My business model was literally killing me and I didn’t realize it until a few years ago.
We constantly needed new clients because they would finish a workshop or consulting contract with me and suddenly there was no where in the business for them to go.
I was absorbed with trying to staunch the bleed constantly.
It took a couple years, but we flipped the script!
At Grow2019, 60% of the people in the room signed up for Grow2020 more than a year in advance, not knowing the theme, topic, speakers, or location would be!
Another 10% of the people from Grow2019 have signed up for Grow2020 since.
92% of our revenue for October was referral and relationship based.
We went from almost no long-term clients and referrals, to over 75% of our business being referrals and relationship clients.
So how did we make the coveted change?
Three Imperative Rules For The Team
1: Do a Damn Good Job Taking Care of Them the First Time
Not just a good job. A damn good job!
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing -- take care of your clients!
Whether you’re installing water softeners or if you’re an executive coach or you’re doing multi-day events like the Grow Retreat, find ways to go above and beyond in taking care of your clients.
No matter how well you deliver on your functional skill, it won’t set you apart from your competition.
This means doing something that most people are scared to do: make a promise to go above and beyond to your customer and then fulfill on it.
Examples of these kinds of promises:
We will set the golden standard on customer service for you!
You’re our VIP and we’re going to treat you that way!
We’re respecting your time and making sure you get content and application! (This is our promise for The Grow Retreat every year!)
We’re going to help you grow your business! (This is our general promise for the business)
It’s up to you to figure out what people want and need and create the promise.
And once you make the promise, you HAVE to deliver on it! If you fail, they will grade you harshly. They will let go of a problem as long as it wasn’t part of your promise. If you fall down on your promise and don’t make it a priority to fix it, they will not let it slide!
Because, in their eyes, you lied to them!
This is why so many business owners shy away from making a verbal promise to their customers. Because it creates accountability and it makes your life a little bit harder. But if you’re spending less time getting sales, you can spend more time taking care of your customers! It’s a great trade.
Most importantly though, we have to take it a step further: Figure out what their subconscious needs, and make a silent promise to take care of that too.
For example, the Grow Retreat attendees need great content but they want to feel special.
They might not ever admit that last part, but it’s one of the things that my team and I have realized.
Business owners are brutally ragged on themselves and moments where they truly feel special and competent and talented are few and far in between. Creating moments like that isn’t something that Grow Disrupt can promise because it’s intangible. But we can make the promise of incredible content and then deliver on the unspoken promise as well. And it stands out in their mind.
2: Keep Things Fresh and Relevant
The marketplace is constantly in a state of flux.
No one is going to tell their friends and family to go buy something that they don’t feel is new and relevant to their lives currently.
My husband and I are constantly buying new Nespresso pods because they are constantly making new blends and creating new ways for it to come out. They’re not just relevant to our lives (because who doesn’t love great coffee you don’t have to go out for?) but they’re keeping it fresh and new and giving us new options rather than becoming the same old stale four pods.
People return to the Grow Retreat every year because the content changes. Events that have the same content every time don’t often get repeat attendees. But the Grow Retreat changes every year. It gets a new theme, new speakers, new content, and that’s how it doesn’t become stale and obsolete.
So find a way to apply that to your business, so you’re constantly new and fresh in your customer’s mind and they want to come back, and send their friends!
3: Make it Easy for them to Return and Bring Friends
This has three parts to it:
Make it easy for them to remember you so they can refer you easily!
We hear of needs from our friends and connections all the time. But if we can’t remember the person who can solve their problem, it’s difficult to make that connection!
Make it easy to purchase or refer!
Going back to coffee, Nespresso makes it super easy. There’s a popup reminder that asks if you want to buy, takes you to the app, you make your purchase, and you’re done. Super simple and quick.
The Grow Retreat spreads like wildfire because the interview process has been set up to be super simple and easy for people.
They go to the website, pick their day and time, and just show up to the interview.
On top of that, I support all of the attendees extensively in passing invitations. I guide them on WHO would be a good person to invite, and walk them through the best and easiest ways to extend the invitation.
Keep it front of mind!
We all get busy, that’s life. Everyone is running in 15 different directions, so it’s important to create really well-designed reminders that entice and engage the clientele base.
The age of guilt-tripping ads working is done. People are way smarter than that, and almost everyone sees through ads that are just full of BS now: you do too!
The important thing with reminders is to first create them, but also make sure they put your product front-of-mind without being oppressive.
These are the keys…
To creating a business that thrives on referrals and repeat business.
The biggest pivot point for us was discovered accidentally with The Grow Retreat! It forced us to figure out what works and what doesn’t and create our three cardinal rules of business!
Following these rules does sound like a lot of work and The Grow Retreat is more work to do it this way. But it’s less work to sell the seats. It’s more work to choose new speakers and content and theme every year. But it’s a lot easier to do that than scramble to try and barely make enough money to scrap by!
Plus, it’s a hella lot more fun to do the retreat this way!