry as they are.
Without innovation and creativity, you will always be mediocre and your growth will be stunted.
This in turn can affect your ability to gain influence on others negatively.
Hence, it is important to build these qualities of innovation and creativity if you want to be influential and gain influence over others.
How to Gain Influence – What You Need to Do
Having seen how important gaining influence is for an entrepreneur, and also some of the qualities and attributes you need to develop, let us now see the process.
The process simply means the steps and actions you need to take starting immediately if you want to increase the influence you have on others.
Here are a few of them:
Be Selfless, not Selfish
One of the mistakes a leader or an aspiring leader can make in gaining influence is to be selfish or always put yourself first.
The most influential leaders are those who put others before themselves and epitomize the spirit of selflessness in all ramifications.
If you want to gain influence, you need to live your life and devote your time to the service of others.
The growth and development of others should be foremost in your mind, and this should be of more importance to you than your interests.
That way you win the respect of others and can influence them more effectively.
Give People Around You Opportunities to Win
Another thing you can do as a leader to gain influence is by providing the right enabling environment for people around you to win.
These wins do not necessarily have to be big wins at first, as small wins also go a long way in creating the last impression in people.
When they win, they are most likely going to admire and respect the person that makes such wins possible.
Therefore, while you think about winning for yourself, you equally want to make sure to help and support as many as possible towards achieving their goals as well.
This can greatly contribute to you gaining influence among them.
Be Open to Being Influenced by Others
Influence is a two-way vehicle, whereby you need to be open to being influenced by others for you to gain influence.
That means you should be humble enough to admit that you do not know it all, and you have a whole lot to learn from other influential people as well.
This realization will help you to gain all the skills you need to be influential, and it is easier from thereon to gain influence over others.
In this case, it is a matter of getting back that which you give out.
Take Connection and Networking Seriously
You can also gain influence when you work hard at connecting with others and networking with them.
When it comes to being influential, you cannot underestimate the impact that people you know and have within your circle would have on you.
This is a common phenomenon with a lot of the top influential people in the world, in that they are all closely knit and have a connection.
It is within this network and connections that ideas and opinions are shared, and influence is exerted.
Hence, if you likewise want to gain influence, you must start working on building your network now.
Work At Being an Expert in What You Do
It is also easier to gain influence when you are an expert in your field or your industry.
Being influential means being able to make people believe you and share your opinions and concepts.
This would not happen if people perceive you as an amateur or inexperienced person in your area of specialization.
Therefore, gaining expertise is also another way to quickly gain trust and by extension gain influence on others.
Let Your Results Speak for You
Remember that being influential doesn’t mean bullying others or being authoritative in your approach to get your message across.
While you might have a certain level of success with that approach, it is only temporary and not sustainable.
On the contrary, when it comes to gaining influence, you need to let your results speak louder than your voice.
Usually, people tend to follow and believe the leadership of the top leaders in the world, not primarily because of what they say or claim to be, but rather what they have been able to accomplish.
Hence, it is not down to what you say you know or can do, but what the records show that will determine how much influence you gain on others.
Be Authentic and Reliable
One mistake you would want to avoid in your quest to gain influence is being unreliable or found wanting in the area of integrity.
As you climb the ladder of influence, it is as though people have you under a microscope, and hence they vet all your decisions and actions.
Hence, you must maintain the topmost level of professionalism and a high level of standards.
Do not have a reputation for dishonesty or any other trait that breaks trust and sever relationships.
This would make it hard for you to gain influence.
On the other hand, if you are reliable, trustworthy, and show yourself authentically in all you say and do, it is easier to gain influence.
You would not need to ask for this, but people would willingly allow you to influence them.
Connect with People Emotionally/Show Empathy
Influencing others is easily achievable when you can meet them at the point of their emotional needs.
That means having a clear understanding of how people think, act, and what things influence their actions and decisions.
When you know this, you also want to connect with them in those areas, showing empathy as you do this.
When people see that you are genuinely concerned about their well-being and care for them, they respect you more as a leader.
At that point, they trust you enough to let your opinions and ideas shape them and you gain influence that way.
How to Gain Influence – Final Thoughts
You no doubt think about some of the most influential people you know and wish that someday you attain that same level as them.
Well, if that is your dream, goal, or aspiration, you should be confident that it is very achievable.
First, work on becoming an expert in your industry as those are, be open and transparent, and also build solid connections and networks.
With the right approach and a consistent one, you can gradually start gaining the influence you long for on others, and become influential as well.