Here’s a little secret that most yoga teachers and business owners intellectually know, but very few actually practice because we’re always in 'reactive' mode when it comes to our business.
The difference between a contact and a contract is the ability to forge long-term relationships with your prospects.
Unfortunately, most of us only focus on 'quick wins', or students/patients who are ready to work with us immediately when, in fact, the high-value clients that could potentially change the trajectory of your business are lurking in the background.
The truth is that 90% of your leads are not ready to buy from you right away. They either don’t need you, or don’t know you enough. Yet, most businesses ignore these prospects after 2-3 contacts if they don’t get business from them right away.
You need to be investing actively in building long-term relationships by getting involved in the community. Doing this will build a sense of trust in the prospects who have heard about you, but may not be ready to engage your services as yet.
The good news is that building trust and relationships often opens the doors toward eventually hiring you. It could be next week, next month or next year. You really don’t know until you invest the time and energy toward relating to people.
This is extremely hard to do in today’s Internet age. Social media, emails and text messages allow business owners to isolate themselves. It is more comfortable to hide behind the computer and run your business without forming any relationships and treating each customer like a number.
But the largest gains will come when you get out there and invest yourself in the community, even if it doesn’t seem like you are going to get any immediate monetary gains from this pursuit.
For example, a contact with whom you have build a relationship may not need what you have to offer right away. They may not even be in your market.
But they may know someone who does need what you offer, and they can refer you. Or they can refer a group of clients to you, more than you ever could get on your own if you just maintained working with 'one-off' clients.
You are shooting yourself in the foot if you only focus on your business efforts on prospects who are ready to hire you right at this moment. Like an investment account that grows and compounds over time when you slowly add to it, you need to make regular 'deposits' by investing in networking, community and relationships.
It would be 'normal' to think: “Who has time to do all of this relationship building and follow-up? I’m too busy serving my current clients and I need to keep the cash to keep coming in so that I can pay the bills, overhead, and so on.”?
That is why you need to focus on getting the right business systems in place that allow you to implement long-term marketing initiatives, such as investing in relationships.
This will add more strength and predictability to your business versus always wondering where the next customer and client is going to come from.
It will also allow you to be more selective with whom you work with. A prospect that you have been chatting with for a year and is ready to hire you for a long term contract will take precedent over a 'tyre-kicker' client who has just heard of you, and wants 'discount' and 'cheap'.
So, if you feel like you’re constantly stuck in reactive mode, constantly trying to 'feed the beast' with new leads and prospects but have not been investing in long-term initiatives such as relationship building, then make sure you start now. It could relieve you from the pressure and strain you could be feeling in your business - of constantly working with people who may not be your ideal client, but you have to take them on anyway because you need the immediate cashflow.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.