Changing the Question


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As I talk with people about influence — especially at SxSW — I get the sense that much of it feels like a black box to many. Voodoo, or something complicated that needs to be solved by an algorithm. As if we were unable, or worse, unwilling, to understand what matters to our customers and clients.

To me, the powerful value proposition of social media is the opportunity for a business to transform buyers into customers. I worked in 5 industries on the client side, and I have seen first hand the power in the transformation from transactional-based buyers to long term customers.

Things like organic attrition rates and businesses weaned from the constant lead generation crack offer a convincing argument on behalf of relationships. If you like to think and talk about benchmarks, this should be on top of your priority list.

Influence, after all, is not something you go and extract, or beg, borrow and steal to get. It's something you can identify, enroll, build, and grow. Influence is defined as the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.

However, I would submit that this definition is unsatisfying. It does not tell you how you get there. Rather than asking: who has influence? A more interesting conversation — and productive discovery process — begins when we ask why is influence?

If this conversation appeals to you, join me in ballroom F at the Austin Convention Center today 12:30-1:30pm.

[it was the perfect day to test drive the Camaro convertible]

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