Want to know one of the fastest ways to achieve your goals?
Become a person of influence. In the land of online influencers, I don’t necessarily mean you have to gain a million followers on Instagram and post selfies. That is just one narrow definition of having influence.
Influence is versatile: you can gain it in your neighborhood, office, within a volunteer organization, an industry, a country, or globally. It is not defined exclusively by the number of people who know your name. But it is predicated on how many of the right people do, as defined by your goals.
I tapped one of the people who is best in the world at it (aka is a global person of influence) to share some of his top lessons on becoming a person of influence, and how he’s applied these lessons to his personal life and businesses.
You may know him as one of the first “Sharks” on Shark Tank: Kevin Harrington. He recently co-authored with Daniel Priestley the book Key Person of Influence: The Five-Step Method to Become One of The Most Highly Valued And Highly Paid People in Your Industry. In it, they break down how to increase your influence, leave a legacy, and achieve your dreams.
In Harrington’s words, “At the center of every industry, you will find an inner circle of people who are the most well-known and highly-valued people. They are the Key People of Influence.
Their names always come up positively in conversations, they attract a lot of the right opportunities, they earn more without struggling, and their involvement in something makes it successful. And people know it.”
Harrington believes that many people are great at what they do, but feel unfulfilled. His solution: become a key person of influence, which results in more money, impact, influence, and fun.
I sat down with Harrington to give you a crash course on being a person of influence.
Build your personal brand
“If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to build your brand. You should be the most sought-after person in your industry that you can be. And I believe one of the first steps at accomplishing this is to raise your profile by writing a book or creating some amazing content.”
Always nurture your relationships
“Even before Shark Tank ever came about, I was always really good at nurturing relationships. I would stay in touch to send Christmas cards and gifts and have those people always thinking about me. I tend to have long-term relationships with people that I see regularly. So, that’s the other part of it. It’s not just staying in touch, but seeing them in person.”
Write a book
“Having a book gives you a great reason for a radio station, TV station, a trade show to have you featured as a guest speaker, as a participant, and this can be the beginning of many great things for lead generation for your company.”
Pivot when your industry does
“I had spent about 30 years in the world of ‘As Seen On TV’ space…and what happened in the industry? Viewership was dropping very quickly, and eventually experienced a 50% decline. So, I had to focus on finding other ways to get viewers instead of paying the high rates I was paying before. We asked, ‘Where did the 50% of those eyeballs go from TV? They went to the internet, so we started focusing on the digital world, selling different kinds of products, in a different way. We couldn’t use 30-minute infomercials to sell anymore on Facebook.”
“Test before you invest”
“We call it our ‘test before we invest’ model. We don’t have to spend huge money on TV. We can now test in front of smaller, more targeted crowds on the internet, and it’s been a very powerful change of direction where now we can do testing on a more affordable basis, get customers on on a lower cost per acquisition, and have more continuity of subscription models that are working for us.”
Take time off
“I work very hard, but I also enjoy taking vacations. If you’re working hard and running on all cylinders, you can’t go at your peak performance every day of the week, every month of the year. You have to recharge the batteries. It’s actually a very powerful time to be able to get away. I’ll take a few five-or six-day vacations throughout a year, but I like to have lots of shorter ones that give me a really good recharge.”
Know whether you’re ‘functional’ or ‘vital’
“Functional people are basically good at doing day-to-day activities that we need in the business, like media buyers or web developers. We also contract out a lot of functional work, like taking phone calls and customer service. We utilize tremendous amounts of functional people on an employee or contractor basis.”
“The vital people are generally very high-level. A lawyer or somebody in our financial area of helping raise capital, these are pretty important people that can be the difference between success and failure in many ventures.”
Focus on niches
“The riches are in the niches because the niches work on Facebook and Instagram and targeted digital marketing. We’re able to do golf products, pain products, and senior products because of this”.
Don’t focus on overnight success
“Some people think they could become an overnight success, and I will say it’s not impossible. There are definitely a few that have gone viral. However, it took me dozens of years to become a key person of influence in my world. If you think you’re going to go out and be at the very top of your industry in one or two years, generally, that is not attainable. Typically, the reality is that it takes a 4- to 7-year window to attain your top level of becoming a key person influence. Take Shark Tank and all the Sharks from seasons one through four. It wasn’t until about Season 5 and on that that show started really gaining tremendous traction to where people really cared.”
“I tell people that you should shoot for becoming as powerful as possible in 12 months. There are varying degrees of becoming a key person of influence. There are maybe only one or two top people in an industry. That’s going to take you longer if you want it. If you’re going to be the ultimate go-to person, it’s going to take a few years longer.”
Have your introduction down
“When I meet someone, I say that ‘I invest in people’s ideas, products, or services and help them super-charge their business and take it to the next step.’ I think that folks should have a couple of different answers to the question ‘What do you do?’. They should have an answer for a potential customer versus a potential investor.
Get your pitch right
“When introducing yourself or making a pitch, you need to tease, please, and seize. You tease by starting with some kind of an attention-getting problem. State the problem to get the attention of the person that you’re pitching. You please by solving the problem using features and benefits. It may be some testimonials or some magical transformation. Then you seize them.”
“People ask, ‘How do you give an irresistible offer, if you’re seeking capital, or you’re looking for investors?’ I say that a lot of people miss this step on Shark Tank. They come out, they try to give you a little entertainment. They teach you, they give you the solutions. and they please, and then they say ‘Okay I want a million dollars for 10% of my company’ and it’s like wait a minute. So, what I say people should do to make it irresistible is craft some kind of accelerated payback. Let’s say you need 100,000 for 10% of the company. You could say to the investor, ‘I’m going to give you a 100% of the profits.’”
Create lots of free content
“You’ve got to create a lot of amazing content to share with people, and you’re generally starting by sharing it on a free basis. If I’m just giving away stuff for free, will people want to buy?
There’s a delicate balance to that. You can’t give away too much for free or they’re always going to want it for free. But if you have a great pipeline and you can create amazing free content for folks, they get interested and they subscribe, then they’re most likely gonna be willing then to buy content from you. I think that’s how that works.”
Focus on partnerships, not customers
“I love partnerships. Out of the 500 products,that I’ve sold and launched, none of them was my own product. Some other inventor, some other company, somebody else who spent the time and money to create it, even trademark it, patent it, make the molds, get the product manufactured do all the hard work.”
Call three people
“When I want to test a new idea, I like to call people who are in my inner circle. I always like to ask a family member because they’re generally the most critical. My wife, for example, she pretty much will tell me exactly how she feels about something. She and I have been together 15 years, so she’s gotten to know a lot about the business, and she doesn’t even work inside the business. Also, I like talking to somebody in the digital marketing space. I’ll ask if he thinks this is gonna work on Facebook or Instagram. I’ll also ask someone in finance if the numbers work. I call it ‘the dream team’, and I think those are three good places to start: a family member, a digital person, and the finance operational person to vet the project.”
Make friends first, do business second
“I think that getting to know people on a personal level is very important. And that’s when I mentioned I get people to call me, with whom I started doing business 30 years ago. I like to do business with people whom I know and trust. In many cases, because I mentioned we do a lot of partnerships, it’s important to get to know them, their values. I like to know about their family, sometimes maybe there’s a vacation, we can go hang out together and get to know each other. I had a home that I owned here in Tampa that had a guest house. Every week, somebody was staying in that guest house; maybe a business ‘partner’, a friend, or somebody in from out of town. Getting to know your partners on a personal level can be very powerful and bring many projects to fruition more quickly because you get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I have some great partnerships, as well as a couple of people, who really understand that I need them to cover some of my weaknesses. The best partners I have are those who have really gotten to know me on a very personal level, and are able to fill in the voids of my weaknesses. In turn, I do the same thing for them.”
Grow your following
“I was sitting with Kim Kardashian the week that she was finalizing her deal with her partner, Ryan Seacrest, on the the show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. We were filming her first infomercial in my studio here in Florida. As she was leaving she said, “I’ve got this new TV show I’m looking forward to, you should tune in.” Now she’s got 120 million followers, her sister is a billionaire, and it’s amazing what has been created in some of these relationships with just tuning into creating brands and building your brand. I just believe that today’s world, the world of digital, the world of brand-building is so powerful for influencers, and entrepreneurs today to be able.”
“I don’t have millions of followers, but I’ve got 800,000 followers. It’s pretty cool to see that I can put something out and I have a real force in the marketplace to get people to attend, or respond, or give me their opinion, or feedback. The power of building your brand in today’s marketplace is amazing. I think anybody who to do it, can do it, if you put your mind to it by becoming a key person of influence and building your brand raising your profile.”
You are the company you keep
“I believe if you’re not hanging with the right people as you’re growing your business, you won’t raise the money. If you are hanging with the right people, the money is going to happen. Hang with the right network. I go to investment conferences, I get business cards of hedge funds and bankers, and money people. And so, you can dictate your own future and your own success by hanging with the right network and making your network more powerful, which will increase your net worth for sure.”
As Zig Ziglar famously said: “ You can have anything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want. ”
Want more success and fulfillment in your life? Then check out this free masterclass with Deepak Chopra and me. In it, we share the 5 key things you need to know to create a more meaningful life!
This article was originally published on Forbes.