My client wasn’t able to attend her monthly biz building mastermind, so she sent 11940554-young-woman-up-on-a-ladder-picking-apples-from-an-apple-tree-on-a-lovely-sunny-summer-day in her question for coaching: what would be her follow up program for contacts in corporate.

She’s brand new in her industry and I applaud her determination to be known.  But she’s going to need to make money quickly while she’s establishing her business or face waking up at 2am sweating the small stuff she can no longer afford.

So what does she (and you) need to do for a steady stream of clients and cash? You need to have 3 types of clients that you are developing for harvest.  Each group will have their own timelines for maturity as well as their unique needs for cultivating them till they’re ready to be picked.

Think of a grove of apple trees ready for fall harvest.  The Honey Crisp and Golden Delicious are heavy on the branches.  You notice that a majority of the apples are located low on the tree but you have to be careful before you twist them off the limb.  What looks good on one side can be half eaten on the other by birds and insects.

You notice the fruit a little farther up seems to be in better shape but not as ripe looking.  The crowded branches have kept the sun from fully ripening this fruit. It will be ready given some time, but not yet.

At the top are the finest pieces ready for picking.  But a number of steps are going to be required to reap this high up: ladders, special bags, stamina to hold your arms up so high for so long.

Here are 3 ways to collect the fruit in its season and keep your business yielding a high cash flow:

1) Low hanging fruit: friends, family, previous clients from another business.

These are the people who have a simple problem that you can fix quickly.  Just like the low hanging apples, you may have to go through quite a few before you find any acceptable for picking.  Keep in mind, these people may not become long term clients, but they will refer people they know, who will become those long term regulars.

Reach out to these people: in person, by email, send them something by direct mail or give them a call.  When they complete with you (or achieve their first success) ask for a referral.

2)  Mid-range fruit: clients who have done business with you at level one, but need further cultivation to really ripen.

This cluster needs further assistance from you.  As the mid-range apples need a bit more time before they can be harvested, they need additional time with you to ready their success, OR they need additional time to say yes to you.  Always think value added for this group, NOT discounts.

Reach out to these people by offering: a new service that compliments their additional contact with you, bonuses and incentives for continuing their work with you, any reward that honors their commitment to moving forward.

3) Top level fruit: potential clients who need your service but have several organization levels that you must go through to reach the decision makers.

Consistent contact will earn you the right to reap from this group.  There will be a large number of steps on your part as well as a time commitment.  How long?  Quite frankly: as long as it takes.  I’ve known salespeople who have worked on the same potential purchaser for over 2 years before they got their foot on the first rung of the ladder.  But once they got to the top, the return on their time was many times over.

Reach out to this group through: a message that clearly conveys their most painful problem you can solve (remember, people by solutions, not process). Find out whom to contact and then keep that contact up at least monthly.  Offer them something of value every time you reach out to them (tip, tool or technique based on your solution platform).  Then wash, rinse, repeat every month.

What ideas does this list yield for you?


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