There’s one thing that many online marketers do, that really gets my back up – they treat their clients as faceless cash cows. You see it in how they generally speak to their audience (or should that be, at their audience!), as well as how they train others to run their own ‘successful’ online businesses.

They talk about ‘leads’ and ‘prospects’, whilst showing us how to get site visitors into ‘sales funnels’, so we can sell more to them – and it does seem to get us a certain level of financial success.

But it really grates with me, that it’s so impersonal! Their entire process seems to be one of making money, not building long-term relationships. They don’t take the time to get to personally know the people who are on their mailing lists and are buying their products or services.

Build relationships with your clients

For any business to be a success, it needs to be building relationships – with clients, with contacts and with other business owners. The individuals you interact with through your business, are people, not just numbers on a list. They’re individuals who, if you take the time to build a relationship with them, can help you grow your business further, but a relationship that is reciprocal, not one-sided. You’re growing your business, whilst you’re also helping the other person in some way. 

Rather than focusing on how you can GET them into a funnel or to increase their spend with you, focus on getting to know them. Focus on what you can GIVE them. Not only will this help to build on the relationship, but it will also help your clients to feel valued – and if a client feels cherished, they’re going to want to continue building a relationship with you and your business.

Treat clients with respect

For many heart-based businesses, treating clients with respect isn’t just about how you interact with them on a one-to-one level, it’s about how you do business in general too. If you want to treat your clients with respect, don’t use hard-selling, clickbait statuses and adverts or bombard them with junk emails. Not only can this be seen as a lack of appreciation and care for your clients, but it also reeks of neediness, desperation and a focus purely on making money. 

The way you treat your clients shouldn’t change, dependent on how much money they’ve spent with you either. I see many personal coaches who won’t interact on a personal level with their clients on social media because they’re not part of their ‘VIP club’. I’ve even joined private Facebook groups for coaches, only to find they don’t interact or post personally in the group, as it’s ‘only’ a free group.

Watch your terminology

I believe that the terminology we’re currently taught to use in business is causing some of the problems. With gurus talking about clients and customers as ‘leads’, it’s making us see them a faceless, impersonal entity. By encouraging us to focus on how to quickly make money and reach our financial or ideal client targets in x amount of days, we’re being driven to think purely in terms of numbers, instead of taking the time to build and establish long-term relationships with our clients.

The responsibility is with us

But it’s our job to realise how impersonal this is making our interactions – and resolve to turn that around. It’s our job to realise that the terminology often used in our training and by the gurus, may be adding to the problem and it’s our job to realise that short, quick financial returns don’t always equate to a successful, sustainable business.

Building and running a heart-based business is about caring as much for your clients, as you do about the bottom line. It’s about being genuine, authentic, respectful and, dare I say it, nice. You’re in the business of nurturing and serving your clients to the best of your ability – so follow the advice above and show them that you care!