Dov Gordon | Creating Your Ideal Client Network

There are many ways – dozens – to bring in new clients these days thanks to the Internet. Social media, podcasting, sales funnels, webinars… the list goes on. 

But Dov Gordon says to bring in clients consistently, there is no one method that works for everybody. He says you should figure out what type of marketing and sales strategies feel “natural” and leverage your strengths.

A big part of his approach for bringing in new business consistently is a unique way to build relationships – at a personal level and on a larger scale – and in the process, create networks of ideal clients who are receptive to your message and ready to refer you.

Not only that… but the people in the network are offering value to each other. 

We talk about how to set up a network like that, the impact it can have on your business, and more, including…

  • A strategy for getting paid for work you used to do for free
  • The people you must have in your network
  • How to sell – without “selling”
  • The pros and cons of mastermind groups
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

Giuseppe Grammatico: Welcome to the Franchise Freedom Podcast. I’m your host, Giuseppe Grammatico, your franchise guide, and today we have a very special guest. Today we are speaking with Dov Gordon of profitablerelationships.com. Dov helps consultants and experts get ideal clients consistently. For the millions who are not the charismatic guru type, Dov helps them get projects with great clients earning a great income.

Dov has a website, profitablerelationships.com/ff which is a special promotion for today, how consultants use backwards networking to reach ideal clients and launch a $200,000 a year revenue stream for things you are already doing for free. Dov, welcome to the podcast today.

Dov Gordon: Thanks for having me, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: So very excited. We’ve been speaking for a while, finally scheduled a time in this crazy environment we’re in to talk today. I always like to start off, just fill us in a little bit on your background. How did you get into this business? And what’s that journey look like?

How Dov Got Into Facilitating Profitable Relationships

Dov: Well, look, I’m kind of the, you know, I’ve been consulting and coaching for almost 20 years, maybe 19 years. And but I’ve really had to learn along the way, through the school of hard knocks. And say, the first seven years or so probably rather uphill, and I knew that I had something valuable to offer, some, you know, some skills, that I cared. But I was really kind of out there just learning while doing. And over the years, I’ve invested in getting lots of different coaching and training over the years because everybody needs some. But mostly, you then have to take that and apply it consistently.

And things fall into place over time. And then somebody else pops up and takes you for a little bit of another ride, another tangent. But throughout it all, you know, I just learned some really valuable skills that have done really well for me and I’ve been able to help others as well, you know, because I think that, I seem to be good at suffering through certain things. Getting, you know, getting beat up a bit about this and that, but really then going deep and really thinking it through and understanding what actually was going on.

And then using that insight and being able to help others get through things faster, smoother, with fewer broken bones and bruises. So that’s because, you know, it’s, there are a lot of people who are really good at what they do. Very good at what they do. Very smart, very talented, capable. Not very good, or not natural marketers and salespeople. And that’s me. I’m not a natural marketer or salesperson. So it took me quite a while to learn how to turn what I can do into a consistent flow of ideal clients. And I feel like, you know, that’s become my focus for the last 10-plus, years helping other people who are on a similar path to have similar results.

Giuseppe: Right. Yeah, I found it, you know, the I actually was listening to a podcast a friend of mine and I heard you speak, was very interested in, you know, the topic of, the content topic of lead flow. You know, how do you get lead flow? There are just, you know, in my opinion, it’s just overwhelming and it’s to the point where I feel a lot of entrepreneurs are kind of dipping in, trying, getting their toes wet with a little social media then they jump to video, then they go to podcasting, and I feel many just don’t go all in.

And I feel the only way to truly dedicate your time is to go all in and I have discovered podcasting. Enjoy it, love to talk, love to meet with people and I just feel like that’s a way that I can grow my business. So, you know, going back to just getting a consistent flow of leads and how to go about that. Can you talk a little bit more about how you help your clients and other consultants achieve that?

Bringing In a Perpetual Flow of Leads

Dov: Yeah. So I also did like what most people for a number of years. You know, I was looking around and I say, Okay, I’m really good at what I do. I’m able to help all these business owners, entrepreneurs, I was for a while leading a CEO peer advisory group for CEOs who are doing between 10 and 150, even $200 million in sales. And so there are kind of a lot of things that I’d figured out, but there is still so much missing. I didn’t even know, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, you know? So when you have valuable skills, then you want to figure out how do I, how can I turn this into a good income?

And it’s my observation and I don’t think that most people are looking, talking about most consultants, coaches, experts, professional service firm owners, most people are not looking to scale to seven figures and beyond. I think most people would like to if it wasn’t that hard or if it was kind of easy, but most people are not built for that. They’re not interested in that. Most people want a good five, you know, mid-five, maybe upper-five, sorry, not five, mid six, a good mid-six to upper-six figure income and they want a life.

They want some time for family and travel and, you know, doing things, hobbies, you know, things they enjoy. And that is doable for most people. The thing is that they end up going after a path that takes them off in so many tangents that it often leads to wasted years, if not wasted decades, especially lately. Because with the internet, we have so many different tactics available, Facebook ads to an evergreen webinar funnel, LinkedIn and podcasting, which is great and joint ventures which are great.

Everything is great. Public speaking, writing, you know, blogging was very big for a long time. Instagram. I mean, it’s endless. It’s absolutely endless. And what happens, like you said, is that most people you wake up and you say, hey, how do I get more ideal clients? How do I get clients consistently? And we’re suddenly flooded with a line around the block of methods, specific experts, tactical experts. Everybody’s saying, hey, if you want to do that, you’ve got to do what I do. You’ve got to do my, you know, do what I’m doing and that’s the only way.

And it’s really unfortunate because so many people end up going off on those tangents that really are just a tangent. However, you know, the good news is that there’s a lesson in everything and that’s the most important is to learn the lessons from where we are and then figure out okay, what next? So, and I’ve come to see, you know, I was talking to somebody recently who is actually is a client. A client who’s worked with me to build his alchemy network, which I can explain shortly. But he was doing really well as a financial planner, and I’ll say that most financial planners are average.

I don’t mean anything bad against financial planners, it’s just that they’re from my experience, there seems to be a lot of people get into that because it just seems like a way hey, I can make some money. But the above-average ones are the ones who are really passionate about the art of it. They turn what they’re doing into an art and they really care about their clients. And they work hard, like anybody who, you know, an artist who you take an artistic approach to whatever it is that you’re doing. And so he’s doing well, but he was kind of running around the city a lot working quite hard.

And he’s getting older and he wanted a little more time with his family and less running around. So he figured I gotta go to the internet. So he looked around, how could they get clients online? And he ended up investing with a coach who was helping him build a, you know, kind of free reports and surveys and, you know, and hired a VA to help with, I don’t remember, a number of different things. Things that we hear, we’re told to do, and it makes sense in some cases, but not for everybody.

And he found me, reached out to me and was curious about what I teach, which is how to become an under the radar leader in your industry, right? By creating an alchemy network. And he was curious what that means. And talking to him, I came to realize that, you know, his success had been because he was really good at building these relationships. The problem is, of course, that it could take a year or longer until someone’s ready to invest with him. And there’s all this time that goes into reaching out to people, checking in, getting back to them, sharing something, having a meeting, and then, you know, it drags on over a long time.

And in our conversation, that what I helped him see was this, he had left all the things that he had done so well that had worked so well because he was looking to scale online. But in the process, he was suddenly found himself doing all these things that he’s not good at. That he doesn’t feel strong about, you know? He feels like he’s just following somebody else’s steps. That doesn’t feel natural to him. Now helped them see that there’s a difference in scaling and leveraging, right?

And what he needed to do is to go back to what he was doing that was so effective, which is really building relationships. But what he needed to do is to leverage those relationships in a way that number one, he’s getting paid for all that work that he’s doing, the relationship builder, he’s getting paid for that upfront. The things he was doing for free, he has to start getting paid for. And then, you know, he becomes up under the radar leader in his industry, as I call it, and then he’s able to turn that into a consistent flow of ideal clients. And I can explain a little more what that actually looks like.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I do. And if you could touch on, just for the audience, because we had probably about two, three episodes ago, we were talking about masterminds and the benefits of masterminds. So if you can kind of compare the two because I know some people, you know, they’re not building the relationship as much on their own. They’re just diving into these mastermind groups. And if you could talk about the differences, maybe pros and cons and definitely, I’ve been dying to get some more information as I found this extremely interesting, and I’m sure the audience as well.

The Kinds of Mastermind Groups and Their Benefits/Caveats

Dov: Well, there are different types of masterminds. So there are masterminds that people call a Facebook group a mastermind, and in some ways it is. There are masterminds where somebody’s got a, you know, two or three friends that they meet every week and they kind of hold each other accountable and do some planning. There are masterminds that you’ll pay 25, 40, 50, 75, $100,000 a year to be a part of with others at that level and you’re meeting half a month or, you know, maybe more often maybe a few times a year for a couple of days.

So they’re all different types of masterminds. If there’s something specific that you want me to refer to let me know. Here’s the big idea behind creating an alchemy network. The big idea is this, that most of us are, you want to try to be a big fish in a small pond, right? There are those who, they’re looking to become the online celebrity in their industry.

They’re the ones who show up in your Facebook feed and your Instagram feed all the time with those, all those, you know, wonderful, perfect-looking pictures and all that. Again, most people are not interested in that. Most people want to be hired not for who they pretend to be, but for they actually are. Your ideal clients reaching out to them for who they are because that gives them the best chance to do the best work and get paid really well. And you can do that. You can hit that six-figure even low seven-figure, even more depending on what you’re selling and how it works.

But if you build a network of 30, 50, 100, 150 members, and these members would be either colleagues of yours who are marketing and signing to similar audiences, or the ideal clients themselves become members in this group and then that’s an opportunity for you to build those relationships, right? Over time. Or recommenders. Sometimes it’s really difficult to reach the ideal client himself, but you can get your foot in the door of big corporations by building a group that’s comprised of people who are in a position to recommend you to the real decision-makers, to help you get your foot in the door.

So, those are the three, you know, member types that I usually will focus on with a client. And when you have a, let’s just say, a network of ideal clients, when you have a network that’s comprised of your ideal clients and you’ve got, you know, 30, 50, 100 people and you’re bringing them all together. Instead of you, you know, kind of being the single point where you’ve got an individual relationship with each of these 50 people, or maybe some of them you check in once a year, some of them, you know, more often, you now bring them into a network and they’re getting to know each other.

They’re, you’re introducing them to each other. And they find suddenly that they have some new valuable relationships as a result of you. And you become, you’re able to keep your finger on the pulse. And one of the things that consultants and other experts are trying to do all the time is to stay in touch with the client is not yet ready, right? The client says, Hey, get back to me in six months, you know, we’re not ready now. And then you’re ambitious, you get back to them in five months.

And they say, Oh, it’s too bad you didn’t get back to me a few weeks ago we just started with this competitor of yours, right? It’s happened to everybody. So, well, how could you keep your finger on the pulse without feeling awkward, without, you know, sending things that they don’t really want? You know, oh, I have this article for you or without a feeling forced? And the answer is you find some way of really contributing to their lives in a way that they consider to be a real contribution. And that is by saying, hey, I’ve got this, maybe you’re not ready to work with me on this strategy, or project right now. I get that.

But why don’t I, or maybe you’re not ready to invest in a franchise right now. If you look at what you’re doing, but why don’t I, why don’t you join me? I’ve got this network. It’s called the whatever network and it’s coming prize of people like you who are leaving the corporate world and either they’re just buying their first franchise or they’re studying it and looking into it. And we come together and learn from each other. And, you know, we’ve got an online platform that we’re communicating with people having meetings, individually learning from each other’s experiences, comparing notes, sharing.

And, you know, once a month, we get on a group video call and I answer questions and other people answer questions and it’s just very much about sharing. And maybe it’s $1,000 a year or $2,000 a year, or some other number, whatever it is. Now, suddenly, you’re getting paid for the work you were doing for free before. Does that make sense? So that’s the approach that I’m really helping people do. That’s what I call an alchemy network because you’re just, you’re taking all these individual relationships that you’ve made and you’re turning it into something that is much more valuable for them and for you.

And then when you have, you know, if you have these people in your network, I’m just using it as an example. You have them in your network, you know, maybe they’re not ready today but obviously, they’re interested, they’re studying, they’re looking, they’re out there. And you’re able to, you know, and they see that, they get to see your expertise upfront and close in a way that you’re not, you know, you don’t have that same type of sales relationship where they don’t see you anymore as somebody who might just want to, you know, sell them something or convince them of something.

They get to see you for who you really are. They get to benefit from your expertise. Now, it’s like having a backdoor straight to your ideal client’s office, right? When they are ready to make a move, who are they going to call? You’re going to hear about it. It gives you a chance to, you know, we call alchemy events. An alchemy event is really, it’s a whole range of things, not necessarily an event, but it’s, I mean, it’s something that you’re putting out there for people in your network to raise their hand and say, Yeah, that would be interesting for me right now.

And that makes it easy for you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in their world, right? So you know when they’re almost ready and you don’t have to be nagging them, reaching out to them, kind of pressuring them or just being that hey, I’m just checking in type voice. Instead, you’re someone who’s out there serving them every day in a significant way for a modest fee. And, you know, one of the most important things about a leading an alchemy network is curation. You’ve got to curate it and you’ve got to lead it. And that means that you don’t accept everybody who’s willing to pay your fee.

If there’s a fee, sometimes it could be free also. You don’t accept everybody just because they’re willing, they have the ability to pay and or they have the right title. It’s not enough, you know? You, it has to be a good fit personality-wise, values wise, you know, aspirational wise, perhaps stage. It has to be a good fit because with all the online networking that we all have, with all the, there’s a sore lacking of community for most people. Sore lack of community. This sort of lack of opportunity to have meaningful conversations with people that we really appreciate and respect is unfortunate.

By forming and leading your own alchemy network and curating it, you’re providing something that’s tremendously valuable because people are able to, suddenly they’re saying, wow, right? Giuseppe is doing a great job of collecting some really great people and then facilitating this, you know, leading, right? So this curation followed by leadership, and leading this so that we have a, you know, continuous, slow growth of the group. There’s always somebody new coming in and you’re making sure that we get introduced and we learned about each other and I’m getting, I’m really getting to know some people here.

So, you know, I’ve learned a lot from these people. We’ve done some deals, and you may not even be involved. And that’s totally fine. Because, you know, we can never have our finger in every pot, right? And that’s not the goal. The goal is that if we can really serve people in a light way, at the same time, they come to understand who we really are and what our capabilities are to serve them in a big way, when they’re ready for the bigger way that’s what then they say, Hey, I’m ready. How do we get started?

Giuseppe: I like that. This makes a lot of sense. You stay top of mind as well, share ideas, they don’t feel like they’re being sold to. And, you know, at the end of the day, right, the easiest, not the easiest, but the best path of getting any new client is referrals. So if you have this group and someone referral, I mean, that’s how I do business, right? I mean, from everything from contacting someone, who painted your home, you were happy. Can you send me a referral to just about any service there is.

Marketing this podcast that I created was a referral to the Unstoppable CEO. So yeah, this makes sense and it’s ongoing, right? Constantly adding, well, not necessarily always adding people but constantly staying in touch, putting the group together, may not be about franchising. Maybe the topic is something else but I really like this idea. It makes complete sense. And so people that would contact you and are interested in learning more, do you kind of set them up or walk them through step by step how to set up an alchemy network?

Dov: Yeah, absolutely. That’s my focus. And as you mentioned before, we put up a free training at profitablerelationships.com/ff which is short for Franchise Freedom. Yes. Okay. So, FF. And they can go have a look at that and see if it talks to them. If yes, they can get in touch with me and happy to talk and see if it’s a fit. Really, the idea is, my goal when working with somebody is to help them get to a point within 90 days or less where they have their first 10 to 15 members in their new network. And having booked 10,000, you know, $10,000 or more in revenue with a simple plan for how they’re going to add up to another 10 members a month.

Maybe not fully 10. But, you know, let’s say five to 10 new members a month. And it’s just, it’s remarkable when people realize how they, all these years, they’ve been running around and doing all this for free. And now there’s a way to get paid for it. And it’s just remarkable. And if you do it well, most members are going to renew year after year. So, you know, it becomes a kind of consistent revenue, like a basic revenue base of 50, 100, $200,000 a year. Not bad for a consultant who would like, you know, was quite happy with half a million or so, right?

Giuseppe: Right. No, that’s great. And this is, it’s sustainable. It’s not like in my opinion dumping money in SEO, pay per click, you know, where you’re just dumping money. You’re as good as your last ad and then once that ad’s paid for you stop, it’s done. So I like this. It’s sustainable, it’s, you never know what can come of it, right? It’s just, you know, I kind of see it as if everyone, and correct me if I’m wrong, if I if I’m wrong, let me know, but my understanding is if you’re getting people in different industries, and you kind of, you know, coin yourself for example, myself, I’m the franchise go-to.

Anything, you want to start a business specifically a franchise, Giuseppe is your person. And then you have maybe the accountant who, you know, the CPA in the group, that’s the go-to person for all accounting related. And, you know, in the event that maybe someone is looking for an accountant, it’s a little bit more, I don’t know, a little bit more complicated or something maybe that that accountant does not get into, they can refer you to somebody else. But it’s good to have a nice diverse group where everyone has a different specialty, correct? Is that kind of, is that part of

BNI Group vs Alchemy Network

Dov: Yeah. You bring up an interesting aspect of this, which is, you know, someone emailed me and said, Is this just like taking BNI group online? And the answer is, no, it’s really not. Because the main goal of a BNI group, a Business Network International, if anybody’s not familiar with it, the main group of that is really for you bring together people who are non-competing in the same area, they meet for coffee once, you know, once a week and pass referrals.

And it’s a very structured system where you’ve got to be bringing in referrals and you’ve got to be meeting with all the members, you know, during, you know, during the course of the months in the year. In this case, there are different structures that could take but the greatest value is in how you’re forming a network that enriches them by bringing them into a community of people. And again, part of, you know, it’s hard to say because BNI, they’re all the same. So the idea behind it is what I just laid out.

But what we do is we come up with, we’re working backwards from my client’s business. We say, Well, okay, what is your business? How do you make your money? So if it’s a strategy consultant, then they’re making, you know, maybe 30 to 150, $250,000 from a project, right? I have another client to, a new client for him is worth, you know, anywhere from 180 to 180,000, to low seven figures. And those of us that’s on the high end, but this is a perfect thing for that. I’d say it’s perfect for anybody who, you know, oh, I guess, well, it really depends on, we can make it work for many scenarios.

But, and I say that because sometimes you want to build a group of colleagues, sometimes you want to build a group of ideal clients. So the idea is that you need to first make a decision about who, what is my business? And then how am I going to design my alchemy network to serve my business, to drive business into my business, to drive leads and deals into my business? And that leads you to the first two foundational decisions which are okay, so who is my ideal member going to be? And what’s the big idea at the root of this business, at the core of this network?

And those two have to of course, overlap because the big idea has to be something that’s going to excite your ideal members. So yeah, sure, somebody might be looking for a good accountant, a good lawyer, and so on. And that person may be in the group or they may be oh, I’ve got somebody to talk to. But it’s not about intentionally bringing together different types of people with different skill sets. It’s very much about bringing together your ideal members, which will either be certain types of colleagues, certain types of ideal clients, or certain types of recommenders Does that make sense?

Giuseppe: Yes. I appreciate that. Now, this is very interesting. You know, something I’ve thought about for my business which we can definitely talk after the show. But yeah, very interesting. This is, as I mentioned, I heard you speak before,e I wanted to have you on the show. This is beneficial. You know, we deal with franchises, for the entrepreneur listening in even on the franchise side we have consultants working b2b, b2c, a lot of great information. Dov, once again, the best way for someone to reach out to you, kind of first step was that website. Can you repeat that website one more time?

Dov: Yeah. Profitablerelationships.com/ff. Franchise Freedom.

Giuseppe: You got it. So we’ll put that in the show notes. We’ll put the HTML. I’ll have everything on there. Dov, I really want to thank you again for being on the show. This has been extremely interesting and I hope to talk to you soon.

Dov: Thank you.