How To Surf The Sleep Creep Leap Wave Of Building Client Relationships

When starting my first garden, I was frustrated that a perennial that was supposed to wind its way around a giant tree was just sitting there (not like the cascades of flowers in the gardening catalogue).

I finally consulted a pro and he explained that I’d bought a sleep, creep, leap plant:

Year 1 (sleep) looks rather pathetic: it’s busily building a root system to make it through the winter. A little foliage, but definitely no blooms.

Year 2 (creep) looks a tad more lively: it’s growing, there are a few blooms and the roots keep digging deeper. It’s becoming more resilient.

Year 3 (leap) is when the magic happens: growth in giant spurts, lush greenery and flowers. You can see its full potential.

Building client relationships for a high-end advisory business is pretty much the same: you keep getting to know and help the right people and eventually those relationships blossom.

The challenge is that we get frustrated when prospects are in the sleep and creep stages—it’s too tempting to decide further nurturing isn’t worth the effort.

We stop feeding the relationship and it dies before it really gets rolling (that’s why those early years as an independent can feel like a tough slog—all gardening and no harvest).

So how to surf those sleep, creep, leap waves?

Build yourself an outreach system.

If you’ve already secured a fair amount of authority in your niche, this can look a lot like just sticking to your publishing schedule and having conversations with people who seek you out.

But maybe that’s only producing some of your leads and outreach is a key part of how you feed your pipeline.

You’ll want to choose a simple, easy way to touch each contact on a consistent basis.

You’ll want to track what and how you’re doing so you can easily tell which stage each contact is in.

(You don’t have to invest in a CRM system—like say Pipedrive—but sometimes that’s the easiest way to just get it done.)

Once it’s clear that your contacts are in different stages, you don’t get discouraged when the sleepers aren’t bellying up to buy from you.

You’ll more naturally do the work to keep a steady stream of new “plants” entering your garden.

AND, you’ll decide exactly what to do to make each one leap-ready.

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