#2 - Nurturing is the most important skill

September 15, 2020

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Nurturing is the most important skill in business. More important than sales skills and even your skills at delivering client projects. It’s something that is used at every step of a client’s journey with you.

Join Matt to learn more about nurturing and hear 11 important tips that he wants to share with you to help you nurture better client relationships in your business.

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Hello and welcome to the Nurture Flow podcast, with me Matt Davies. Today, we’re going to talk about why nurturing is the most important skill that you can have in your arsenal.

What do you think would be the most common response if you asked a crowded room of digital business owners what the most important skill is in business?

Many of them would say sales. It’s a fair answer, after all learning how to successfully sell your products or services is going to bring in revenue.

Some might say the skill of actually delivering the work. An obvious choice maybe, since if you’re selling marketing services… you should understand and be able to deliver them right?

But I would argue that nurturing is a more important skill than any other answer that can be presented. Let’s dive into that a little deeper…

When we talk about nurturing in business, we’re talking about the ability to foster and cultivate relationships. To be able to take someone who is a visitor to your website, on a journey, to a lead, a customer and right up to a loyal raving fan.

Nurturing is a skill that is useful in every single step of the journey that a customer will have with you.

Without naming any names, I know of at least 3 digital agency owners who openly admit to not having sales skills and are not the best at delivering the work for their clients. These agency owners all make multiple six figures in revenue each year.

They’ve achieved this by knowing where their strengths are. They spend time nurturing and cultivating fantastic client relationships, whilst employing others to handle sales, project management, and the delivery of the client work.

By building a team and focusing on what they’re good at, they’ve created successful digital agencies that they can continue to scale from multiple 6 figures, right up to 7 figures and beyond.

Blows your mind doesn’t it?

A good friend of mine, Nick Gulic, is currently working on his first course titled: Sell By Helping. 

This course came from a talk he did earlier in the year at Agency Transformation Live 2020. Nick gave a fantastic 25 minute presentation about his sales framework and how people could sell by helping.

The whole principle of everything Nick does in a sales meeting is to listen, help and educate his prospective clients. He lets them talk, whilst guiding the meeting in a direction that will get the most benefit for all parties involved.

This is a perfect example of nurturing a brand new relationship. A prospective client will respect you more when you give them time to listen, you ask the right questions and you have a proper understanding of what they do.

I’ll pop a link to Nick’s course in the show notes, so you can take a look at that if it interests you.

As you may have guessed from the name of my podcast, nurturing is extremely important to me. It’s something that defines pretty much everything that Mel and I do in our business, every single day.

We have two main principles that guide our actions. These are: Kindness First and Value First.

Kindness First is the beating heart of everything that we do with Nurture Flow. We approach every situation in our business with kindness. This helps us to build better relationships with our customers.

It’s really important to remember that kindness isn’t a weakness. It’s actually a superpower. I spoke about this topic at Agency Transformation Live 2020 earlier this year. If you’d like to watch the presentation, I’ll add that in the show notes on our website – nurtureflow.com.

Value First is a core principle for our business. It’s really important to us that we lead with value in everything we do. That includes creating content like this podcast, the free video series that we do on the Funnel Packs website, plus the blog posts and emails that we write for our audience.

Leading with value helps you to show your audience that you’re an expert, through the valuable content that you share with them.

Mel and I firmly believe that having a value first mindset helps people to stand out amongst their competitors. It’s why we also ensure that every product we create for our customers is created from a value first perspective. This also allows our customers to stand out from the crowd too.

By effectively nurturing and engaging with our audience, we’re able to build a tribe of people that care about what we do.

I should add in as well, that we’re not worried if someone finds that they’re not aligned with our values. It’s absolutely okay for them to have different beliefs – that’s part of life after all.

Mel and I both make sure that we’re open, honest and transparent in business at all times. 

This gives people with similar values an opportunity to be part of what we’re doing, whereas those who have differing beliefs can be gently qualified out and continue on with their lives.

I sent out an email to our Funnel Packs customers on this very topic last Friday, in answer to a customer who had asked:

“What do I do when people unsubscribe from my funnel? It’s making me worry that I’m doing something wrong or that something is out of place. Should I change my approach?”

The simple answer to this is that nothing is wrong and you do actually want people to unsubscribe. This can be a little hard to understand – since we’re often conditioned to believe that it’s “bad” when someone chooses not to receive our emails.

When someone chooses to unsubscribe, all they’re doing is letting you know that they’re not a good fit. That’s it.

There will always be some leads who are not a good fit. There’s nothing wrong with this.

It’s exactly the same process as when someone contacts your business asking for a proposal and you realise that they’re not a good fit for your business. You can take the opportunity to politely decline and move on.

You’ve set up systems in your business to weed out tyre kickers and unsuitable leads. When someone unsubscribes, this is an example of those same systems working to assist you.

Time is precious and a finite resource. It’s far better that you spend your time wisely on people that are actually interested in what it is that you have to say.

So how can you better nurture your customers?

I’m going to share eleven tips with you that I’ve learned over the years that will hopefully help you to nurture and cultivate better relationships with your tribe.

    1. Listen – There’s an old adage that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should use them in proportion. Nothing has ever been more true in business. It’s so important to listen to your customers. You’ll often find that by taking the time to listen, you can learn a lot more than you ever imagined possible.

      Pay attention in meetings. In fact, I highly recommend that you record every meeting you have with your clients (with their permission of course), as it’s a great tool to refer back to. 
    2. Be honest – I probably shouldn’t have to say this to other adults, but it’s vital that you’re honest with your customers. If something goes wrong, do the right thing and be honest about it.

      I’ll always remember working briefly with another web designer many years ago who told lie after lie to his clients. He would never admit fault and it got to the point where he was making notes about the lies he had told, just so he could keep up.

      Honesty is a simple sign of respect to both your clients and also to you. 
    3. Say thank you – One of the things that we never say enough in life is “thank you”. They’re just two simple words but they can mean everything to the person you’re saying them to.

      Are you saying thank you to your clients when you finish a project with them? It’s an easy thing for you to do that can really strengthen the bond of your existing and future relationship.

      One of the things that I used to like doing was to find a company that sold cupcakes local to my client. Then order a dozen (or two) of cupcakes to their office. Not only did this brighten up their day, but it also helped a small local business in their area too.

      It’s not a coincidence that I became affectionately known as “the cupcake guy” to many of our clients.

      You don’t have to stick with food items. Your client may have expressed a love for a certain sports team or hobby during a meeting. It’s easy to show them that you’ve listened and you care by saying thank you with a gift that’s personal to them. 
    4. Do your research – You should always be researching your market and your audience, staying up to date with the latest trends and information.

      One of the easiest ways to do this is to survey your customers regularly. We try and do this at least once per quarter.

      By talking to your customers regularly, you have the opportunity to shape your future offerings to suit their needs and desires. 
    5. Share your knowledge – It’s no secret that your clients love to be working with experts that are highly knowledgeable in their field. That’s one of the reasons why they hired you in the first place – because you demonstrated your expertise.

      Are you sharing your knowledge effectively on a regular basis?

      You can do this through blog posts, your email newsletter, creating videos and podcasts. You can even star as a guest on someone else’s podcast or write for a respected publication.

      Positioning yourself as a thought leader and sharing your valuable insight helps to build trust with your current and future customers. 

    6. Practice transparency – This goes hand in hand with honesty, which we spoke about a little earlier. Being transparent with your clients is a key element to building trust with them.

      One of the first steps that a new client will have with your business is through your on-boarding process. Creating a simple, clear and transparent onboarding process will help your clients to understand exactly how you work and what they can expect from you at each stage of a project.

      Another simple option here is to avoid using jargon and to speak in a clear language that your customer will understand. It’s all too easy to present a “marketing funnel” to a client and to have them blink at you repeatedly because you’ve just said two words together that have the effect of something like: “potato submarine”. 
    7. On-going support – The relationship between your business and your clients is meant to be long-lasting. No client ever wants to sign up to work with your business for just one tiny project.

      When you’re nurturing your clients and cultivating the long-lasting relationships that both parties are interested in, it’s important that you’re continuing to offer support and guidance to them.

      In the digital agency world a common way of supporting clients on an on-going basis is through offering a website care plan. This is where the client’s website is looked after on a monthly basis, keeping it safe, secure and updated. It offers peace of mind to the client and allows them to focus on important tasks in their business, without worrying about their website.

      On-going support could also come through a regular email newsletter, where you’re sharing tips and advice for your clients’ businesses. 
    8. Gather feedback – No matter what type of feedback you get from your customers this always presents a learning opportunity for your business.

      There are many ways for you to gather feedback, including surveys, focus groups, simple questions on social media or through emails. Sometimes you’ll even be lucky enough to get some completely unsolicited feedback – I know we all REALLY appreciate that, right?

      Positive feedback shows that you’re doing the right things and gives you the knowledge that you can do more of this to help your customers. Negative feedback, may sting a little. If you can, take a step back from the emotional side of things and look at it constructively. This will give you opportunities to make changes if they are truly needed. 
    9. Generate referrals – There’s a certain level of fear from digital business owners sometimes when it comes to asking for a referral. There are still many business owners who reach the end of a project and then move on to the next one.

      Through nurturing your clients and building great relationships, you leave them ideally suited to referring friends and colleagues to your business.

      The end of a project is the perfect time for you to ask for referrals. Build this into your off-boarding process. You can automate an email sequence, drop it into the footer, or even just ask in a meeting.

      Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, I promise that it’s easy for you to ask for referrals. 
    10. Reach out periodically – How many clients have you worked with in the past on a project and never really spoken to again in the future? I’ve asked this question to over 100 digital agency owners in the last year and over 50% of them answered with 5 or more.

      If you ever reach a difficult point in your business and you’re in need of some additional revenue quickly, your previous clients can be a good opportunity for you to reach out to.

      These are clients who already know, like and trust you. They understand your processes and most importantly, they’ve paid you money for your services.

      Now, I’m not advocating that you reach out to them all right now and try and pitch services. That’s disingenuous and not what the spirit of nurturing is all about. Instead, I’m suggesting that you build into your processes a time where you regularly catch up with clients.

      Set up notes in your calendar 3 months after a project ends and regularly follow up with your customers. Not only will you continue to cultivate a great relationship with them, but when you LISTEN to what they have to say, there will likely be future potential opportunities for you to work together. 
    11. Do something crazy – Now this one is a bit leftfield but I want you to think about how you can do something that makes you unique and memorable in the minds of your customers.

      This will be really different for every person listening as you offer different services to different audiences and vitally, you have different personalities. So one person’s idea of being unique isn’t going to fit someone else’s wheelhouse.

      The point is that you’re creating great experiences for your clients by being you and going above and beyond a standard boring client relationship.

      Mel and I, for example, have given away over $20,000 worth of our products to our customers, as well as continuing to create free content for them. We both feel that it’s important to say thank you regularly and to share our gratitude with our customers. Earlier this year we even gave away an experience to one customer that they could enjoy with their family – think hot air ballooning, going to a race track, white water rafting etc.

      In addition, through small flash sales and events we have given away close to $125,000 in discounts to welcome new and existing customers on board with us.

      It’s not really about the money or the discounts though. It’s about sharing love, honesty and kindness with people who are on our wavelength. We become memorable through our actions and through the way that we talk to our customers.

Nurturing is a powerful ally to have in your business. It’s a skill that you can use every single day and at every stage in your customer’s journey.

If you can master just a few of the tips that I’ve shared with you today, you’ll be well on your way to creating better client relationships. These will not only bring you more revenue to your business, but more importantly, more happiness.

It’s too easy to fall out of love with your business when you get stuck working with clients that aren’t a great fit for you. When you set up more effective processes and you master the skill of nurturing, you’ll be able to gently let go of clients that are not fun to work with.

I’d love to hear what your biggest takeaway from today’s episode is. What will you be able to put into action in your business that will help you to nurture better client relationships in the future? Let me know in the comments on our website – nurtureflow.com.

Likewise, perhaps you don’t agree with me that nurturing is the most important skill in business. If you don’t, this is completely okay. Everyone in the world has different opinions and yours is just as valid as mine. Let me know what skill you think is more important and let’s have a discussion about it. My door is always open.

Finally, I just want to add that I’ve recorded and edited this episode today on my 37th birthday. If you found this episode valuable, it would mean so much to me if you would consider donating $5 to your favourite charity.

This is something that I’ve asked our customers to do in our Facebook group, as it would be wonderful if we could all come together to help those who really need it right now.

As always, If you enjoyed this episode, please feel free to subscribe in your podcast player of choice. I’d also be honoured if you’d consider leaving a rating or a review if you feel that the content is valuable to you.

Have a great day ahead, you’re awesome, take care!

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