Depending on your location, your garden may already be planted for the summer, or maybe it has just made it into the ground. Now the summer of TLC lies before you… and hopefully some cooperation from Mother Nature.
Today’s tip is a great way to grow a client garden that won’t rely on Mother Nature to yield huge dividends. I’m going to encourage you to develop a simple habit that will take you no more than a few minutes a day, and will help you build your clientele for your advocacy practice.
Here’s how to plant a client garden:
Each day, send one email, or make one phone call, or send one postal note to one person.*
The goal is to do personal outreach to that one person to make them feel special, cared for, and important to you. That sort of personal outreach can mean the world to that person – and will yield dividends for your practice (and you personally, too.)
Who should the one person be?
- A former client who might need your services again in the future
- A potential client who you would like to contract with
- A current client, especially when the progress of their case has slowed a little
- An influencer – someone who might suggest to a potential client that you be their advocate (a friend or relative, a pastor or rabbi, a financial advisor, an HR worker, or many others.)
- Someone in the media who you have had touch with in the past to remind them about advocacy and your practice
What should your message be or say? Short and sweet. Concise. Friendly. Not at all pushy. Not demanding or with expectations. Just a note to provide a lift and a memory jog about you and your work.
It can include any or all:
- “thinking of you”
- a link to an article of shared or their interest
- a birthday, anniversary, or other greeting
- a personal thought
Send a handwritten note to a client whose work ended but with whom you would like to stay in touch.
“Dear Florence, Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you. I know your anniversary mammogram is coming up soon and I remember from my own experience that the anticipation isn’t easy!”
A phone call to a current client who is “on hold” with your work for any reason.
“Hi Mr. Gleason. Just wanted you to know I checked in with the insurer to be sure things are still on track. It required lighting a few new fires, but we should hear back from them by the end of the month.”
Maybe you’ve just finished reading a book that you know a fellow professional would enjoy – a professional who might refer a client to you one day. Stick the book in an envelope with a note:
“Jennifer. Remember that conversation we had about historical fiction? I just finished reading this and thought you might enjoy it. Keep it when you’re finished!” (Please note – no reference to work. Jennifer knows what you do – and you’ve just jogged her memory.)
Similar to the book mailing – a simple link in an email can create a memory jog, too.
“Mrs. Munson, I just finished reading this article about being left-handed and remembered our conversation while we waited in Dr. Jones’ office. Thought you’d get a kick out of the article!”
How should you begin planting your client garden?
Begin by making a list of all those people you want to reach out to. This list will be organic (pun intended!) as it changes over time (not unlike the seeds you plant, right?) Once you’ve reached out to someone, move them to the bottom of the list, but don’t drop them from it. You may want to reach out to them again.
Keep a calendar any significant days that might suggest your outreach: a birthday, an anniversary (including treatments, or work completions), even random or unusual holidays that would create a smile. Send notes a few days in advance, or call or email on “the” day. (Example: Mr. Fenster, a former client, got his new puppy while you were working together, so mark him down for outreach on March 23, National Puppy Day.)
Keep track of interesting links as you find them – news related or just general interest – especially if they remind you of a person on your list.
Fill in your calendar with names and the type of outreach you plan to do. Plan a few weeks or a month in advance so it will be simple to make your seed planting a daily habit.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly your client garden will grow! Your business will thrive! And your contacts will be truly appreciative.
*(I stopped short of suggesting a text. If you think it’s appropriate for the person you’re contacting, then of course, go for it. But in general, I don’t think texting is a good tool for planting this sort of client garden.)
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