I started She Can Coterie in August of 2015. I was laid off from my job as a virtual assistant with no notice. Fortunately, three of the clients I had been working with decided to take the leap to work with me on my own. They had a relationship with me and not the company that laid me off, so they jumped right in.
This was my first glimpse into the power of relationship marketing.
From there, they started sending me referrals, and I had ZERO boundaries, so I said yes to everyone and everything. Because I was getting so many referrals each week—which sounds like a dream, I know—I never invested in any sort of marketing.
But then I found myself changing course in my business. I didn’t make moves because the business or the projects weren’t working; I just knew that we could do more better with more impact for the women we worked with.
From there, referrals could no longer get me new clients. I didn’t have a flow in place for new clients to find me—and I found our funds getting tighter.
I was lying awake at night thinking about all the team and business expenses. I was hustling and trying random things to bring in money. One month I had to personally cover team payroll, and that’s when I knew this couldn’t happen again.
This all comes down to the legacy that I want to lead. I want women to walk in their strengths and build lives they love while creating the impact they were born to create. That’s what I want for the women on my team, that’s what I want for our clients, and that’s what I want for YOU.
Note: this content first appeared as a live video over on Facebook! If you’d rather watch than read, click below!
There is power in relationship marketing.
So this is what we’ve found to be true:
Relying on referrals means you don’t have a strategy for growth.
I wasn’t cultivating relationships and paving a path for leads to come to me. When we rely on referrals to walk in the door, we are being reactive, not proactive.
When we shifted the way we worked, two things happened :
First, the referrals that were coming in were expecting something that we didn’t offer anymore. They were far from ideal, and we had high client turnover. When client turnover was high, we weren’t profitable. We invested SO deeply in the first two months to understand a client’s business and needs, only for them to leave because they were expecting services we did not and could not offer.
The second thing that happened was referrals dwindled. Because our client turnover was high, they were definitely not referring us. AND because our services were new we didn’t have clients that truly understood the way we were working.
We were left with no strategy in place, no road paved for leads to come to us, no consistent relationship, no defined experience. So, we tried to do it all, frantically.
Trying to be everywhere means that you don’t make your biggest impact anywhere.
I found myself trying to follow all of the blueprints of success from the “experts”—I know you can relate! But those experts don’t know me or my business. They know what works for them and their business.
I was left hustling, but never seeing success. Trying to run a marathon, but realizing I’m stuck on a treadmill.
So I began looking at our best clients. The ones who lit up our team, who stuck around for ages, who sing our praises, and who we did our best work for. I mapped out their journeys to working with us. And I realized their paths had the same touchpoints, the same flow, and were founded on one common denominator: a strong relationship built consistently, intentionally, lovingly and attentively over time. That’s relationship marketing, simply put. It’s real. And it’s powerful.
The mediocre and even downright not ideal clients? The ones who were constantly picking us apart, who drug their feet, who didn’t allow us to do our best work, who stuck around for one month and went on their way unhappily? 90% of the time, they were referrals.
What we realized is that you don’t control referrals. You control relationships. Or how you intentionally build relationships.
We don’t oppose referrals. But referrals must be a byproduct of a relationship you intentionally cultivate and enjoy. When you only allow clients in who you have a joyful relationship with, then all your referrals will be new friends, too.
Relationships, not followings.
Because of this journey we’ve been through as a company and the journey we’ve discovered with our clients, we discovered what worked and what didn’t. Here’s the answer:
Relationships WORK, followings don’t.
Relationships LAST, followings don’t.
Relationships FULFILL, followings don’t.
We want our clients to grow their businesses in a fulfilling, sustainable, and effective way by focusing on what works, lasts and fulfills—relationships.
If you are ready to ditch the traditional marketing blueprints, the hustling, the showing up everywhere and not making your true, deepest impact, WE ARE TOO.
We’re sharing a guided journal to discover your relationship marketing strengths. And I’ll be sharing much more in the coming weeks about how this can work for you, your unique strengths, in your unique business.