In my former career as a Director/Manager of Major Gifts for two “big city” hospital foundations (and my work as a fund raising consultant), I was responsible for strategizing and implementing million dollar plus campaigns. The goal was to inspire targeted, prospective donors to make large donations for specific projects.
A key part of that process was — in professional fund raising jargon — the “cultivation” of these donors. In business terms, this is known as marketing or as I prefer to call it, “relationship building”, and it is of equal importance to building the sustainability of a business, as it is to a not-for-profit organization.
What I have noticed in my current work as a Business & Prosperity Coach, is that the therapists, coaches, holistic practitioners and wellness professionals who come to me for help are, often, not focusing effectively and consistently on the cultivation of prospective new clients. In fact, sometimes, there is little cultivation going on at all – particularly “high-touch” cultivation (more direct and personal). This step is, more often than not, skipped altogether, with practitioners going directly to making sales offers — predictably, with low response rates.
In my fund raising days, this was called soliciting a donation prematurely (which usually ended up as no donation). It’s like trying to pick fruit before it’s ripe. And, while some prospective, new clients are “ripe” for your services and products the moment they discover you, the vast majority need to go through a more personal and direct cultivation and nurturing process with you and your offerings, before they’re sufficiently ripe to invest in your services.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
Regularly scheduled, high-touch, empowerment-based relationship building activities are typically the missing link, externally, for many practitioners when it comes to increasing their client base and filling their programs. However, before I get into defining what empowerment-based marketing is, it’s important to clarify some issues that need to be addressed, first, in order for this approach to be successful for you.
Some of the missing“foundational” pieces I work on with clients, before developing their relationship building activities, are:
1) Clarifying and defining their authentic community and crafting a powerful marketing message.
Sometimes, practitioners are marketing their offerings to an audience that’s too broad and generic, or too many different audiences, and do not know, specifically, who their offerings are for, what those individuals are wanting/needing/willing to invest in and how to articulate their marketing message in a compelling way.
2) Developing, shaping, packaging and naming their services in ways that connect with prospective clients.
This is where research — getting information and feedback — is invaluable. Once practitioners have clearly identified and articulated who their offerings are for (their authentic community) and what their authentic community members are truly wanting and needing, they can customize their services to provide this and package/name these services more effectively.
3) Clearing feelings of neediness and deprivation.
Feelings of neediness and deprivation about money and/or clients are, sometimes, what causes practitioners to skip or abandon client cultivation activities and go straight to selling or sending out offers for their paid services.
Client cultivation/empowerment-based marketing is also what I call, “sending energy out and serving”. When practitioners are experiencing feelings/beliefs around deprivation, they feel depleted and needy, so sending their energy out and serving feels like it’s going to drain them and take them further into deprivation. Chances are they’ll avoid these activities or undertake them with a great deal of attachment and “efforting”.
That’s why it’s essential to find that place of inner fullness and abundance, first, allow it to nourish them, so they can give consciously and in a balanced way (respect their own needs and limits/not over-extend themselves), and undertake these activities with trust and detachment.
Empowerment-Based Marketing: Effective, Heart-Centered
Client Cultivation and Nurturing
Empowerment-based marketing is a service-oriented approach to building relationships with your authentic community members by educating, inspiring and, ultimately, empowering them, while connecting them to a specific service or product of yours that addresses more fully what they are wanting and needing. It is an approach that culminates in service-oriented sales.
Since empowerment-based marketing both educates and inspires, it connects with the head, the heart and, ultimately, the soul of prospective clients. It provides information and an experience that benefits your community members, inspiring them to find a better way for themselves and make empowered choices.
The most effective forms of empowerment-based marketing are direct and experiential. Powerful high-touch platforms include getting in front of your authentic community and doing a signature talk, a small “introductory” workshop or webinar/teleclass that delivers great value, while providing a taste or “sample platter” of a specific service you provide.
While there is a lot more involved in doing this effectively than I can go into in this article, I will leave you with a few coaching questions to ponder:
How clear and specific are you about who you serve, what they are wanting/needing and how your services provide this? Is this reflected upfront and center in your marketing?
How can you develop, customize, refine, package and name your services and products to provide what your authentic community is wanting and needing?
How can you use service-oriented, empowerment-based marketing to cultivate relationships with your authentic community members and connect them to your services and products?
How can you make high-touch, empowerment-based marketing activities a priority and do them consistently from a place of fullness, abundance and honouring your own energy levels?
I believe that we each have a Divine Plan for our businesses and that all conditions are lined up through this Plan for our full self-expression and success. As co-creators, our role is to trust the flow and to take inspired, fearless action that demonstrates this trust. Empowerment-based marketing is an inspired activity that allows us to serve others and fulfill our purpose, while opening up a channel for our supply to come through.
In The Prosperous Healer’s Path™ Business Success Program, I help therapists, coaches, holistic practitioners, and wellness professionals to transform inner blocks to success, identify their authentic communities for their services, articulate powerful marketing messages, customize, package and name their offerings in client-attractive ways and develop empowerment-based marketing activities that bring in a steady stream of clients, with ease and joy.
© Copyright 2014 Mary C. Davis, ANAM TURAS. All rights reserved.
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