How do you identify and gain the attention of the right kind of influential people who can help you succeed? By Gary C. Laney

Imagine you’re a newcomer stepping off a boat into a strange city. You have no money and no connections. You see people all around you engaged in commerce. Your goal is to not only survive, but to thrive. You want to build a life for yourself and your loved ones. And even more, your goal is to make a lasting contribution to your community. Someday, you hope to give back more than you’ve received.

Your problem: You’re in a position where you have little influence, few relationships, no partnerships in business. You could be a new college grad, or a new hire at a big company, or for this example, a new arrival in a city.

Your goal is to establish yourself. You do this by helping others. Over time, your relationships develop and your influence grows. With influence comes two things: security and the ability to foster positive change in your community, in your industry and in the world.

The challenge: Most people want influence but have no idea how to gain access to it. More importantly, even if they stumble into an opportunity to meet someone influential, they are not prepared to engage with a high-level influencer.

From my book, The Power of Strategic Influence. 10 Success Factors of Highly Influential Leaders, I teach you the five steps for cultivating relationships with influential people who can help you succeed.

Step 1. Define and identify the ideal profile of Centers of Influence (COI) for your business. This means, defining the relevant matchup criteria we’ll use to define the ideal COI for your business.

Step 2. Create a target list of reputable and well-connected business people in your industry. Now that we have established the criteria for the profile of the perfect COI for your business, next you should create a list of target COIs to contact.

Step 3. Determine how to meet the people on your target list of influential industry leaders. It does you no good to create a COI target list without an introduction vehicle to connect with potential COIs.

Step 4. Create a success plan for making the first contact. As Will Rogers once said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is especially applicable to highly influential businesspeople.

Step 5. Establish justifiable reasons, and value for the “Why” each targeted leader would want to re-engage with you and why having a longer-term connection would make sense. It would be a wasted effort if you got this far and then didn’t take the opportunity to establish a reason to re-engage with this new COI. Before you conclude the meeting, come prepared to offer a good reason to connect soon after the introduction if possible.

For in depth instructions and more details about developing your own powerful sphere of influence, about how to cultivate strategic relationships with influential business leaders in your industry, and step-by-step learning about the critical success factors to become a highly influential leader, pick up a copy of my Bestselling book, “The Power of Strategic Influence, By Gary C. Laney” at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other fine book store outlets.