The Nurture Toolkit
The first rule of nurturing your dream clients is to treat them as if they already were your most important clients. Treat them as if helping them to achieve a better business result was already your responsibility.
How do you treat your most important clients?
Frequent and Meaningful Conversation
How frequently do you speak with the contacts within your client companies? When you speak with them, what do you talk about? If you have retained these clients for any period of time, it is likely that you have frequent and meaningful conversations that make an impact.
Meaningful conversations are more than calls to simply check in.
To nurture your dream clients, the calls you make have to create value for the client. In order to create value for your dream clients on the calls that you make, you need to make the call in some way educational.
Can you make them aware of changes that may impact their business? Can you inform them of industry trends that might be an advantage or a threat? Can you share with them a point of view that may help them better understand their own business or how they may achieve a greater outcome using a business like yours—even if it isn’t your company they have chosen to use (yet!)?
We too often think of conversations that create and provide value as something that is limited to the people and companies who are already receiving our invoice. We tend to hoard our knowledge, frightened that our competitors will learn our secrets to creating value, when, truth be told, if what we know is significant, our competitors already know it, too.
If you want to be known as someone who creates value, then create value. Ultimately, it greatly improves your odds of differentiating yourself and your offering from your competitors, and it makes you a person worth knowing.
Continuous Generation of New Ideas
To retain your clients, you are continuously generating new ideas and new ways to make a difference. As their business changes, your business changes along with it. The ideas that you implement together are, more than likely, a great source of innovation (and not all innovations have to be earth-shattering, game-changers).
As you work to become more and more effective for you clients overtime, these changes that you make can become enormously valuable to your clients—and your dream clients. Share them.
Nurturing your dream clients is difficult, in part, because you have to continue to have something give that nurtures. Sharing your ideas about how your dream clients can take advantage of the changes and innovations that you are making for your clients is a way to both generate an interest and to set yourself apart as a salesperson (or sales organization).
More than anything else, your sharing of ideas and innovations that have made improvements for your clients is proof positive that you own the outcome, a rare commodity in sales (and other endeavors).
Instead of calling your dream client to check in and see if anything has changed, try this. Call and say: “We just identified a way to help one of our clients improve their profitability by 11%. Would you be interested in learning how we might be able to do the same thing for you? I am happy to share it with you.”
Then show up and share the idea.
Note: I know you may be petrified of sharing your ideas. Know this, even if you gave your competitors a blueprint of your strategy and directions, most could not execute it anyway. Those that could execute it are probably too arrogant to believe you have good ideas. Those that are good enough to beat you in a head to head to competition are probably good enough to notice the changes you make . . . because they are good enough to open conversations with your clients.
Nurturing your dream clients means providing something of value to them before they ever make a decision to buy from you. The ability for your ideas to make a difference for your dream clients is what sets you apart from your competition, and it is ultimately why they choose you. To nurture your dream clients, treat them like they are already your clients; treat them as if helping them to improve their business results was already your responsibility.
What are the most valuable ideas that you share with your existing clients? How would your dream clients benefit from those ideas?
How do you differentiate yourself in a crowded market, distinguishing yourself as a person worth knowing?
How do you create value before claiming value?
Make a list. How many of your dream clients, if asked, would say that you are a constant and never-ending source of valuable information and ideas?
Make another list. How many of your dream clients would respond in the positive if asked whether or not they believed that you would own the business outcome that you promised, should they choose to use you?
One more list. How many of your dream clients would call you first, should something change with their existing provider? Why would they call you?