Engage and influence

We all know life is busy and the competition to be heard is high. You need to be able to cut-through the noise. Thought leadership is about engaging and influencing your clients and prospects.

Here are our top three ways to engage and influence your clients and prospects…

1. Say it straight

‘Technical’ doesn’t mean impressive. Unless you’re talking to someone who really understands your ‘tech talk’ (namely your colleagues), ditch the technical jargon.

Often, we see firms who have produced countless technical papers, on legislation or industry standards, that all end up sounding like an internal training program. Even worse, the same kind of jargon is produced by their competitors! Perhaps some of these documents were designed to send their target market to sleep, or to specifically confuse them in the hope they’ll call and ask “what’s this all about then?”. In any case, the usual reaction is for their market to switch off.  It may as well have been a text-book on calculus!

Your target market is not going to engage unless they can understand. Better still, if they read it and feel ‘all the better’ for understanding it, then their improved position will have been because of you. That’s thought leadership.

2. Educate

Support your target market to increase their knowledge and understanding on the issues around their pain points. Supporting them to become more knowledgeable, helps you to build rapport. Your confidence as an expert, coupled with sharing your knowledge as a teacher, boosts your standing as a thought leader.

Not only will you be helping your market understand but, when they do seek your help, they will be an easier client to deal with.

3. Add value

Educating your market delivers value, however, this alone is not enough. There are plenty more ways to deliver value.

You can take it a step further by explaining what this issue means for them and their business (or position). What does this issue mean to their compliance, systems and processes, staff, business partners? What does this issue mean to their clients?

An example:

A firm sent out an annual client survey, year after year. The data provided some great statistics and facts on their clients and the current state of the markets in which their clients operated. They produced a document aggregating their findings. But delivering this document and sharing with their clients was not thought leadership. It was simply providing them with some information.

They then amended their approach. They included an ‘opinion’ on the data. This included reflections in the key learnings and trends over the years. They discussed what various partners felt this would mean to different types of clients. They presented their predictions for the future, the challenges and opportunities ahead, and how their clients should prepare. Their insights enabled clients to make better informed decisions.

The icing on the cake was that the firm increased feedback from clients by a factor of ten. The next year’s survey participation rate grew and client appointments ‘warmed up’ with the sharing of this information, encouraging an improved understanding of each individual business and fee opportunities.

Making it about your market is the key to engaging and influencing. Sit for a moment and think about your clients and prospects. Take time to consider their unique needs. What do they need to know to make better decisions and improve their own business or position? What could you say that will make a difference?

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