Before you get too far into planning your “2020 business goals,” I want to remind you… 

Don’t forget to nurture those leads you bring in (and therefore keep them around long-term!).

It’s a massive mistake to focus ONLY on your front-end marketing + sales… if you don’t plan out what happens once those people start paying attention.

If you’re anything like me, you’re impatient. 

You want fast results – and you need them! (You’re not sitting on unlimited resources, and I’m not either.) 

But you’re here for the long-game, right? Your average customer sales cycle might not be “quick.”

In this episode I’ll explain what to do about that, plus… 

  • How to regularly nurture (+sell!) to your list 
  • Why too many entrepreneurs create an ineffective “leaky bucket”…
  • And the important questions to ask before diving into the new year

Yes, it’s hard to measure how improving your delivery will help your bottom line… but here’s the truth: 

“High quality delivery leads to higher quality referrals… and that matters in 2020!”

Tune into this episode for a quick planning session with action-packed questions to ask yourself right now. 

And if you’re ready for done-for-you support with Facebook + Instagram ads, go to HelpMyStrategy.com to apply to work with Team Hirsh!

If you want to hear more about how I recently revamped my marketing team + creating an incredible new resource (called the Marketing Playbook!), listen to episode 135, “The huge epiphany I had managing my team.” 

And if you want to hear more about the 90-day nurture sequence we recommend, listen to episode 37, “How to get 15-25% more sales from your webinars.” 

Key Points:

[2:39] This is a massive planning mistake (but it’s easy to do)

[3:39] Consider how to improve your delivery + customer experience… not just your front-end sales

[6:31] High quality delivery leads to higher quality referrals – and that matters in 2020

[9:53] “Our average customer sales cycle is 18 months…”

[10:49] If you have the patience for that, you’ll make more money

[12:29] Here’s our weekly nurture sequence (it’s NOT automated)

[14:16] If you only send out a value email every week, people will forget to buy from you!

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Episode Transcripts:

Hello, everyone. I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas. This will be releasing the day after Christmas, so I hope you guys are all relaxing. And, I just love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday, so I’ll be in California with my family. I love being at my mom’s house. It’s just like, so cozy, and I love it. So, I hope you guys all had an amazing holiday, of course, if you celebrate Christmas. And if you don’t, I hope you’re enjoying the time off while people take time off, because that’s how it works.

Speaker 1: But today, I’m hoping to give you an episode that will kind of inspire you in your thinking, because we’re all going to be in the mindset now, and probably before this, about 2020 and what are our business plans, what are our goals, what are the projects we want to work on. I think that a lot of people focus on their sales and marketing, like that front-end, “How do I get more people in?” We’re a marketing agency. We focus a ton on that. But, I think it’s a huge mistake to skip over thinking about, also, “What am I doing with my nurturing and my retention?” That plays into marketing, too. You can’t have really good marketing and get all these people into a leaky bucket where you’re just losing them, or you have marketing where you’re getting leads and you’re selling a small percentage of them, but then… the rest of them are just kind of sitting there, and you’re wasting money, because you’re focused so hard on getting that initial lead in, and selling them, and getting that result, that you kind of forget about the other pieces. So, I think it’s a massive mistake to really focus on just sales and marketing. But, it’s also really easy to do, because they’re huge things in your company.

Speaker 1: So as you’re thinking about your 2020, and as you’re thinking about your company, and what you’re going to work on, and your goals, I would highly encourage you to look at, obviously, front-end marketing and your sales. So, “How are we going to get more leads? How many leads do we want this year? What are we going to drive those leads into? And what am I’m going to pay for them?” All of those things that I talk about in terms of numbers that you absolutely should be looking at. And then, of course, sales, too, “What’s our sales percentage? Do we need to improve that? Do we need to improve our process? Do we need to improve our close rate or the quality of leads we’re getting?” Or, maybe it’s on a webinar close to a product that you’re doing… So, looking at all of those things and then coming up with projects to improve them.

Speaker 1: But as you’re looking at those, also ask yourself, “What in my delivery and my customer experience can I improve in 2020? What can I do to deliver a better product, or deliver a better service, or coach my clients better?” Whatever it is. Look at that, because so many people kind of skip over that. Not intentionally, not because they don’t care, at all. That’s not been my experience. But… I mean, some people don’t, but, most people do! It’s just like, they put all this effort into their marketing and sales. They have none left to put into their delivery. So, in an ideal world, you’re outsourcing a lot of your marketing and sales so that you can keep making your product better with your team, and you can keep making that delivery better, and the retention, because we all have retention. Even if you have a one-time product sale, if that person’s going to come back and buy something from you, it’s based around their experience from that one product.

Speaker 1: I have, one, grown my business very … like a lot of it through referrals and through focusing on my delivery. And it wasn’t until recently that I really took seriously our marketing, to uplevel it for next year. But I never had time to, because I did the opposite. I was focused so much on delivery just to stay above water, because I’m in the service industry. I never had time to focus on our marketing, or on our agency’s marketing, at least well. We do projects, but I feel like I’d give like, 80% to them, and I want to give more. And now, that’s been, actually, been able to be my focus. But, people so often do it the opposite, especially in the course industry, because… If you’re not getting sales on your webinar to your course, then the course can be crap, and it doesn’t matter… and I’m not saying the course is crap!

Speaker 1: But, look at your 2020 and say, “How can I improve our customer experience?” whatever that looks like, “What are some initiatives that I want to take this year to improve that?” Because I promise you that it pays off so much to have that good reputation, those referrals coming in… In an ideal world, what you’re trying to build is a little bit of everything, so you want that paid traffic, you want referrals and people talking about your product, and that organic, brand awareness growth that’s going to happen through word of mouth, and reputation, and people having a good experience with your brand. Then, you probably want…. maybe you have another form of outreach, maybe you do speaking or you go in masterminds and you do networking or something. You have little different ways that you’re kind of growing your business, growing your brand, and ultimately making sales.

Speaker 1: But, a huge one is that correlation between customer experience and your delivery and your retention rate, and sales and marketing. Sometimes people have a hard time seeing those numbers, because […] it is hard to track exactly like, “Okay, if I fix this thing in my delivery, how’s it going to make me more money?” but it does. It always pays off to better your delivery and your product, and […] way too many people in this industry don’t care about their delivery, but also don’t make the time to care about it. So it’s not necessarily …

Speaker 1: Again, I don’t believe a lot of people are doing it intentionally, but I believe a lot of people don’t outsource their marketing and sales to the point where they can fix their delivery. This is true, because how many times have we bought a course, or signed up for a program, or bought a service, and it was disappointing? And we’re like, “Man, they had really good marketing that sold me, and then the delivery was not good. Now I’m not going to be, one, a customer again for them, but also, two, I am not going to recommend them.” And that’s super damaging. You don’t want that in your brand. You want to make sure that you are constantly bettering your delivery so that that never happens to you.

Speaker 1: The second piece to this… so that’s retention, your delivery. So looking at 2020, “How do we improve our delivery? How do we improve our customer experience, so that we can have better retention, so we can get […] referrals, that word of mouth… and just grow in that way, and give people that really good experience that they know they signed up for, based on my good marketing?” Right?

Speaker 1: The second thing is nurturing. So, the other piece is that, I think entrepreneurs are really impatient with their results. So a lot of times, again, especially in the course industry or the coaching industry, you want your funnel to be, “Sign up for my webinar,” they booked their call or they bought… and they did it within five days! And you want it to be really fast. I’ve been having this conversation a lot, because I have a new, amazing salesperson helping me in our company, and she’s all about that fast close. She’s like, “If they don’t close within X amount of time, they most likely won’t close.” And while I agree with her, I also know that there’s that percentage of people who will.

Speaker 1: There’s different types of people out there. There are those quick start people who are going to make decisions fast or have the money to invest. They’re going to pay today, they’re going to pay tomorrow. They will be those fast buyers to get you those fast results. But then, there’s going to be those people who, they might take six months, they might take a year, before they’re ready to work with your business and to buy your service, or they’ve built enough trust, or they’ve seen enough results, and then they buy. And you don’t want to lose all of those people. 

Speaker 1: It’s really interesting […] Because of this new sales person, I was like, “You’re making me really curious. I want to see what our average sales cycle is.” So, I wanted to see what’s the average time from when someone has a call and then pays to become a client? Then, I also wanted to see, and then how long had those people been on my list or in my world before signing up? And it’s a mix. Like I said, there’s people who find me from an ad, go to book a call, and then sign up. But then, there’s people who have literally been following me for two years and just hired us.

Speaker 1: […] I was at an event a couple months ago, and this guy, he has a… I think it’s an $8 or $9 million business, very successful. He said, “Our average customer sales cycle,” I think he said, “is 18 months.” I was like, “Wow. That’s a long time.” So, ours came out to be 20 days, so it’s fast! That’s the average. I did have some people, though, that it was like a year they waited […] They talked to me a year ago, then they came back, and they signed on. That’s kind of rare, but I do think within a month… There’s obviously some people who literally sign up that day or the next day after talking to us, and then there are some people who take two or three weeks.

Speaker 1: Now, while you always want to close that gap, obviously… but also you have to keep in mind, those people who aren’t going to be necessarily ready to make the decision today, but they might in a year from now. And if you have the patience for that, and you’re willing to scoop up all of that opportunity as well as those quick start [opportunities], you will make so much more money. And I think not enough people are patient enough for that. The reason it’s hard, too, is because most of you listening to this are like me. We’re self-funded. We don’t have capital. We have to make money fast. We can’t be waiting 18 months to make a sale for everybody. That’s just not doable, because we don’t have investments, and we are doing this all on our own and putting money back into her own business. So, I totally get that. But, you’re actually losing money if you don’t focus in on the nurturing.

Speaker 1: So what you need to look at here, and looking at 2020 and your goals is, “How am I going to nurture my audience?” So for me […] After I talked to that guy, I was inspired to go like, “What does my nurture sequence look like, so that I’m consistently…” with this email list that I build, I’m consistently like, “Nurture, nurture, nurture,” and then have something, like a way for them to book a call, and then do it again, and like a process behind that. When I built out the marketing playbook, which I talked about in episode 135 of the podcast… You should totally listen to it if you haven’t, because it’s so good, about what I built out for our marketing department.

Speaker 1: But, I made a process for that. How do we nurture our regular leads? Because they’re sitting on my list. I already paid, probably, in some way to get them on there. Of course, some are organic. But, I paid to get them on here somehow. Now, I want to make sure I capitalize on an opportunity that if they’re ready in six months to book a call and buy, I’m staying top of mind. So, I wrote a plan of our nurture series, “Our nurture sequence looks like this.” And it’s not automated. This is our week-by-week nurture. It’s like, we do podcasts, and then we’re going to throw in different calls-to-actions that are very strategic times, every quarter, every month, different ones. So, that’s one way.

Speaker 1: Then also, building it into your funnel is another way. That’s not as automated, because that’s like, “What do I do with my list that I’ve built?” The automated piece is the people coming into your funnel. So, does your email sequence stop after a webinar, and you have that initial sales pitch? And then does it just stop and they go on your regular email list? Or what happens there? What we do, and what we recommend for all of our clients is, we build in a 90-day nurture sequence that has intentional nurture emails [listen to episode 37, “How to get 15-25% more sales from your webinar,” for more about this]. So, it’s like, talking about what they didn’t buy, talking about student success stories. There’s value in them, but it’s still seeding what you do and building that trust. Then, it actually has flash sales in it, so they have another opportunity to buy twice within the 90 days.

Speaker 1: You’ll be so surprised, that snowball effect that happens with that is really powerful, because you’ve got that percentage of people who are going to sit on there, and they might not buy initially, but they might buy in 90 days from now. Then, they go on your main list, and you continue to nurture them. So, you have to continue to make offers to your main list in a strategic way, so you can capitalize on those people. Paying attention to this will really pay off, because you’re going to build that following of really loyal followers and people who care about, trust your brand, and believe in your brand, and then will buy from you when it makes sense for them. You just have to make sure you’re, one, strategically nurturing, and then, two, strategically pitching to them.

Speaker 1: I don’t want to say “pitching,” because it’s kind of a gross word, but giving them how they can sign up with you or what they need to do to take action. Because if you just nurture, and you send out a regular newsletter email… nobody uses newsletters anymore, but I would call it that. [For example], our podcast email, it goes out regularly to our list. If you just do that, then people aren’t going to remember like, “Oh I need to book a call,” or like, “Oh they offer this service.” You still have to be strategic with actually “pitching.” I don’t want it to sound like that, because, I don’t know […] I don’t like that connotation, because you’re not hard [selling] these people, but you’re giving them the way that they can sign up with you, the way you can help them more, so that the right people will sign up with you and will do that, if that makes sense.

Speaker 1: So, to summarize right here: don’t ignore your nurturing and your retention. Do not just focus on your front-end sales and marketing. It will work for a while. It will probably continue to work, but it will be like a leaky bucket, because you’re going to be losing money that’s really like, you’ve already paid to get those leads. You’ve already paid to get those customers. Those are, for retention, those are the best… the customers who already paid you, and love you, and believed in you enough to pay you. Keep them, because they’ve made it to the end! So if you have poor retention, everything’s going to feel harder.

Speaker 1: So, pay attention to your nurturing, pay attention to your retention, and include that in your planning for next year. A lot of us just focus on the new launch we’re going to do, the new marketing plan or funnel we’re going to build, or whatever it is. But also pay attention to this, because you might have low-hanging fruit that you can make a lot of money with by focusing on, and you’re missing out because you’re not, kind of like, directing your attention to that way.

Speaker 1: So, I hope this podcast gave you guys some ideas. If you’re looking at partnering with a marketing team and you want done-for-you marketing support and Facebook and Instagram ads, Hirsh Marketing is the best out there. My team is incredible. We have amazing strategies, amazing intel. And you can go to HelpMyStrategy.com to apply to work with us.