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One of the reason that motivated me to become a Relationship Strategist after 6 years in Sales is the non-stop calling I get from my friends and relatives to ask me for advices on subjects like starting an intimate relationship, dealing with friends/family, or even developing a network. Unconsciously, I’ve always been able to have and maintain an enviable and respectable relationship with all the people I’ve been in touch with. As matter of fact, once you get in touch with me, you never forget about me, that’s a fact. And somehow, I always knew which door to knock at to ask for help and always, I got the door opened. I then understood once I sat down about 6 years ago, when thinking of that blessing of mine, that to some extend, life is all about trying to know somebody who knows somebody who can answer or hlp us answer the what, why, where, how, when of our ultimate goal. Therefore, I tried to figure out an easy way or technique that I could teach to other and that could help them to better manage their contacts. I call that technique the Circle of Influence lists or COI.
Why “circle”? – Because people’s importance in your life rotate according to your goal. For example, today Pat might be an influent key player when it comes to find the nice parties. However, tomorrow, the same Pat, now decision-maker in a company might be an influent key player when it comes to closing a big deal or generating big leads. Each circle represents a goal to achieve.
Why “influence”? – Because the people in each categorized circle are able due to their expertise or uniqueness (job, location, contacts…) to help you towards accomplishing your goal.
Why “list”? – Because the whole purpose is to generate a list.
The COI list is a categorized and classified list of all the people you know. The purpose of this list is to help you be aware of the people around you who have the ability to give you a hand. There are lot of websites now such as linkedin that help to stay updated of what people do and to even have on your network people you never met but you can connect with. Those are wonderful tools that you can put at your service and that can help you know which door to knock at when you need something, and also and more important to anticipate.
Other than having an updated, categorized, and classified version of people around me that I know, the other benefit the COI list is to help you think in advance and to plan. As we grow, we all have a bucket list, a list of things we want to realize, to accomplish before the end of our time down here, whether or not is to get married, run our own business, or make a special trip. What usually happen when you do not plan in relationship? What usually happens is that a person of influence for the advancement or even accomplishment of that ultimate goal comes to us by surprise. Imagine you go out at a party then you see Pat, a great high school friend you lost contact with and he is a contact of influence for your ultimate goal. If you already put some thoughts and work to determine and write down that ultimate goal, then you will directly see the value Pat can bring to the table. However, if a pre-job hasn’t been done, then you will notice only later (maybe it will be too late) that Pat was a key person to have approached, solidified, and maintained the relationship.
How To make the COI list
- Think, define, and write down your bucket list – Ask yourself what do you want to accomplish in life and just write it down without thinking if it is worthy or not, without asking if it make sense or not, without asking if it is feasible or not. Just think of it and think big, then write it down. If you can, and I do recommend it, think of all what you want to accomplish in your personal life, social life, professional life, and even your religious life.
- Make the classified list – Make a list of all the people you know with of course all the contact information possible you can have about them (work/office/mobile phones, location, place of work, title, websites, blogs, social networks IDs…) and categorized as follow:
– People you know very well (usually best friends and family)
– People you’ve collaborated with for a long time (colleagues, school friends, sports friends)
– Friends from friends that are your friends but not directly linked to you (you met them through your friends)
– Strong clients
– Social network (linkedin, hi5, facebook…)
- Categorize and rate – Affect each of the generated contact list to the circle of goal that best matches with the circle of goal where they can best have an influence in helping you realize it. The closer the people of the circle are from the center of the circle, the more their influence. Do not forget to rate those people with stars. The more stars they get, the stronger your relationship with them at the time before you any involvement in any of your plans.
Two years ago, the company I was working with sent me to Oregon for a three-month sales campaign. By that time I already knew I wanted to run my consulting company as a relationship strategist and also I already knew I wanted to have a website that will help me spread out words from experts to empower people, but I had no practical knowledge about internet marketing. I didn’t know how to build a website, how to create a mailing list and make it grow, how to increase the SEO ranking… I then make my COI list on the goal of setting up my website and build and be present in the net. Thanks to one of my big client Tony Manso from Oregon (Tony is the Founder of AMELab.com) who is now my mentor in website building, thanks to my friend Yacine Bahri in France (Yacine is the Founfer of Buzzmoica.fr) who helped me in understanding how the SEO works and other practical information about internet marketing, thanks to my brother Gabriel Foussouo in Cameroon (Gabriel is the Founder of Accent) who inspired me on designing websites, and thanks to my team member and associate Sandro Gohoho in Canada who is of a great motivation in keeping up with the project, thanks to all of them, today my goal in becoming a well-known Relationship Strategist is in good track. I have founded and run a website (Act2be.com), two bogs (Act2be Blog and the Relationship Matters blog), I am invited to give speeches through the Toastmaster International network, and I inspire people. Do you feel it would be a great idea to count me as one of your contact in any circle? Then follow me at any of my social network page: my facebook page | my facebook fan page |my twitter page | my linkedin page