One of the hardest and most daunting parts of starting your own business is landing your first customer. It can be a nerve racking experience and hard to know where to even start. So we asked entrepreneurs:
What's the best way to land your first customer when you don’t have a case study or existing customer to point prospects to?
The best way to land your first customer is to tell a well-crafted story that expresses your passion for your work and draws the prospect in. Tell the story of the moment you knew this was what you were meant to do. Or the story of the moment the idea struck you to start a company // create your product // pursue this career. In the beginning, clients buy YOU as much as they buy what you offer.
The best way to land your first customer is to do it for free! Non-profit organisations are a great place to start. Simply contact the organisation and volunteer your services. Not only can you feel good about giving back, but also it gives you a case study to use for new prospects.
Give them something to buy
The best way to land that first client is to give them something to buy. Ask for the order. Send a simple proposal and ask for money in exchange for your product or service.
Because what you are selling is new, you are really selling yourself so don’t worry about the materials, website, business, card or case study. Entrepreneurs have the tendency to complicate things (me too). When starting your business or rolling out a new product or service remember that you are selling yourself or company first. Find a trusted business relationship and get feedback. They either trust you or they don’t. Don’t get too hung up on all the details. What you need is feedback and cash.
Jeffrey C. Garr
I have been there 18 years ago and hopefully you are referred into the prospect and it is not a cold call or maybe you are calling an existing client and they already know who you are and what you can do with your new business. This will go a long way to securing the first client. I am assuming we are talking about B to B in sales as opposed to B to C. If you are on a cold call it will come down to believability that you can take that client to “the promised land” so to speak. Are you an expert in your field and can you demonstrate that? It will take leadership skills to show the client you can lead them to great success for making this decision. This endeavor is not for everyone but for the right one you can succeed very well in your own business but securing that first client is vital.
Offer an unconditional money back guarantee
I've been in this position multiple times. Found it best to offer something that guaranteed my performance or the performance of the product or service I was offering and the assurance that I would fully refund the person or company for any costs incurred or a full refund on the service performed. Put my money where my mouth was.
Offer an ROI guarantee
Similar to above but promising a return on their investment (ROI) at some guaranteed multiple. The ROI could be financial (ex. money saved or money earned). It could be ideas, innovation, convenience or value based (ex. amount of time savings, level of increased or perceived value, ease of use multiplier, etc.).
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