How good are you at influencing people? The ability to influence others is integral to the success of procurement professionals.
Not only is influencing stakeholders one of the most important “soft skills” of procurement, it’s also a critical leadership skill. So, if you want to take your procurement career up a level, it’s worth flexing your influence.
So, how do you influence people?
Use these strategies to influence stakeholders in procurement:
See influencing as a long-term strategy
Influencing is not a single event; it’s an ongoing interaction. You cannot wait until you need to influence someone before you start building a relationship and establishing your credibility.
Instead, use all your interactions as an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and build trust.
How do you achieve this?
This means not being just an email or a voice on the phone. Wherever possible, meet your stakeholders face to face or on video conferencing.
Putting faces to your stakeholders, and vice versa, will help you nurture personal connections and build trust.
BUILD YOUR SKILLS IN INFLUENCING TODAY IN OUR ONLINE SHORT COURSE: ENGAGING WITH AND INFLUENCING STAKEHOLDERS.
Influence from their point of view
The key to successful influencing is to build your reasoning around their perspective, not your own.
This means you need to do your homework. The more you know about the person you’re influencing — their goals, objectives and values — the better you can align your business case with what’s important to them and the more effective you’ll be.
In his TEDx Talk on “The Secret To Having Influence”, Ron Carucci talks about how the most successful influencers are eager to know about people and settings in which they want to have influence, and can adapt themselves and their ideas accordingly.
Start by mapping your stakeholders:
- Capture how they are related to your project and to one another. By seeing the big picture, you can see who influences whom and who is disconnected from whom. You can then use this build bridges and influence across stakeholders.
- Describe who they are. What’s their history within and outside the organisation? How do they see their role? What frustrates them and motivates them?
- Understand their objectives. What’s important to them? What are their targets?
Use different influencing styles
Don’t rely on one influencing technique. There are lots of influencing styles you can try to get results.
The key is to adapt your influencing style to reflect your audience and the situation. Assess the situation and work out which approach will be most effective.
Influencing styles include:
- Reasoning: Uses logical arguments, facts and evidence. It’s the most common influence technique.
- Inspiring:Appeals to an audience’s ideals and values and ideals, for example, you might use case studies and success stories.
- Consulting:Collects suggestions and inputs to increase ownership for a proposal.
- Collaborating: Offers to provide resources and assistance.
Listen to them
Turn your ears to your stakeholders and listen. Empathy and observation propel you towards connection, and that connection helps you build trust and influence more effectively.
Ready to build your skills in influencing? Sign up for our online short course: Engaging with and Influencing Stakeholders.