Clients and Hummingbirds – Finding, Engaging and Nurturing

I grew up loving to watch hummingbirds. We always had hummingbird feeders on both the front and back porches of our cabin in South Texas. There was plenty of competition for those hummingbirds’ attention because every house would have feeders out. As I put my feeder out this year, I reflected on the similarities with finding, engaging and nurturing clients.

Keep in mind that I do not consider myself an expert at sales. I am a solution provider! The following techniques work for a low-key guy like me, and I hope they work for you, too.

Enjoy the video…

1. Find the habitat

With hummingbirds, you want to find a place with trees and perhaps some flowers growing nearby. You would not hang a feeder off of a flagpole on a skyscraper! Follow the same approach with finding your clients. Choose networking events and conferences associated with your industry or the industries you hope to service. You can also search LinkedIn Groups to discover groups that may be very specific to your target audience.

2. Blend in with the habitat

Once you find a peaceful hummingbird habitat, you do not go in with a bullhorn to shatter the silence! You find a feeder that is unobtrusive and fits in with the surroundings. When attending networking events/conferences or participating in LinkedIn Groups, follow a little advice from the Greek philosopher Epictetus: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Listen first! Observe your prospective clients’ preferred communication styles, and see if you can identify their pain points as they express them to other people in the community. Do not force solutions until you determine whether they are even relevant to the prospective clients.

3. Let them know you are “open for business”

Hummingbirds know a feeder is “open for business” when you fill it with red sugar water. That is your signal to them. When building client relationships, you eventually have to get past the small talk and let them know that you are “open for business”. Since you took the “listening first” approach, you can tailor your message to convince them that you have solutions to solve their specific problems.

4. Be consistent

If you neglect a hummingbird feeder, and do not fill it regularly, then the hummingbirds will take their beauty and their “business” elsewhere. Remember, competition may be as close as next door! Hummingbirds want that consistent experience, and your clients want the same thing! You can lose that tenuous client relationship you gained going through the steps of (1) finding the habitat, (2) blending in, and (3) letting them know you were open for business if you start skipping meetings, blog posts and open LinkedIn questions.

Do not let your hard work go in vain! Be consistent, so your clients – whether they be hummingbirds or corporations – come back to you day after day and season after season!

I look forward to your comments below and your answers to the following:

  1. Do you place out hummingbird feeders?
  2. Are you consistent with keeping those feeders filled, so the birds know they can count on you day-to-day and season-to-season?
  3. Do you attend networking events/conferences and participate in LinkedIn groups or blogging?
  4. Are you consistent with your engagement, so clients come to rely on you for high-quality content and solutions?