Quick quiz: What’s better, a huge list of potential clients or a smaller list?
The answer may surprise you. A big list isn’t always better.
There are many entrepreneurs who have huge lists. However, that’s not the same thing as a community. The difference is the connection. If you haven’t built connection, it doesn’t matter how big the list size is. You’ll have a really hard time cultivating a community that cares what you think and say and have to offer. It’s all about cultivating relationships and connecting with others. Those connections are what bring people to you, signing up for your seminars, registering for your programs, and filling your practice.
So even if you have a smaller list, if it’s filled with people who know and trust you, they will be so much more likely to want to take the next steps with you. They will want to tell others about you. That is so much more effective than having a huge list.
Many entrepreneurs have what might be considered "small" communities, yet you’d be amazed that they are able to earn high incomes and fill their programs over and over. It’s because these people aren’t just some list. They are a community. When you create your own community, you’ll see how powerful it can really be.
Now that you know how creating your own community is essential to filling your practice, what do you need to do? Grow that community!
So how do you build your community?
Create a Campaign to Enlist New Clients. Make a list of three groups, or tiers, that I envision as different tiers on a tree, similar to when you go apple-picking. The people who end up on these lists are the ones you’ll be inviting into your services or products:
- Tier One: First, the low-hanging fruit on the apple tree, these are people you’re fairly certain are 100% aligned with you. That’s prospects that are the sure-fire bets. This group can include past clients, people who may have reached out to you but didn’t quite follow through, and people who’ve expressed interest recently whom you know are aligned for the offering. You just walk up to the proverbial tree and pluck them.
- Tier Two: These are people who are a little more work to bring down from the tree. These are people you know who know other people who would be interested in your offering. These are referrals; the first are current clients, past clients, and other people you know. These are people you might ask specific requests from. For example, you know that your colleague Sandy is close to Christine. You don’t know Christine very well but you know she would really benefit from your offer, so you ask Sandy to recommend your program to Christine.
- Tier Three: These are people for whom you might have to climb up the first or second bough of the tree to reach. This is everyone else you know who might have an interest – here is where we move from contacting individuals (like in Tier One and Tier Two) to inviting groups of people – people on your newsletter list, people on your local parenting listserve, people from a networking community, etc.
Get In Touch
Contact your first tier first. They’ll be the easiest to reach and the easiest to enroll. I recommend calling or emailing, and creating a template that can be personalized for each person. Let them know that you’re inviting them to your program, outline the program, and make sure:
- The outreach is individual – if it’s an email, make sure the person’s name is on it, and that you send it out to each person individually. I recommend this because your prospects will pay MUCH more attention to your email if it addressed to them individually and personalized.
- Be really clear that you’re not just sending this email out to everyone. They are receiving this email because you believe they are a very good match for your offer. Tell them why they are such a good match.
- Authenticity. You need to really BE aligned with the people in this tier!
- Excitement: let them know how excited you are to be sharing your work with them.
- Call to Action. This is a common problem area for entrepreneurs in both online and offline marketing. You must make a call to action to invite prospects in! My favorite way is to invite someone into a private call with me where we’ll have the opportunity to get clear over the phone to determine if the offering is indeed right for them, and how it can benefit them. Now, a call isn’t necessarily the best CTA. If your offering is a 100-seat performance, you don’t want to have to call 100 people! Sometimes, the CTA is "tell your colleagues" or simply "click here to register" or "Come!" The CTA may change depending on your offering or your marketing channel, but you must have one!
For Tier Two:
Create an email or phone template. I prefer to start with email and then set up a phone call. You may prefer to just pick up the phone – you know what’s right for you. If you call, I highly recommend creating a script for yourself so you remain clear and know what you’re going to say.
Let them know why you chose them: you’re not just asking anyone on the street for a referral. You sense that they are a great source of referrals for good reasons. List those reasons.
For Tier Three:
You can send out a group email for this group. Perhaps this is your entire newsletter community, a LinkedIn Group you’re a member of, your mom’s group, etc. You need a very strong CTA while also clearly defining your offering.
SPECIAL NOTE: For each of these three tiers, you need to make sure that you’re also following up. So when you make that initial phone call or first meeting, if they don’t respond right away, don’t give up. You need to send a follow up email or call within 3 to 5 days of the initial connection.
Following up is essential to the process because most of the time, people will not respond on the first invitation. You need to know that you don’t want to start making up a story about yourself, the value of your work, or how interested this person is in engaging with you. The reason is that everyone is bombarded with so many things to do and respond to that oftentimes the thing that is important to us gets lost in the shuffle. You may need to follow up for a really long time with some people.
- Get clear on what your current offer is.
- For that offer, what is your current call to action? Not the language, but what is it? A connection call? A preview teleclass? A face-to-face meeting?
- Get clear on your 3 tiers of contacts for that particular offer and that CTA.
- Draft invitations for Tiers 1 & 2. You can use a template, but individualize the messages. Tier 3 can be a group or series of groups.
- Send invitations.
- Follow up!