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I couldn’t have a series of interviews about business relationship building if I didn’t include someone who lives and breathes these practices – Not to mention someone who teaches it, daily! Stephen Woessner is an authority on nurturing relationships to grow your business (among many other things). He’s a friend and a client and I’m happy to share that he spent some time talking about his company’s efforts and strategies.
Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI. Every day he works with agencies, business coaches, and strategic consultants to help them fill their sales pipeline with a steady stream of right-fit clients. And he’s also the best-selling co-author of Sell With Authority.
When I asked Stephen to talk with me about the success his team has had with a strong focus on the type of relationship building that powers business growth he shared, “we’ve been doing this now for 13 years. There’s always room for improvement and we do that with a series of tests through our lab.” The practices that Predictive shares are always first tested in-house and then taught in full transparency. In our conversation, we dug right in at the top – The relationship building process that Predictive ROI uses for lead conversion and has been finessed over time.
Stephen, along with his good friend, Drew McLellan, wrote about a process for nurturing leads in their best-selling book, Sell With Authority. It’s something that Stephen has been using for a long time and he calls the Dream 25 (a name we also use at The Expressory). In the book, (which Stephen offers for free here), Drew calls it the Nano 25 process (Chapter 10).
Regardless of its name, this process is used to make sure that you are top of mind with your 25 dream leads so that the moment they are ready to make a purchase, you have an opportunity to win that business.
Several of the agency owners we’ve interviewed have discussed this Dream 25 process. This nurturing system is either something that they are working toward, or they are in some stage of implementation. It was clearly a top project for many when they talked about up-leveling their relationship-building efforts. When I asked why this process was an important part of marketing efforts at Predictive, Stephen summarized, “it forces me to be better, more strategic, and it forces me to raise the bar of excellence inside the business.”
The Dream 25 process is something we’ve written about before, here (link to Lori Jones’ blog) and here (Link to Nicole Mahoney’s Blog). The basics of how it works look like this:
Identify your Dream 25 prospects or at least a batch/subset. You should include no more than 25 at a time. Since this is such a personalized effort, you cannot possibly be good at nurturing more than 25 at once.
Plan for 7 touch-points throughout the course of a year, most of these being physical mailings of some sort. The key is that this material is HELPFUL to the lead. It should be things that they can’t get elsewhere so that they feel important.
Design the experiences to be sent for each touch point. You can get a complete description of how to create emotional-invoking experiences in our free guide to Create Emotional Loyalty by Design.
Making the investment in a relationship with your leads keeps you front of mind, builds trust, and shortens conversion times. Each touch point leads to the recipient remembering you longer and finding you even more valuable.
Getting started can often be a daunting task. There are 2 decisions that seem to hold up most business leaders from moving forward with implementing a system like this. Below you’ll find those decision points and suggestions for moving past them.
What we have found is that deciding which leads to add to the list of the dream 25 will hold many owners back. Stephen told us that in his experience, this is a sticking point for most agencies because they have to get really clear on who they want to serve.
Suggested approach: Here are a few exercises that can serve as a guide for identifying your niche market.
Determine which of your current clients you enjoy serving the most. Find the similarities and identify what makes them a preference for service.
Find the overlapping problem that you solve for them.
List your core strengths and passions.
Once you know your target ask yourself - Who would I most love to serve within this niche? These are the prospects that belong on your list.
We find that the next roadblock happens when it comes to identifying a budget for this system. As soon as you start planning each touch point, it becomes obvious that there is a pretty significant investment involved and that’s when most people start to pause or completely shy away from this effort. What we most often determine is that it’s not the budget itself, it’s the list of identified prospects that needs to be adjusted.
Suggested approach: The suggested investment for this effort is $1,000 per prospect (over the course of 1 year). And before you spit out your coffee, here’s why – each business on your list should represent the possibility of 5-10% of your total revenue. When you review your initial dream 25 list, chances are you’re going to find that you didn’t set the bar high enough in your target.
Think about the potential increased revenue that an approach like this will have for your organization. Stephen tells us that it “forces clarity around who it is that we most want to serve. We’re going to be super intentional about that relationship over 12 months, we’re going to do a high touch every six to eight weeks so that they know we’re serious about being helpful to them. They feel special and then eventually we get an at bat.”
Does all this hard work and investment pay off? Stephen shared – “It works really really well.” He did write about it in a book, after all! According to the recommendations above, converting at least 2 of these Dream 25% prospects per year would mean an increase of 10-20% in business.
In today’s world, we spend so much time building our lists and our reach. Imagine what type of momentum you could create if you also included a focus on truly reaching people. What type of business growth could you have if you got down to the human level with more of your connections? This is where the improved conversion and long-term loyalty will be developed in our high-tech world going forward. Take it from those who are practicing it every day, like Stephen – “It’s actually really inexpensive when you think about the cost of finding that next best teammate, partner or client. And keeping them…By stepping out, by being generous, by sending great gifts, by being thoughtful, by caring and being compassionate, by meeting people at events, by actually truly being a good, generous, thoughtful, smart and being willing to share your smarts – [these things] all totally stand out. Because the wheat just got separated from the chaff.”
Helping businesses stand out through improved relationship building is the cornerstone of what we do at The Expressory. Let's get to know each other and find out if The Expressory can help you grow your brand through personalized experiences. Click here to set up a Marketing Strategy Session or click here to download our free guide for Creating Emotional Loyalty by Design. Let us show you how to design a unique experience that sets you apart.