The foundation of any word-of-mouth marketing effort is people. Your sphere of influence represents the overall number of people with whom you network. These are people you know either very well or as casual acquaintances. To evaluate your sphere of influence, take inventory of the people you already know.
Surprisingly, many people have never established effective networking relationships with others they’ve known for a long time. Preparing your inventory is as simple as asking yourself, “Whom do I know?” or, “Who knows me?” This includes everyone with whom you interact or might interact with, personally or professionally:
- Business associates
- Family members
Go through your software database, e-mail contacts, Rolodex, mobile phone contacts and business card collection. Discard the names of all people who have moved on or with whom you’ve lost touch. Analyze your relationships with the ones you feel are still current. Ask yourself, “How well do I know them?” Then determine whether each individual is a Strong Contact (a close associate with whom you will network actively) or a Casual Contact (an acquaintance with whom you will network passively).
Remember, the more people you network with actively, the greater your sphere of influence will be.