Relationship Marketing

Relationship Marketing Weekly: Finance Consultant Edition

Today we feature All Funding Options owner, Cheryl Gowen…. For Cheryl, Summertime was always the slowest time of the year, so she decided to take a pro-active approach by incorporating relationship marketing strategies and within two weeks she saw a big difference. You’re going to LOVE her story!

Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. This is Kody Bateman. Welcome to a special edition of our Relationship Marketing Weekly show. Very, very excited about the show that we’re going to have here today. This is our Finance Consultant Edition. This is a very, very unique edition.

So if you’re in the financial business in any way, yeah, you might want to tune into this and we’re going to find out some really cool things today from our guests coming to us from St. Petersburg, Florida. Please welcome Cheryl Gowen. How are you Cheryl?

Cheryl Gowen: Great! Hi Kody. How are you?

Kody Bateman: I’m really good. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. You have an amazing story and I really want to jump right into this.

First of all, you have a very unique business. You are – the name of her company by the way is All Funding Options. So thinking of you as a business and you’re looking for funding and you find out there’s a company called All Funding Options. Congratulations on a great name.

Cheryl Gowen: Thank you.

Kody Bateman: I think the name tells a lot about what you do. But while we’re at it, can you just kind of give us a rundown of what you provide as a service for business?

Cheryl Gowen: Sure. So I work for – work with any size company from startup to – they could be generating 100 million plus in revenues to help them find financing either through a bank, if they can qualify or if not, through an alternative lender. It can be for any type of funding they need for working capital. It could be for business acquisitions, equipment, machinery purchases or for any type of commercial real estate for refi, purchase or cash-out.

Kody Bateman: Now do you have clients all over the country or primarily in Florida or where?

Cheryl Gowen: Primarily they’re in Florida but I can help customers anywhere throughout the United States.

Kody Bateman: So you have banking as options for funders as well as alternative options. When people hear alternative options for funding, they always kind of wonder, “Well, who would be an alternative?” Can you give us an example of what an alternative funder would be?

Cheryl Gowen: They could be factoring companies. They could be ABL lenders. They could be other finance companies, insurance groups, hedge funds, private money groups and sometimes individuals, depending on the type of financing.

Kody Bateman: So you basically – you have a network of those people and you broker those deals on behalf of businesses.

Cheryl Gowen: Correct. Yeah, I have over 200 alternative lenders and 60 banks that I work with.

Kody Bateman: So tell us real quickly, what’s your primary way of generating business? How do you go find customers?

Cheryl Gowen: Through referral sources. That’s 100 percent. Now, I’m starting to get some past customers kicking in since I’m eight years in business, but just strictly referral sources. So I go to a lot of networking events to meet those sources that could refer me the business and those would be like your bankers, your CPAs, commercial realtors, business brokers and other business consultants that get in front of a business owner.

Kody Bateman: Excellent. Are you by any chance a member of BNI?

Cheryl Gowen: No, I was like when I first started my business. But I’m no longer a BNI member. Now I just go to specific networking events that are really financial-related where a lot of the bankers and CPAs go to.

Kody Bateman: OK, excellent. So you started something about three months ago and most people that have been on this show, you know, obviously we talk a lot about the power of a tangible touch. So there’s a lot of ways to reach out to your customers and clients by email, by social media, through texting. You know, there’s a lot of different ways to reach a customer. Most people rely on digital means of communication today.

So we talk a lot about those. I mean all of those are good. I mean you should use every means of communication you can. But we really focus a lot in – on this show on the power of the tangible touch. That is a real message that shows up in the mail to somebody, the most effective of which would be on a greeting card. Sometimes you might attach a gift to it.

So the person receiving your message can read it, see it, touch it, feel it, even smell it, especially if you send brownies or something with it. It’s the tangible touch. You know, appreciation that you can touch and you started using this system about three months ago and you did something that was really unique.

So this – you’ve only been doing this – you started 90 days ago and the first activity you did, I really want our listeners to listen in on what you did and what the results were after you did it. Can you share that with us?

Cheryl Gowen: Sure. So the first set of people I sent – well, the first week I sent cards just to friends and family to test it out, let them know how much I appreciated and love them.

Then the second week, I got into my top referral sources, those that had referred me business and my lenders that had closed my deals. So I sent cards out to them and I used either the “I appreciate” card and I would write a message inside of it to them or the thank-you cards.

Then I started sending them to referral sources that I had met that maybe hadn’t received any type of referrals from. I started sending cards to them and then those were more like – like Father’s Day came up in June. So a lot of them were fathers and there were pictures on Facebook with them and their kids. So I would do the dropdown photo card for Father’s Day.

I did several of those. I had a couple of my referral partners that got engaged. Some celebrated anniversaries. One of my lenders had her first grandbaby and there was a cute picture of her holding the baby and I did a drop photo.

So a lot of those were photo cards to those sources that hadn’t referred me anything and within a couple of weeks, I just started getting all kinds of referrals for new business and summertime is my slowest month.

So I was like shocked because I thought I was going to take the summer. You just send cards and learn about SendOutCards and I just got so busy in my business.

For me, every salesperson has like their numbers that work for them and always having 20 deals in my pipeline is my magic numbers. I always have them 20 and the first of the year, I was off to such a slow start. I only had 5 and by April I only had 8. When I signed up for SendOutCards, I only had 10. By the end of August, I have 41 deals in my pipeline.

Kody Bateman: Wow, wow. That’s amazing. Now I want to make sure that people understand exactly how you sent these cards out and I think you have an example of one of them, don’t you? You got a couple of cards there.

Cheryl Gowen: I do. So this one, “I appreciate you,” I use this one a lot. Then I just write a message inside. This one was one of my bankers where I said, “I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all of your hard work and effort in getting my customers approved for financing. They all have enjoyed working with you.”

So I would always write some kind of message to them, depending on who it was I was sending the card to. Then for the female, I would send this one, “Thanks a bunch!” with the daisies. You have the daisy seeds in your GIFs and I would send the seeds along with that, since it was summertime. They could grow or I would do “Live life in full bloom,” and those two I sent more to my women referral sources and bankers. The guys I would send the “I appreciate you!” cards.

Kody Bateman: OK. Now, so what’s interesting is in our system, we go out and teach people the power of relationship marketing. We use tangible touches as one of our primary ways to communicate. In SendOutCards, which is where our system is, we talk about three different types of card sends.

The first is called a “heartfelt card send,” which is what you just shared with us. The second one is a “group send” where you can send a single card to a group of people, like a Christmas card or something like that. The third one is a “scheduled send” where you can actually send scheduled cards out. You could do drip campaigns and things.

All three of those card sends are very powerful. But the example you gave, as a business owner, was the heartfelt card send. So when you say you send out “I appreciate you!” cards to 160 of your past clients, that was what we call a heartfelt card send. It was the same message on the front. But you put a unique message on the inside of every one of those. Is that right?

Cheryl Gowen: Yes. I was sending maybe three to five a day. Some days I might not have sent any. Another day, I might have sent five. But that has kind of been my average for the past 90 days.

Kody Bateman: So let me ask you a question and I know the answer. But I want our listeners to hear you answer this. Why do it that way? So you sent three to five of these a day every day for several days. It ends up accumulating to 150 cards. Heartfelt cards, these are individual, personally-typed messages to each person.

Well, the system, the same system you used to do that also does a group send where you could send one message to all 150 people at one time. So why would you send a heartfelt card three to five a day, typing the message individually, versus one card with one message in it to everybody? What’s the difference?

Cheryl Gowen: Well, for me, I felt like every – I wanted to treat everybody differently and they all had somebody special they referred to me or did something for me. So I felt like I needed to put that in the card. I really wanted to make it special for them and let them know how much I appreciate the referrals or them closing the deals for me or if they were connecting me to people or whatever.

Then with the ones that had referred me, I just really wanted to do something to acknowledge them, another way to get back in front of them, which – where those photo drop cards were just great or like I went to a networking event and somebody was doing a presentation at the networking event and I took a picture of that. I used that card “Awesome” and I put the drop photo of her doing her presentation and said, “Hey, you did an awesome job on your presentation. I really learned a lot as a business owner,” and she – two days later, she sent me a referral and I had never received one from her. She was just – and she told me that she had that sitting on her desk, the card. She was just so happy about that.

Kody Bateman: Excellent. You know, it’s interesting. As we go out and educate the business world on our relationship marketing system, we talk about the importance of what you’ve just said, the importance of that heartfelt personalized message to an individual. You mentioned that you got 150 of these out and you did it by sending three to five a day. So you just got [0:11:55] [Indiscernible] send three to five a day, all of which were very personalized.

Again our system will send a group and there’s a time when you should send a card to a group of people, like an invitation or a holiday card or whatever. But it’s really hard to get business owners in particular, business people to understand the power of what you just said because people in business are looking for automation. People in business are looking for a quick way to get a message out to lots of people as fast as they can. That’s why people do – they email everything because it’s a fast and easy way to do it.

We try to teach, “Now, wait. You need to chill a little bit and just take a couple of messages a day,” and we say to them the group sends and the scheduled sends are super cool and they will help your relationship marketing. But the heartfelt send is actually the most powerful of all. Why do you suppose that is

Cheryl Gowen: Because it’s touching their heart. It’s just – the first card I sent – well, I was one that used the internet. When I met with a customer, after my meeting, I would come back and I would send a message to them through email, thanking them for the appointment and so forth.

Now after I meet with somebody, I get my phone out. It’s so simple and quick and I send them “Thanks for your time!” card and I would send it out immediately where before when I started my business, I used to do handwritten thank-you notes. But then I got so busy, that I just didn’t have time to stay on top of it. So I just went to the computer and sent emails.

Now I find that the system is just so easy to do after my appointments, to send a card out immediately, that I don’t have to worry about coming back. Then I will go on and send an email if I promised them anything. Like if I met with a new referral source and I had a couple of people that I could introduce them to, then that’s where I would follow up by email, by making the introductions that way.

Now that I’m doing the SendOutCards, it’s really getting me into thinking about how to connect with people more on a more personal level. When I would connect people to each other, I would just do a joint introduction versus the emails. Now I call my referral partners up and say, “Hey, I met this fabulous person and I think you two should meet,” and I have that conversation with them and then I will do the – are you there?

Kody Bateman: Yeah, I’m here. We had –

Cheryl Gowen: Sorry. A call was coming in. So I still use the email but I’m making it more personal now since I started the system and just being more aware of that.

Kody Bateman: OK. So three to five of these a day over a 30-day period or so. A hundred and fifty total went out and you mentioned the result of that, your referral business in your slowest time of the year has – I don’t know what the percentage would be. So it increased how much?

Cheryl Gowen: It has doubled and then I’ve got 20 out of those 41 that are in my pipeline that have already been approved. Once they close, my revenues this year will double from last year and it will be my best year ever and this is my slowest season. I’m getting ready to go into my busy season now, September through November. It’s when I’m the busiest.

Kody Bateman: Well, congratulations by the way for that. What a great story and a great example. You take something as simple as the heartfelt card send, send two or three or four of those a day consistently for 30 days. You end up reaching 150 people over time. Now it’s probably hard for you now to not do it because it has become a habit now. Is that right?

Cheryl Gowen: It has and I look for ways to send cards when I can. I’m so excited for the holidays because the same thing happened. The first couple of years, I would handwrite Christmas cards and then it just got to be so many. So I would just pick my top 100 referral sources and maybe my top 50 customers and those were the only ones that got Christmas cards. Now this year, everyone is getting a Christmas card. So I’m excited.

Kody Bateman: Well, that’s great. Congratulations. What a unique business, a unique way that you approach your business and again you just started using this system about three months ago and have already gotten phenomenal results.

Any final words? We always like to take the end of the call as free for you. Any final words of wisdom or any story you would like to tell, anything to close this out?

Cheryl Gowen: Well, just find a way to make some kind of a personal connection. I think we just get so caught up in all the devices and technology we have and it makes a difference. You know, the first card I sent to when I signed up for SendOutCards is my next door neighbor. He lost his two dogs and he has been my pet sitter now when I’m away. But he will not take any kind of money or anything from me.

The very first card I sent was a picture of him on the front and then I wrote on the inside of the card as if the dog – my dog was writing it saying, “Thank you so much for taking care of me. You spoil me like my mom. I really enjoy our visits.” The day he got it, he came running over and he hugged me and he said he was going to run out and get two frames. One for the picture of my dog and one of what was written and have them side by side and that’s when I realized how powerful that was.

Like that meant more to him than getting paid or taking anything for watching my dog. It was that card that made such a difference.

Kody Bateman: We call that the power of human connection and how important that is in today’s day and world. You know, we – people listen in to this show to find out how to better their business, which is great. But more importantly, we need to figure out how to make human connection and you do a wonderful job of that. Making a difference in other people’s lives just by showing people that you care and what you send out comes back to you and that you’re a great example of that.

So there you have it, my friends. That is Cheryl Gowen from All Funding Options out of St. Petersburg. Thank you again, Cheryl for being with us.

Cheryl Gowen: Thank you. I’ve enjoyed it.

Kody Bateman: Thank you very much. So for all of you, if you want to find out how Cheryl does these things, get back with the person that shared this show with you. I’m sure that they can show you a system on how things work and stay tuned. Next week, we will have another version of Relationship Marketing Weekly. Thanks everybody. Thanks Cheryl. I appreciate you.

Cheryl Gowen: Thanks. Bye-bye.

Kody Bateman: Take care now.


To secure your best year yet, you may consider using a service like SendOutCards. In just minutes, you can create a custom card, add a personal message and picture, and do it all right from your mobile device!  You can even include one of their many gift selections like their amazing brownies, their new premium line of chocolates, you can even include a Starbucks card!

If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate a Relationship Marketing Strategy in your business, feel free to call or text me at {LEAD_OWNER_PHONE|}I will answer all your questions and help you build relationships, increase referrals, and make an amazing impression on all your clients, friends and family!


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