Key Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the need to guide your clients in their journey from being a prospect to becoming a client.
  • Apply our client nurture model to your business to distinguish between a prospect and a client.
  • Recognise the three stages of the client nurture model: superficial relationship, mid-level relationship and high-level relationship.
  • Use our test to determine what level a client is at in the model.

Article

Remember the Lemmings?

Lemmings was a popular computer game in the 80s that gives inspiration to our client nurture model. For those that might not remember, the aim of the game was to save as many lemmings as possible through using various tools; you could not get to the next level until you had saved the target number. On each level the lemmings drop from the top of the screen and, without intervention, follow each other to certain death. Your job was to use some of the lemmings to create a path to the bottom of the screen into the safe house, as shown below.

Lemmings

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with client nurture. Well clients are a bit like lemmings: you have to guide them from being a prospect (at the top of the screen) through to being a client (in your safe house). We have created the Absolute Best client nurture model to illustrate how important a structured client nurture program is in every business.[wlm_ismember]

The Absolute Best client nurture model

nurture

A mistake that a number of businesses make is to think that everyone who has dealt with them is a client. We suggest you treat everyone as a prospect until you are sure they know you, like you and trust you, and are going to be loyal to you. The aim of the nurture model is to illustrate the journey from prospect to client.

Prospects can come from variety of sources. These will vary from business to business, but we have shown some examples of sources in the above model. Once the prospect, like a lemming, falls into your nurture model, you will need to guide them through their journey with your client nurture program.

As you can see there are contact points at each level to ensure your prospects remain on the safe path. At the first stage, which we call the superficial relationship level, if there is no contact you are likely to have a dead prospect. A business that is making no attempt to nurture and retain their clients is probably relying on a constant stream of new customers to sustain their income levels. This is risky business indeed.

Many businesses find they get to the mid-level relationship and mistaken this for client loyalty. At this level if you do not continue to proactively contact and nurture your prospects, they will be in what we call a ‘critical state’. They may still want to do business with you, and if you offer a superior product or service they may keep coming back. However, it is just as likely that they will be considering dealing with your competitors or are looking for an alternative supplier.

Your aim is to move your prospect through this level to the high-level relationship. At this level there is often two-way communication, with your client contacting you occasionally. It is also important to note that once you have a pool of clients that know you, like you and trust you, there is still a need to nurture them for the long term. There are many businesses that work hard to build up a client base only to find that it is eroded away over time because they didn’t nurture and look after it. The key is never to take client loyalty for granted.

So how do you know what level a client is at?

Here is a good test:

The next step is to design your client nurture program.[/wlm_ismember]

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