How to influence other entrepreneurs

Whether you’re starting out as a new entrepreneur or are well established in your industry, having connections within the world of entrepreneurship is very valuable. It’s not always easy to influence other entrepreneurs in your favor, but with the right skills, you can become a strong influencer who connects with others and develops strong partnerships. As a group, entrepreneurs tend to be creative, tolerant to taking risks, responsive, and good leaders, so appealing to these characteristics can help you go further in your goal to influence them.

According to statistics from, 90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations. If you can get fellow entrepreneurs to recommend your product or service, you’ll likely see a higher return on your investment than you would by putting out a paid ad campaign. The same research study showed that only one-third of consumers trust advertisements.


When someone comes up with a new idea for a product, design, or way to do something, he or she likely has strong creativity skills and is willing to look at things in different ways. Focus on creative ways to influence entrepreneurs since they’re more likely to respond positively to unique concepts. Use visually appealing techniques that capture others’ attention and draw them into your message.

High tolerance to risk

A successful entrepreneur must be open to taking risks. It’s impossible to succeed without stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something different. Many entrepreneurs remember the moment they decided to walk away from their comfortable, lucrative careers to start businesses or develop new products or ideas. Since you typically must have your own risk-taking moment in entrepreneurship, you can focus on this concept when reaching out to influence others as well.

It’s important to approach any business deal or partnership with confidence, even if your idea does require some risk. When you walk into a meeting with the facts, figures, and information that other entrepreneurs need to know, you’ll look more prepared and trustworthy. It’s hard to consider investing in or partnering with a business if you don’t know what the company brings to the table. Try to think subjectively about how you would feel if someone approached you with a similar business proposition and how you might react.

Influencing other entrepreneurs requires similar skills to influencing other people in business. Improving your techniques and understanding what people want to hear when making decisions to invest in or partner with an entrepreneur can help you achieve greater success.

Improve your influencing skills

Make an emotional connection

It’s hard to identify with people, or even remember them, if they didn’t connect with you on an emotional level. If you want to influence someone, you need to make sure your pitch or proposition appeals to him or her on a deeper level. According to research performed by molecular biologist John Medina, the production of dopamine stimulates the pleasure-reward area of the brain that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. When you make an emotional connection, you may find that the person you’re talking to experiences that positive feeling, helping him or her feel good about what you’re saying.

Television commercials that stimulate emotional responses also tend to have higher returns. Advertising and marketing professionals rely on this technique to influence their consumers, so entrepreneurs should use it as well when connecting with others in their networks. You don’t have to dig too deep to make a connection. Simply ask something like, “What was the best part of your day?” or “What made you decide to go into entrepreneurship?”

Focus on body language

When you walk into a meeting with an entrepreneur, your body language plays a bigger role than you may realize. Many of us are so focused on the words we plan to say that we forget about what our bodies are doing subconsciously. If you’re feeling anxious, you might engage in nervous habits like twirling your hair, tapping your pen, or shaking your leg. These signs all give off your nervous energy and can cause people to lose confidence in you and your business ideas. Those struggling with low self-esteem might walk in with their shoulders hunched and head pointed toward the ground.

When you want to have a positive influence on someone, you need to walk in with confidence and maintain that air throughout the meeting. Hold your head high and keep your shoulders set back and loose. Immediately reach to shake the person’s hand to show that you are professional and consider yourself to be his or her equal. Smile and make eye contact throughout the discussion to convey confidence in yourself and what you’re saying. With some simple changes to the way you present yourself physically, you can become a stronger influencer.

Stay open

It’s hard for others to connect with you if you’re closed off to discussion of struggles, flaws, or weaknesses. Every entrepreneur can tell a story of when they hit rock bottom or felt like he or she wasn’t going to succeed. These experiences help you seem more real and likeable, so talk openly about them. Finish the story with how you have overcome those obstacles to achieve success. People are more likely to relate to you when they feel you are a human being with struggles and achievements, rather than someone who has fallen into success without encountering any challenges along the way.

Ask for a favor

If you’re looking to form a partnership with a fellow entrepreneur, consider asking him or her for a favor to improve his or her perception of you. Don’t ask for anything too extreme, since this could make you look needy, but think about a way you could ask for advice, guidance, or opinions that could help you succeed. Unless you’re going into a direct competitor, the person with whom you’re meeting is likely to feel good about himself or herself when you ask for his or her guidance and will likely be willing to share. Doing so shows that you believe in that person and trust his or her opinion enough to request it.

Work on your charisma

Think about the most charismatic person you know and how you feel when he or she is around you. You probably think about the positive feelings you experience when talking to people with a lot of charisma. Research performed at the MIT Media Lab showed that the majority of people won’t always remember what a person might have said or what he or she looks like, but will remember how the person made them feel. With the right amount of charm and appeal, you can capture the attention of just about anyone and become more memorable after the meeting ends.

If you’re struggling to improve the way you come across to people, take a few small steps to get started. Align your torso with that of the person to whom you are talking and point your toes toward him or her. Tilt your head slightly to show that you are engaged and listening to what he or she says. These nonverbal behaviors can help you connect with a fellow entrepreneur.

Become interested in others

It’s not easy to identify with someone who is self-centered. If you’re constantly going on and on about yourself without taking time to get to know the other person in the meeting, he or she is more likely to tune you out and think about something else. When you make others feel important and show that you care about them, they tend to open up more willingly. All people want to feel accepted and liked, so taking the time to show interest and get to know others can go a long way in influencing them.

You can manage this task by asking open-ended questions and really listening to the answers. When people start talking about themselves in positive ways, they tend to build rapport with the person to whom they are speaking. When you build good rapport with other entrepreneurs, this can help widen your network and increase connections with others in your industry. This could also help you to grow your business.

By taking the time to improve your influencing skills, you can improve the way you connect and work with other entrepreneurs. Relying on the experiences and feedback of others who have been in similar positions to yours can help you avoid mistakes and improve your chances for success. You may also want to partner with other entrepreneurs to increase sales and expand your business. With the right set of skills, you can have a greater influence on those with whom you want to work.

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