I want to talk to you about business growth.
As most of you know, I’m in real estate, but I do own multiple businesses that are very successful, and we’ve been able to grow them through down markets and definitely through up markets too.
One thing I’ve noticed is that as you dive deeper into business, you will come to a point where you decide not to let anything happening in the world affect the decisions you do have control over.
So, I want to take you through some of the things we’ve done to be able to grow in our businesses. These are very practical things, and I want to share them with you in the hope that they will help you grow your business too.
I want to start by sharing with you this quote:
“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities—I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures.” –Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power
I love that one. Because sometimes we don’t think that way. We think, “I want a happy life and I want it to be easy.” But, once you get down to it, you realize that all of those experiences that we call terrible, or hard, or bring us down to our knees and make us cry—those are really where we learn and where we grow.
I’m kind of wishing you the same thing. It’s going to be a tough ride when you decide to run your own business. Be prepared for hardships.
I think of the way we run our businesses as a bow tie funnel. This model is not something I created. I want to share with you what I found a few years back that really got me rethinking how to run my business.
Most businesses focus on the first part of the bow tie funnel: the conversion rate. You always hear all these companies talk about getting online leads, taking them to a landing page, and converting those leads, but you never hear about the end part of this funnel: the customer retention part.
That is what I want to talk to you about.
This seems to be a lot easier when you go online to social media, but here, once we have the sphere, those people that are our past clients, how do we retain them and stay in front of them so that we can grow our businesses long-term?
This bow tie funnel has been key to the focus of what it is we want to achieve.
Of course, growing your mind and learning new things is a big part of it, as Warren Buffett says all the time. That and surrounding yourself with amazing people is all great stuff, but that isn’t what I want to focus on right now.
When it comes to statistics, according to NAR, “Referrals remain the primary method most buyers use to find their real estate agent. Referrals by friends, neighbors, or relatives were higher among younger millennial buyers (55 percent) and older millennial buyers (48 percent)."
These stats are similar across different types of businesses too, not just in real estate. If you want to stay in front of people and connect with them more, focus on how you make them feel and what they think of you matters. That perception is a major factor in business growth.
Your past clients play an instrumental role in this. They are the ones who had that perception of you and will be the ones spreading the word about your business. So what we do in my business is create a system for how we can keep in touch and nurture our relationships with our past clients. We do this through three things: we try to meet them at their homes; through their phones; and in person.
This is a breakdown of what we will do for the next 365 days since making a new client. We call it the Past Client Drip 1 Year, and you can check out the document here. You can check it out and see if you can make something similar that works for your business.
As soon as these people become our past clients, we put them in our system, and on Day 1 they get a voice mail from me. Then we start pumping out messages in different forms: text, email, voicemail drop, video email, video text, etc.
We use a company called Bomb Bomb to do the videos and our CRM to send out text messages. There are a lot of CRMs out there you can use to text. For voicemail drops, we do it internally, but you can use something like Sly Broadcast or AgentLegend.
We don’t want to spam our past clients with purely business-related stuff, so whenever we do keep in touch with them, we make sure it is a contact that has value to them.
These are the three pillars you have to apply to your business.
I don’t mean specifically going to their homes, but more along the lines of what are you doing as a brand, as a company, to meet those past clients in your sphere, to meet them at their house?
Are you sending out handwritten notes to make them feel special? There are plenty of companies out there that do it. We use Handwrytten. We have no affiliation with them, but it's a robot that’s writing letters. Or you can use Audience. They have a little QR code you can scan to track it, and they write notes with a real pen, and the QR code puts them into a different funnel, which I absolutely love.
Are you sending them gifts to their house? Client Giant does services for that. There are a lot of subscription options, and the gifts they send out are pretty nice, and your past clients get them quarterly.
Start thinking about how you are going to connect with people as a business, so that they feel special. Because people won’t think much of your brand until they know you care about them. How are you making people feel at home?
You can take it a step further and think about what your brand is doing online to connect with them. Are you looking at re-targeting them?
You can achieve that through companies like Ylopo or on social media like Facebook or Instagram. 70% of Americans are still on Facebook monthly. So, what message are they seeing from you? Are they even seeing you? And if you are not re-targeting, are you using social media to connect with them?
Are you sending them texts or emails? We have something for LabCoat Agents called LCA Nurture.
These are just some of your options. Because if you don’t know what is possible, you end up doing almost nothing.
As the market shifts, you have an opportunity. This is your opportunity to connect deeper with your past clients, the people that already like you. Just remember: don’t burn the bridge by always talking about business. Make them feel great.
Lastly, when are you meeting them in person? Are you taking them out for coffee one-on-one? Can you do these small little dinners where you take out three, maybe two of these people at a time?
What about those big events? I know some of my friends have massive events. I think the biggest event we’ve ever had was around 600 people, but I am not a big event type of person, so I don’t do it as often. But you might do great with these.
When we discuss growth in this market, it all comes down to how you interact with and forge bonds with those who already know you, value your brand, and are interested in what your business does.