I got several notes from readers saying engaging people is easy, nurturing is hard. How do you nurture people when you cannot be certain they will take your calls? Today, we talk about nurturing you best clients and partners in a more powerful way.
There are many ways to nurture clients. The critical element for success is to be aware of what options are available to you. Let’s talk about several ideas on how to connect and build relationships with your best clients at the right time. There are many ways to nurture stronger relationships with clients and partners.
I find that the more personal approach works for me. This means that you have to decide how to break down categories for your potential clients. Breaking your clients down by shared characteristics is critical to successful nurturing. Thinking of your clients as both an individual and an organization can pay significant benefits.
I have several classifications I break my coaching clients into. For example, I have a group of clients who are new in their roles, a group who are owners of their business, and those who are corporate leaders. There can be as many classifications as there are clients, but to achieve maximum impact you should invest your time breaking them into easy to understand groups. Each of these groups gets different information throughout the nurturing process.
I prefer to send clients personal notes along with articles, books, and slide share presentations. This allows me to connect with them on a regular basis without incurring significant costs, but still building goodwill. My business is built on a more personal approach to marketing.
Now when I was working in my business development role, I shared material that they may have not seen. This means I spend several hours a week looking for articles about their industry, competition, or even about their organization. This time investment also helps me understand their markets better.
People are so busy today, they appreciate being made aware of what they might be missing. At times, I’ve had CEO clients have articles published in their trade publications about their organizations and they didn’t even see it. It provides them a great opportunity to contact their team members to congratulate them on being featured in an article.
I’ve also discovered that there is so much material available to read, you can nurture clients by providing short articles about key ideas in their roles. I read several books per week to keep up with current trends and opportunities. My blogs let me share the best of what I read.
I find that having others share their perspectives on what is happening is more powerful than me sharing my ideas all the time. Many times, I’ve discovered that it takes a certain amount of exposure to a new idea before my clients want to discuss a topic. My nurturing approach ensures that clients are well prepared to talk when it’s the right time.
Now, how do I know when it’s the right time? This is where listening to your clients on social platforms can provide significant speed to the client nurturing process. Do you know what your clients are reading and focusing on? It’s easy if you follow their many social timelines. I use several tools to track what’s happening in my clients’ world.
I believe the most underrated aspect of social media today is the ability to listen to your clients in real time. Several times, I’ve seen a client share an article on a topic. Within a day I’ve followed up with them to see if they might need some help on the project.
In my nurturing call, I don’t say “Hey, I saw you shared an article on big data, do you need my help?” I’m more subtle. I ask a provocative question that sparks additional conversation. Since my clients are in similar situations, I might start additional conversations based on what I heard from the first client.
So many organizations are creating incredible content today. A smart marketer should share it with key clients to help educate those clients. I know what you might be thinking, do I really want to introduce my competition in my nurturing process?
There are two answers, the first is, if your clients is any good, she already knows about your competition. Second, most of these webinars fail to follow up after sparking interest with clients. In many cases, they don’t make it easy for you to add their webinar to your calendar or share it with a colleague. In short they don’t nurture their clients.
Finally, nurturing a client is different with every person you work with. To be effective at nurturing a relationship, you must understand what the client or partner wants out of it. Then work to find ways of providing that client value. Don’t squander your good will on bad experiences.
Next week when I return from my client’s unexpected off site meetings, I’ll share how to get more value out of your key partnerships.
This article was originally published on our sister blog Developing High Performing Teams.
See you next week.