Learn how Susan uses her unique success patterns to build relationships with clients and friends.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Her Business: heartspark
How we met: The Pioneer Nation Facebook group
Susan teaches the science of happiness and thriving.
Her clients learn their success patterns and use them to make more of their lives, whether that’s making a life change, or thriving in their current jobs.
Susan says that finding success patterns is like being told what your super powers are. It’s a little bit humbling, it’s a little bit hard. And she finds that it’s really beneficial to have a mix of people from different companies in her classes. The program is based on asking questions, and different companies and types of people ask different types of questions. Also, to uncover your success patterns you have to brag a little bit, and talking about that in front of your peers is hard, so it’s helpful to have strangers there, as well.
What this drove home for me was the importance of meeting all different types of people. It’s so easy to stick with people in your “circle,” but when you step out of that, you can learn all sorts of unexpected things.
She not only helps people identify how to get what they want, but also how to be conscious about what they want in the first place.
Lots of things can hold people back from knowing what they really want. Some people just haven’t identified their goals yet, while others’ are influenced too much by what their friends and family want for them. Fears or doubts, like lack of money, also hold people back from going after what they want.
Susan says, “I really don’t want to get good at selling something,” yet she has built a thriving client base by knowing her own success patterns and using them to guide her actions.
She uses her success patterns of optimism, playfulness, entertaining, being a hostess, and making meaningful connections to develop relationships with new people. She says that finding your groove means figuring out what activity is both effective and comfortable, and then doing that activity again and again.
In Susan’s case, events have helped her grow her clientele while continuing to connect with current clients. She calls them heartspark Connections, and they are monthly gatherings at heartspark in which people mingle, meet new friends, and learn about heartspark. Marketing has always been strictly word of mouth.
When you read that Susan hosts events, you may assume that she’s an extrovert. That’s actually not the case. She’s introverted – for her to open up at networking events, she has to go many times, so she feels more comfortable doing events in her own space.
In addition to heartspark Connections, she also offers heartspark Adventures every other month. These are opportunities for people to go out and explore Portland, whether that’s going on a yoga hike or riding a beer cycle. The adventures are put on in conjunction with a former client of hers who leads international adventure trips for women, and serve a similar function of giving people a taste of her larger offerings.
Susan emphasizes the importance of patience in relationships, and to see relationship building as planting seeds that need to be watered and nurtured.
While her events are very effective at growing her clientele, she doesn’t expect people to come to one event and then sign up for a class.
She says to remember that making the sale is really urgent and important to you, but it’s not to the other person, so it’s important to keep reaching out. She’s had quite a few people thank her for reminding them about her offerings. Even though they were very interested in her courses, it took her persistent follow up to get them to act.
Even in uncomfortable situations, Susan still looks to her success patterns to make her more effective.
I told Susan about my experience going to a huge networking event and feeling so uncomfortable I left after 5 minutes. She told me that even though networking events aren’t really her thing, if she was at a huge networking event, she would use her success pattern of role-playing to make it more enjoyable for herself. She would ask what role could she play that would be surprising and fun. She might try to finding someone she knows or knows someone she knows, or she might deliberately choose to meet a total stranger and see how long the conversation could go on.
When Susan first started heartspark, she already had a network to tap into, and she made it easy for people to work with her in a new capacity.
She used to do more leadership coaching and training, so those corporate clients were some of the first ones that she tapped for classes. Formerly, she worked at Portland General Electric, and they have a tuition reimbursement program for college classes. Her classes are accredited by a local university so employees there can take her courses. 50% or more of her clients are corporately sponsored.
This drove home the idea that it’s important to make it easy for people to connect with you, and to work within structures they are already using.
Another idea that Susan emphasized was the importance of asking for support.
When I asked her what advice she would give to new business owners, she said that the biggest thing that she’d encourage people to do is to ask for support. With her heartspark Connections, she’s not afraid to ask people to bring someone. Her clients want to support her, and her business grows because they bring new people in. Many people are afraid to ask for help, and she believes that we all have a lot more support available to us than we take advantage of.
In having these conversations, I’ve heard a lot of people emphasize giving value to others. But it’s equally important to ask others for support, whether that’s making a valuable connection for you, or giving you feedback on your work.
- People’s success in relationships is based on acting to their strengths, so give yourself permission to use your success patterns and “show up as you really are”
- To find your relationship-building groove, figure out what you do that combines effective and comfortable
- Creating your own events offers an opportunity to meet people on your own terms
- We have a lot of untapped support in our networks, so don’t be afraid to ask for support
Susan wants to connect with:
Susan can help you by:
Teaching you the process of uncovering your natural patterns of success and how to experience happiness as a strategic advantage.
Want to connect with Susan? Check out her LinkedIn profile here.
1 step you can take to grow your network today:
Identify a relationship-building activity that is both effective and comfortable for you, whether that’s hosting events, meeting people online, or going to meetup groups. Then do it again and again.