We have been supporting influencers in Business Development and sales for over 5 years now, and we continue to see them making the same mistakes over and over again.
These mistakes are especially glaring now with the shifts in the industry and the total saturation of the market… ensuring that in most cases, if you are making one of these errors, your ability to run a sustainable business is going to be limited.
Now, of course there are exceptions to the rule, so if you are someone who HAS done and this and it still all worked out for you, congrats! But in most cases… that isn’t going to be the case.
So, what ARE the biggest mistakes influencers make in Business?
- Build it and they will come.
We all know this proverb, but for whatever reason we have worked with so many influencers whose standard response to creating new products for their brand is “Find a brand to sponsor me and I’ll do it.”
IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY!
In fact, it doesn’t work that way in ANY industry.
You don’t “wait” to livestream until a brand is ready to invest in your livestream. You need to SHOW the value of the asset you build, you need to have some sort of variable of proof as to the fact you CAN deliver a product that will create return.
And, as your sales team and representative, we can not SELL a product that DOES NOT EXIST.
- The BRAND is your CLIENT!
So many influencers are confused about what they actually are in the industry. They get frustrated that brands don’t “respect” them, except they consistently slot themselves into being “talent” and treat their brand partners with terrible service.
In the big picture here, influencers are business owners that own assets that market for a brand. A brand subcontracts an influencer to perform a set task identified in the agreement or contract.
This means, influencers, that the brand is your client. That client management is up to YOU, and that you should be looking to over deliver on your project, and treat your client with respect AND with the goal of re-pitching them for future work.
- You are a BUSINESS, know what you sell!
As the CEO of your company, even if it’s a micro company, you need to fully understand what you do, how it compares in the industry, and what the results of your work are for your client.
We have worked with too many “experienced” influencers who still have no idea how to measure analytics, capture data and send off reports. If you want to be successful in your industry, (one that is utterly flooded with other micro companies) you need to be the BEST at what you do, and fully understand WHAT THAT IS!
The old sales concept of WHO ARE YOU, WHAT DO YOU DO, and WHY DO THEY CARE should be your baseline for every email you send out!
Invest into your learning, commit to growth, never, ever, get lazy or egotistical about what you deliver. There is always someone behind you in line, just like in every industry! So, what should you know to be the CEO of your company?
- Your monthly income, expenses and profit. Where you income comes from, where your expenses go!
- What your products are, and what they deliver in terms of ROI
- An understanding of what product to sell your client to achieve their goals
- An active, working sales funnel. A client list, and all required pitching material (stats, media kits, rates, case studies of previous clients projects)
- An understanding of all the publishing requirements and platforms your company uses to support the products you create, including an understanding of the Rules and Regs associated with these platforms.
- Knowledge of key areas and voids in the market to focus your company’s growth and learning. (scalability)
- Your competitors. Your strategic partners
- Reporting material, and an understanding of how to find the value in the data you include.
- Taxes, legal forms, contracts, invoicing and documentation
4. Permanent Success takes time
There is nothing FAST about sales. There is nothing IMMEDIATE about success. This is a long slog you are entering into, but if you are clever, determined and deliver excellent work, odds are you will find YOUR success.
I am always amazed at the emails I get from new clients who say “You’ve been doing my sales for 2 weeks now and I haven’t sold anything” Sales come from relationships, trust and proof of work. For influencers who have NEVER worked to think that with ONE email they will secure a large project … well, it just doesn’t work that way.
Sales, leads, cold calls, relationships, pitching…. all of this is done over months and years, not days and weeks. If you want to see success, get ready for a long ride, and never, ever think that success will be GIVEN to you, or DONE for you. YOU need to be as invested into your success as anyone you have teamed up with to help you.
5. Don’t Hire For Jobs You Have Never Done
One of the worst mistakes is reactive hiring.
If you do not UNDERSTAND the job that needs to be done, LEARN it before you hire someone to do it for you.
If you don’t, you will never understand how to measure the success of your contractors. You will never be able to work WITH them to achieve the most out of your investment.
We call these clients “absentee landlords”. You hire us to unclog a pipe, when in fact there are so many clogs on your pipes, no matter what WE do in our SILO, you will never have success.
You must work WITH your team. You MUST be able to be present and invest time into your business development and management. Help is there to HELP and absolutely no one can do this FOR you.
(That’s a lie, we can do this FOR you… but it is going to cost you A LOT)
What Does it All Mean?
In the end, these all equate to the same thing: people becoming “influencers” without the well rounded knowledge of what that position entails. If you want this to be a hobby, and something you do for “joy” go for it, but if you are “starting a business” then run it like one, and treat what you are doing and building with the respect that you expect from the industry. Know your job, know your industry, and don’t ever think that there is a magic easy button that will make you an overnight success!
Also know that Influencers come in all shapes, sizes and niche’s. Find the way to deliver your products how it works for you, and then don’t judge, analyze or obsess over opportunities that aren’t a good fit. The market is huge, and you need to focus on what you do best.
And finally, IF you sell, or we sell it, or it is sold by ANYONE… please deliver what you sell! Sales should be done with a long term vision and goal. But if your product doesn’t deliver, your ability for future revenue is eliminated.