A lot of people want a magic script to pitch to clients instead of investing time in building relationships and staying top of mind. The problem with that is, if you reach out to 1000 people, you may only find one person who might need your service or product enough to buy from you because they don’t have anyone else to buy it from.
The cost to acquire a new customer is a lot higher than the cost to resell to an existing customer, which is why staying top of mind is critical. The common problem is that most professionals give their best for their first project and then sit around waiting for the client to reach out to them for another project, instead of maintaining an ongoing relationship. Tom and Mike share how they stay top of mind with their existing as well as new customers. For them, this resulted in a successful business and a highly engaged combined community of about 750,000 creatives. And guess what, with a few simple steps you can stay top of mind too.
Ask yourself: do you have any clients you worked with two years ago, with whom you haven’t touched base within the last few months? If you end up with a long list, you might be missing out on opportunities.
If you are in a rush, here are the key takeaways from this article:
- Keep your client up-to-date with market trends
- Use the seven touchpoints framework
- Be everywhere strategically
- Do or share something that makes you memorable
For all the juicy stories that Tom and Mike have never shared before, click on the topics above or keep scrolling.
Why do people buy and how is it related to staying top of mind?
People buy to resolve their pain and staying top of mind is about waiting until their pain cycle hits and they’re ready to buy again. This pain point could be different for everyone.
For example: When someone buys a Lamborghini, do they buy it to resolve a pain? Yes, because their pain point is that they might feel inferior if they don’t make the purchase. They need to keep up with the status symbol.
Tom was using an iPhone 8, but when the iPhone11 came out, his phone didn’t feel that special anymore. While it didn’t bother him, many people felt the need for an upgrade. Their pain point was not having the newest, flashiest iPhone.
People buy to resolve their pain. Staying top of mind is about waiting for the right moment when your customer reaches a pain point and you’re ready to provide the service that would resolve the pain. While they might not always be ready to buy, staying top of mind consistently will prove useful for when they are. Many salespersons are inefficient and therefore waste time selling at the wrong time. If you don’t communicate with your client, you will not know when their pain cycle is going to hit.
For example: A client who buys a new website design may not need your services for another two or three years. But you can’t let your relationship become stale because, by the time their pain hits again, someone else could swoop in and take them from you. This is the critical perspective of understanding this pain cycle in business and being top of mind when a client is ready to buy.
That being said, why should you invest time in staying top of mind when you can go on a sales call spree?
If a client has a pain point and they already have a solid relationship with someone who can resolve it, they will hire them. But, for cold sales, you have to find somebody who is in pain and has no one else to resolve it for a chance to make a sale. This highlights the inefficiency of cold sales. The chances of you landing a client are really low.
Always go the extra mile. Approach someone from a relationship-building perspective than a generic, “Hello sir/madam…” approach. Quit being generic, don’t go with a lazy approach that has zero personalization, depth, or relevance. Personalization can help you stand out.
How Tom approaches someone new: Tom always approaches someone with the hope to build a relationship and eventually turn into something meaningful. It doesn’t always have to be sales, sometimes it can simply be a great friendship. Tom is super busy with his company but before reaching out to someone, he spends 30 mins or so researching about the person to get a better understanding of their personality and interests.
4 Ways to Staying Top of Mind
You can either wait for the client to feel the pain that your product/service can resolve and then have them buy from you, or you can consistently build a relationship with them where you identify their pain points and resolve them with your product or service.
Keep your client up-to-date with market trends
Hitting pain points is a standard sales methodology. For example, people didn’t know they had pain until Steve Jobs launched the iPhone. They thought their Blackberry was great until Apple came with their iPhone and then all of a sudden they realized that their Blackberry is a piece of junk. People wanted better technology and that’s the pain Apple resolved. Apple has done this consistently over the last 25 years, creating new technology to keep up to date with trends.
You can do this too with your clients and customers. Help them understand market trends, inefficiencies in their business, and ways that they can improve their business. Once they realize their pain, they would want to resolve it by using your services or products.
For example: If you told a client about the importance of video in their business and gave them statistics about how their online exposure could plummet because they weren’t incorporating video in their digital marketing strategy, you are identifying a pain point for your client. You are making them realize how the industry is changing and what you’re doing as an agency to resolve it. Indirectly, you are creating a potential buying scenario by triggering thoughts about a pain point a client might have that they would want to solve or else they will be left behind.
How Tom touched on his client’s pain points in his freelance career: He created an urge and a potential buying scenario by telling a client about their unresponsive web design and how responsive web design was going to be the next big thing. He showed them stats and figures and explained to them why their website was unreadable on mobile. This meant a huge drop-off rate with mobile platforms.
As a vendor, you need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends so you can talk to your clients about potential pain points that are coming into their business. The removal of pain is much more alluring to people than the gaining of pleasure, just as food and shelter are on top of the pyramid and pleasure is on the lower side of the pyramid.
When you make a client feel like their business might suffer and their competitors might surpass them if they don’t get your service or products, they will respond positively to you.
Hitting on your client’s pain point is not tricking your clients or being a terrible human being. It’s the easiest way to help your clients. The truth is that if your client is going to benefit from the product or service, then you should feel good about selling to them. Regarding the previous example, if those clients aren’t using video by 2021 in their marketing, they are going to lose their traffic and clients. Their competitors who do use video in their marketing will take the market share. So6As long as your client is benefiting from your service/product, selling them on their pain point is a win for them.
Avoid selling like the sleazy internet marketers and sales pages where they incite panic among customers to get them to buy their product. It doesn’t work in the long run.
Use the seven touchpoints framework
A buyer needs to interact with a brand seven times before they’re ready to purchase. Your goal is to create seven touchpoints with a customer before they’re ready to buy. Seven is an average, sometimes clients buy in three, or even fifteen. The point is to create multiple touchpoints. This is why the idea of cold sales is so ineffective. An email or phone call is only one touchpoint. The likelihood of somebody buying on one touchpoint is minuscule. If you make a cold sales call, you might get a response saying, “Hey, thanks so much. I don’t really need your services right now, but maybe next year”. This would be a potential client and that’s just in one touchpoint. Now, your goal over the next year should be to create six more effective touchpoints with that person to hopefully have them buy from you.
Even Nike doesn’t aim to sell people at one touchpoint. Here’s how Nike does it:
- Nike sponsors athletes like LeBron James to wear Nike shoes.
- You see a Nike ad on television.
- You notice a Nike billboard while you’re driving down the freeway.
- You see a Nike store while you drive past the mall.
You just had four brand touchpoints that you’re not even aware of but you’ve seen them all. Interesting, right?
Another example: Darren Brown, a mentalist, who does incredible feats of magic, was able to control people and get them to do unbelievably strange things. This one time he took a woman into a giant department store and they walked up and down on five different floors and saw thousands of products, but ended up picking out a giant stuffed giraffe. They walked out and he opened a piece of paper that he gave her at the very start and it said that she was going to pick up the giraffe. He said it wasn’t magic because when he played back the video, it was visible that he kept sneaking the word ‘giraffe’ into sentences, but slyly. He said it seven times to prove his point but the woman barely noticed and went straight for the giraffe herself.
The idea of planting thoughts also happened with Tom one time, where he saw burgers on various social media posted by one of his friend’s and then he saw a commercial on TV. Subconsciously he knew he wanted to eat a burger that day. The same applies to client relationships and staying top of mind.
So, if you sit with a client at Starbucks and tell them that if they didn’t have the website, they might lose traffic, you’re planting a thought in their brain. It means that you have created enough pain for them to buy, and it’s going to float around in their subconscious mind. Now every time they read a news article that says, “responsive design or responsive websites”, they’ll think about their pain again. Then, when you like their posts on social media, they’ll remember the conversation because they see your name and now, your name is associated with the pain, like Pavlov’s Dog Approach. It’s like planting the seed in their minds.
Staying top of mind doesn’t always have to be related to business, it can be an invite to go out for lunch together or a virtual coffee. The goal is to nurture the relationship and build trust with people and with time it might turn into a working relationship.
How Mike stays top of mind: Mike stayed top of mind for 15 years of his agency life. He stayed top of mind with his clients but never thought through how to articulate the psychology of it until a couple of months back when he was making Instagram posts and prepping for a conversation diving deep into a client’s brain.
However, always take the first tactical point. Start by going to lunch with your clients. It is the easiest way to stay top of mind because it’s also fun. It builds a real relationship and 95% of the conversation will have nothing to do with business. It’ll just feel like friends who talk about life and family while building a real relationship.
It’s also a great opportunity for you to sit with a client and drop in the little planted seeds of pain points, not in a sales-y way but in an educating way so that your client is up-to-date with industry trends and changes that might affect their business.
It’s about being real and making a human-to-human connection with somebody, and not trying to simply sell. If they sense that you’re trying to sell them something, most people would not entertain you. People don’t want to be sold junk. They want the illusion of making their own decision of choosing a particular product or service on their own.
Build a real relationship, talk about pain points in the business, while not selling but dropping hints to your potential clients.
Be everywhere strategically
When your potential clients or your current clients see you everywhere, that compounds and can be extremely powerful.
For example: Somebody messaged Tom saying that they were reading a blog and his name came up. Then the person listened to a podcast a couple of days later, and Tom was the guest. After someone mentioned Tom on another podcast and they saw his Instagram on their feed. They told him that he seemed to be everywhere.
Tom is able to stay top of mind, not always one-to-one with clients, customers, and followers, but at scale, with thousands of people who don’t know him personally, but have the experience of seeing him in many places.
Being everywhere is also effective with your content marketing. Your potential client had lunch, had the conversation, read three articles in the paper, and had you in their mind all the while. Next, they saw you on their LinkedIn feed with a compelling piece articulating the same thing you talked about at lunch. So that content marketing piece is again a scalable but highly effective way of approaching.
So, connect with your friends or with your clients on social media. As soon as you meet somebody that day go and connect with them on LinkedIn, and if you feel comfortable enough, connect with them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram. Maybe, start commenting and interacting with the content that they share because those are easy touchpoints. If the client posts something and they see a comment from you on their feed, that’s an easy touchpoint, without being sales-y, but giving a reminder subconsciously of all the conversations you had with them over some time.
How people stayed top of mind for Mike: Mike had a skateboard deck hanging over his desk. That was a gift from an illustrator that he had hired for video game packaging artwork for an Xbox game. After the project was over, they gifted him that skateboard deck that had his logo with a cool design on it that’s been hanging in his office for 10 years. For Mike, it’s a great reminder of his old life, brand, and projects.
Another person was an animator Mike had hired for a project, and they sent him an animated logo of his agency. That didn’t cost them any monetary dollars but cost them time, and is a highlight of their capabilities. It was personalized for him and his agency. This person posted it on Behance and it got a ton of traffic.
This is not just a feel-good factor but gives you tangible benefits for your business. So if you’re an illustrator, draw a portrait of the client and send it to them and thank them for meeting with you for lunch.
Do or share something that makes you memorable
If you are generic, you’re forgettable and invisible. But if you’re different, you’re going to stand out and stay top of mind. Also, people are very drawn to stories, whether you’re telling a story or creating a story with your client. For example, you’re at lunch and you tell a memorable story, like an incident, a service, or a product it’ll automatically become memorable because of the impact of that story.
Why Tom’s forever grateful to his coaching student: Tom has a beautiful Gibson guitar hanging at the back of his office. Some time ago, Tom was working with a person called Tamar who was trying to build his business. Once Tom told him that one of his bucket list goals was to own a Gibson. Tom was planning to get one when he would be 50 years old or so as a retirement present for himself. Tamar remembered that simple thing Tom had said and six months later a giant box showed up at his office. It contained a Gibson guitar as a thank you to Tom.
Now, when Tom sees that guitar every day, he is reminded of Tamar. Even when Tom is 80, and if Tamar calls him, Tom would take the call or step out of his meeting to talk to him because he’s left a massive impact on him. This is a way to stay top of mind forever, by thinking outside the box and making a wise investment.
How Tom stays top of mind: Tom does this at his company, even today. When they send a lovely gift to their partners and their customers, they always make sure to not be generic. They stalk people on social media to find out something they’re passionate about and send them an incredibly personalized gift that is going to emotionally connect with them. The fact that Tom’s company took the time and care to think about it, learn about them, and figure out something that is going to matter, makes all the difference for them to stay top of mind.
Holidays are one of the easiest times to send your clients a personalized email. You can email every single client you’ve ever worked with and say, “Hey client, happy new year. Just wanted to thank you for the work that you’ve sent me over the last year or two years. It’s been a pleasure to work with you. I wish you the best in 2021. We’re so excited about this new decade ahead. Thanks for working with us.” That’s it. A simple, personalized email, created a touchpoint with no awkwardness, no sales-y push, or no request of any kind. Whereas if you’re going with the mindset of creating seven touchpoints with people, you can go big and create multiple little touch points over time that remind them of your existence and that you’re a good person.
For example: Tom once did 400 personalized videos for designers that he worked with one Christmas. It took him hours and he lost his voice, but people appreciated his kind gesture.
Smaller is easier. Sending personalized messages or gifts to 400 people is hard and 5,000 is nearly impossible. However, if you’ve got 14 clients or 3 clients, you can go deeper with those people and stay top of mind. Celebrate their milestones with them, for example, if your client’s company turns 10 years old, you can celebrate that by sending a video or an email or a phone call or a gift by personalizing the message and congratulating them on their anniversary.
Use CRM such as HubStop or Pipedrive to keep your clients top of your mind and you on top of their mind. Keep them connected at lower costs, so you can watch the touchpoints over time and see who you are neglecting and who you’re interacting with. You could also do batching. For instance, you could dedicate every Friday to reach out to a client. This way you’re giving it one day a week and staying connected over time.
In a nutshell, you stay top of mind by understanding your client’s needs, staying up to date with the industry, waiting for the right time to sell to your client, and building a valuable relationship. Be nice, bring value and connect with people by being proactive.