Why you must become a “Key Person of Influence” in your industry

Some people lamented that this wasn’t fair but it looks pretty tame in comparison to today where we see the top 8% of people in the economy earning 80% of the available income.

I’s happening like this because in every industry there are three groups of people:

Newbies: Just starting out and gaining their skills and talent. They are usually fuelled by enthusiasm to rise up and achieve big things in their industry although they lack the knowhow and training to deliver real value at this point.

Worker-bees: They are great at what they do but often go under-recognised and unrewarded despite having value to offer. Often their enthusiasm starts to diminish as they spend years doing more mundane tasks than they are capable of. Due to advances in technology and outsourcing, these people have become more replaceable and even though they offer value, there’s plenty in supply.
Key People of Influence: They earn more money, have more fun and attract more opportunity. They are seen as highly credible, visible and valuable in their niche. They have a renewed sense of vitality for their industry because they are involved in high-value activities like speaking, writing, creating new products and leading teams.

The key people of influence in every industry are earning more money, having more fun and attracting more opportunity than ever before. Social media and other technology is opening up bigger markets to these influencers. No longer are they local heroes, at a click of a button their message goes global.

At the same time, technology is also making the functional roles within any industry or business lose their value fast.

Until you are a “Key Person of Influence” your full-time job is to become one! People think it takes many years to become one, they think it’s about academic qualifications, pure luck, looks or charisma. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Becoming a key person of influence is about 5 core strengths that anyone can learn and develop.

Pitching: The ability to clearly communicate your message in a way that enrols and influences people into your projects.

Pitching is a vitally important skill. If you have something of great value to offer but none can understand it, you’re stuck.

Throughout history every great business, movement or cause began with a powerful pitch. People who have had the chance to talk to Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey or Lee Kuan Yu say that their words are almost hypnotic and they have the ability to convince anyone who will listen that their plan is worth pursuing despite all odds.

With that in mind, most people realise they need to work on their pitch. A pitch will often take place in a social setting, in a scheduled presentation, in the media, when recruiting, briefing suppliers and in every sale.

A pitch should be clear, credible, relevant and memorable. It is an act of leadership and yet everyone within an organisation should have some training on how to deliver a powerful pitch.

Publishing: The ability to write compelling blogs, articles, reports and books that people can read, relate to and share with others.

Publishing your ideas into reports, blogs, articles and books communicates some important and necessary messages about you. It says that you have insights into your subject matter that are worth documenting.

It also means that people can read your ideas and get to know your story and your take on things. In the age of Google search, your message can spread far and wide when you publish ideas.

Publishing says that you must be either an expert or have access to experts. We assume that in order to write a report, article, blog or book, you must have some expertise in this field or you must have been able to interview people with an expertise.

Beyond the benefits of having published materials, the process of writing is also extremely valuable. Microsoft founder Bill Gates says “The process of writing clarifies your thinking”.

Productising: The ability to turn valuable insights into products (or “productised service-offerings”) that can scale.

Most people trade time for money but to really make it as a Key Person of Influence you need to get paid for products.

These could be products that you develop yourself or you could sell other people’s products. The key is scale; time-for-money simply won’t scale because the more successful you become the more you will burn out.

The first step in breaking the “time-for-money” trap is acknowledging that it doesn’t work for anyone. Clients don’t want to buy time, they want a result. Businesses don’t want to sell time, they want to earn money as fast as they can fairly deliver value.

A product is about delivering something in a replaceable and consistent way. A product could be delivered the same way in any number of cities across the world. Even services can be built like a product when it has a name, a method and standards of delivery that could be replicated by trained employees or contractors (I call this a productised service offering).

Profile: The ability to take ideas “above the noise” and to gain visibility for yourself and your cause.

If you are lacking a profile you will forever need to chase the things you need. If you need customers you must chase them, if you need an investor you must chase or if you need a new supplier once again you fund yourself on the hunt.

Key People of Influence have a profile in their industry and hence they attract opportunities. Rather than chasing after the things they need, you’ll see them curating the opportunities that have arrived.

They are able to look through inbound enquiries and select customers, suppliers, investors and contacts they want to pursue.

Beyond that, a profile can often be the deal maker or breaker. More often than not these days people Google their contacts before a first meeting or before negotiations are finalised. A person with a strong online presence will clinch the deal whereas a person with a poor profile or no profile may raise questions for the other people in the deal.

Partnerships: The ability to form strategic alliances with other valuable people who can make things happen faster.

Successful people are well connected people. They focus on their strengths and find strategic partnerships with others who compliment them. Richard Branson has 150 companies inside the Virgin Group and most of them are joint ventures and partnerships.

Often people who are struggling are trying to do everything on their own. They make the sales, deliver the work, do the accounts, update their own website and then wonder why they feel run-down.

The illogical idea is that after they become successful they will then recruit a team, however this would be as likely as football player who’s kicks a goal on his own then asks other players to join him on the field.

A Key Person of Influence is focused on constantly finding new people and organisations to help carry their vision forward. They find a core team as soon as they can, they partner with investors for their capital, they JV with distributors and forma alliances with other well known brands.

By leveraging the skills, talents and resources of others, a Key Person of Influence is able to become highly more valued through the connections they have around them.

Over the last 10 years the management Gurus have told people to “systemise”, “automate” and “stay behind the scenes”. They tell you NOT to raise your profile and show the world how special you are from fear of being in too much demand and having a business that relies upon you.

In a world of ubiquitous technology, the competitive advantage lies in your ability to become known, liked and trusted by people, not to hide behind the gadgets.

The reality is that the greatest entrepreneurs on earth spend most of their time positioning themselves as the most important person in their industry. Think of Richard Branson, Warren Buffett or Sheryl Sandberg; they all do their best to be known as the Key Person of Influence in their industries.

In truth, unimportant people don’t make millions. Unimportant people don’t need systems because they don’t win the business, they don’t attract the team and they don’t hear about the big-break opportunities. Your main job as an entrepreneur or leader is to become a Key Person of Influence within the industry you love and then to maintain it.

Article by Daniel Priestley:
Daniel is the best-selling author of the books “Key Person of Influence” and “Entrepreneur Revolution”. He is a successful entrepreneur who has grown a global business with offices in USA, UK, Singapore and Australia. Daniel heads up a world-leading entrepreneur growth accelerator for experienced business leaders over 35.


Daniel Priestley

Daniel Priestley is co-founder of Entrevo, a growth accelerator program in the UK, USA, Australia and Singapore. Author of two best-selling books - "Key Person of Influence" and "Entrepreneur Revolution”. He’s interviewed over 2000 entrepreneurs from startups to multi-billion dollar success stories. Previously he built several multi-million dollar businesses in event marketing and management.


Daniel Priestley is co-founder of Entrevo, a growth accelerator program in the UK, USA, Australia and Singapore. Author of two best-selling books - "Key Person of Influence" and "Entrepreneur Revolution”. He’s interviewed over 2000 entrepreneurs from startups to multi-billion dollar success stories. Previously he built several multi-million dollar businesses in event marketing and management.