Many years ago, nurture marketing guru Jim Cecil told a story that metaphorically stressed the importance of building memorable and caring long-term relationships with customers and prospects. Over the course of my career, I’ve come to greatly appreciate the value of the lesson contained within Jim’s story. I hope you enjoy the story and benefit from the message as much as I have.


“ The black bamboo is just one of thousands of bamboo varieties. Its seed looks very much like a thick-skinned walnut. After planting, it must be watered and fertilized faithfully every week. 

During the first year, there isn’t any noticeable growth emerging from the seed. The same meticulous process of watering and fertilizing is continued throughout the second, third and fourth years; still, nothing visually happens.

Finally…in the sixth month of the fifth year, the seed opens and a stalk bursts through the ground. And, within six weeks, the black bamboo grows to a majestic height of 20 feet.

The question is when did all this growth really take place…20 feet in six weeks or 20 feet in six years? I believe the growth was the result of precise events staged over five years…because, if at any time during that period, the seed had not been cared for, it surely would have died.

Good customer relationships are often like the black bamboo. To get prospects to think of you first, the process may require pro-active nurturing over a year or two. But once the efforts of nurturing take hold, results are often beyond measure.”