Tending Your Herd

November is right around the corner ... and how are your relationships with clients just about now?

Do they eagerly anticipate hearing from you -- on MORE than their particular tax or books questions?

Now is the time to do something about building momentum within your list before tax season, because if you wait until January, it's too late.

Last week, I wrote about 3 ingredients which are the best place to start:

1. Personality
2. Philosophy
3. Frequency

I hope you've considered those with seriousness. Because in the age where almost anyone can set themselves up as an expert, the only advantage you'll ever really have is your deepening relationship with YOUR existing "herd".

So here are a few more strategies...

4. Dependency

When you can create real results for your clients, and they are depending on you, it is quite possibly better than any of the other herd building techniques. For example, crack dealers don't have to work real hard to keep their herd together. They don't have to have a good location. They don't have to be in a good neighborhood. They don't have to dress well. They don't have to send out a customer newsletter. They don't have to have client appreciation events. All they have to do is have crack and the right semantics, and they're good to go.

Let this be said loud and clear: Your best marketing is the excellence of your work.

The next closest thing to it is true emotional dependency. If your clients don't pay attention for a week or two, do they start to feel withdrawal symptoms about not paying attention to you or not hearing from you? If you want to test this, just don't send your stuff out for a month and see how many people call. If the phone ain't ringing three or four days after it usually gets there I got news for you, you've got problems.

Which is why it's always morbidly "fun" when clients who've been using our print newsletter or email marketing, and stop for some reason come on back to us soon thereafter, saying that their clients are asking: where did your emails go? That's how you know this stuff works.

5. Motivation

A lot of people don't motivate their herd enough. Even people who appear to be successful by comparison to others in their type of business or their community lack the capability to be self-motivated and confident. The truth is, most people are not self-motivating individuals.

There's a reason why NFL players have a coach, and get a pep talk before they go out to play every big game. Logically this should not be necessary. These guys are getting paid millions of dollars to go out there and play the game. They've practiced all week to play the game.

Some of them are five years, six years, and seven plus year veterans. They know how to play the game. They should not need somebody standing up on a chair giving them a pep talk and leading them in the cheer. But, watch what happens when a coach decides not to do that.

There's a word for it, two words actually: Dallas, Cowboys. (I'm a suffering Redskins fan, what can I say?)

6. Multi-media touches

When it comes to tactical implementation you must think of the media that you can use. People respond to different media. Most people will welcome more frequent and constant contact if it arrives through multiple channels rather than one channel. So if you're only showing up one or two ways, it's easier to overdo it and your clients will more readily start to say, oh goodness, it's HIM again ... than if you're contacting them frequently through multiple channels.

If you stick to your narrow core range you will lose the interest of the herd and you will have longevity problems. You must expand the scope of your discussion with your herd over a period of time in order to hold their attention. Now, the good news about that is
they want you to. So if they buy you as an expert about 'A' they want you to be their expert about B-C-D-E and F however unqualified you may be or however irrational that may be, they want it. So the foundation is there.

7. Referrals and Involvement

Ask yourself how many referrals actually generate business? That's a very good measurement because it's a higher standard. Subjective measurements are necessary to evaluate where you stand with your client base. Are they writing to you like they would write to Elvis if he wasn't dead? Are you getting fan mail? Are they writing and telling you personal stuff? If so, that means they have a personal relationship with you.

Are they sending you gifts? Do they bring you stuff? Not necessarily big stuff. How many clients made something for you last year? Did you get cookies? Well, that's a subjective measurement but it's an important measurement.

8. Sharing successes

Is your herd looking to you for acceptance, acknowledgment, and recognition? Or, do you have to chase them down in order to get testimonials? Are they coming in voluntarily? Do they want to participate?

So, chatter online, chatter offline and in person. The most important thing to build your herd is you must measure and evaluate your success. You need to have measurements in place. You need to be cogniscent of it. You need to be working on it. Don't just be focused on how many followers. You must focus on value -- because all the equity, all the wealth, and all the sustainability is in the value based on the relationship, not the numbers and certainly not just "the list".

The list you've got. It's time to turn it into a herd.

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