A solid client attraction strategy is the lifeblood of every small business, and it doesn’t stop there. In fact, attraction is only the start of the relationship. Next is nurturing through a courtship phase before you make a business proposal and capture the client, marrying them, for a lifetime of business.
Connect You connect to a prospect online via social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Or you can connect offline via live networking events, trade shows, expos, conventions, and conferences. The goal is the same: to begin a relationship that creates interest and intrigue, moving them into the next step.
The key in this step is to know precisely who your ideal client is so that you know where to find them both online and offline. When that’s clear, your progress can be surprisingly fast. For example, Greg was a sales rep for a rug company, and his best clients were top end interior designers. Applying the C.R.E.A.T.E. process, he identified perfect prospects on LinkedIn and reached out to connect. Within the space of just a week, he applied the additional steps and landed two new clients.
Step 2. Relate
You relate with your cliff note bio. Your team members and sales reps will relate in the same way. This means you are looking for points of connection that will make you stand out in the marketplace. While it’s possible that your product or service is truly unique, that is extremely rare. Instead when you mine the gold in your education, experience, expertise, talent, hobbies, interests, and personality, you have one-of-a-kind connections that become the tipping points for your prospects to want to be connected and ultimately do business with you.
Your tipping points might include where you are from, places you’ve lived, schools you’ve attended, trips you’ve taken, hobbies and interests you have, being a Veteran, and more. I had a client hire me because we were both from California, another because we shared the same alma mater, despite being years apart and having different majors, while another shared the same college as my younger sister. At a recent event, a job seeker reported that his tipping point with a prospective employer was their mutual involvement in the same charitable organization. If you are a parent and so is your prospect, that gives you easy ground to relate at any age. Your tipping points make you memorable and magnetic to your prospect.
Step 3. Educate
Now that you have opened a relationship with the prospect, it’s time to start educating them into why they should choose your product or service. Educating through tools like blog posts, white papers, videos, podcasts, and more allows you to ditch the pitch. An educated buyer is your best client; they have checked out the alternatives and decided you are who they want to do business with. Educating your prospect enhances your credibility and increases your visibility.
Education is also the aim of an opt-in form that you have on your website to capture prospects who find you online or who you direct to your online presence for more information. Your opt-in is an example of your excellence and tempts them into providing their name and email for additional follow up.
Step 4. Act (Better Yet, Interact)
In this phase of client attraction and capture, you are building the relationship, and this means developing a dialogue with your prospect. You can skip broadcasting and instead focus on creating conversation both online and offline.
While email may be tricky to get through these days with filters of all kinds, you can almost always find your prospect on a network and reach out there. While few use the phone anymore, it is still a great way to connect voice to voice and is particularly effective with the over 40 professional. This step builds the relationship in a strategic manner so that you are enhancing your KLT factor.
Step 5. Touch
The touch step may seem old fashioned but is a reminder of how powerful staying in touch and a follow up formula are. Sending a hand written note, a postcard, or any other friendly, non-sales related snail mail even once a month will make you stand out from your competition. You can stick with electronic communication, but you risk not getting through as well as being just another voice in the digital crowd. Making a point of sending something that requires physical interaction is infinitely more memorable, even if it is a CD, a thumb drive, or other digital format. Branding your business to everything you send keeps you visible beyond the web. And when you can send something useful that your prospect will keep on their desk, in their purse or wallet, or on their refrigerator, you become more memorable.
Step 6. Engage
Engage is the step where the sale will take place, and it is the natural conclusion of the C.R.E.A.T.E. formula. You have effectively attracted your ideal client, captured their interest and contact, built a relationship, and moved them through courtship to the proposal of business, whether it is a product or service you are selling.
Engage is where they engage your business to deliver your difference for them. This process eliminates the need to pitch or sell because it is based on relationship marketing. Today’s business success depends on visibility and credibility leading to profitability