Chasers vs. Nurturers
I believe an entrepreneur can fall into two main buckets when it comes to clients and lead generation: a Chaser or a Nurturer. A Chaser is someone who is always looking for new clients and gives the new prospects more attention than they give to clients they currently have. On the other hand, a Nurturer is someone who values the clients they have, works to maintain good relationships with those people, and gains leads from those clients sending friends or family to them.
If you’re just starting a business, you might be thinking, “Well, I have no pre-existing clients to nurture, so I have to be a Chaser.” When I started my real estate business, I thought this, too. Everyone was telling me how I had to find clients by cold calling, messaging my friends and family, and door-knocking, but that just wasn’t (and still isn’t) my style. It’s hard for me to call up someone I’ve never had any face-to-face interactions with and ask them to give me their business. That’s a hard-selling style, and it’s not me.
Because of that, I knew it would take a little while to build a book of clients, so I shifted my focus from cold calling to building materials and content that would provide value to potential home buyers. Fortunately, this type of content allowed me to interact with people in a more natural, genuine way. I could answer their questions and develop a relationship with them before I ever had to ask them to work with me.
Showing up for these people in a way that was more like a friend and less like a salesperson made them trust me, which then opened the door for me to offer my services to them. And to be honest, the ask is a lot less scary when you feel like you’re talking to a friend and already have a relationship established. In other words, I found a way to book new clients while staying in my preferred role: a Nurturer.
The key to nurturing client relationships: communication
After establishing a relationship, you have to continue to grow it. Think of a plant—if you bring it home and only water it those first two weeks, within a month it’s probably going to be dead. Growing your relationships with your clients is the same. You have to continue to water them to make the roots deep. Off the bat, this may sound like a large time investment, but it doesn’t have to mean spending hours writing personal emails or making hour-long calls. You can create a mix of automated and non-automated touches to help maintain contact.
For example, I automate or pre-script emails to send to clients during different parts of their buying journey. This saves me time but also helps them know that I’m conscious of where they are and the questions they might have during that milestone. Then every quarter, I take the time to send a personal text, write an individual email, or send a handwritten card to each of my previous clients, reminding them how thankful I was and am for their business and their referrals.
Keep it personal
I also make sure to ask about their lives, their homes, and their families. And when they respond with updates like the addition of a bathroom or a pregnancy announcement, it gives me an opportunity to reach out again, sending over a hardware gift card or sweet new onesie. These gestures make lasting impacts for clients because they know I value them as more than just a commission and a means to an end. Plus, because I’ve taken the time to build a personal realtionship, I’m able purchase gifts that I know the buyers really need and will appreciate. A thoughtful gift they’ll pull out multiple times to use is more valuable than a quick bulk-buy gift that may not be relevant to them.
Don’t stop when the project ends
Show your clients that you value them as more than just a paycheck by continuing to contact them after their project or transaction is complete. This creates the type of relationship where whenever your client hears someone mention they are looking for a service like yours, they don’t just recommend you but actually insist that their friends work with you. When you spend time on these relationships, you’re building champions for your brand and services, and that’s more valuable than chasing new leads you still need to vet. So nurture your relationships, establish deep roots, and watch the fruits of your labor come back to you.