I just launched a service type of business, and I am trying so hard to land my first 10 clients. How were you able to do it? how is the process like for your business, and how were you able to keep a positive mindset.
Yup. It is difficult. People will jump up in arms but in my opinion the best way to do it is really quite simple.
First off you can pedal around social media but really for us that was just a waster of time. SEO is awesome but it takes time to kick in and to know exactly who your targeting.
The best bet is simply old school. Years ago when we started business's we just got out on the street, knocked on doors, dropped leaflets and got heard.
Know your product, try and identify a number of niche groups and simply send them emails with a targeted message, better still go and see them with your laptop.
Now, your best bet is to make your time and service free. Offer a super personal service and hand hold them, make it clear they pay when you and they see it works for them.
When they respond:
Put advertising for your product on your product and offer to remove it when they pay.
Don't worry about revenue. Think about solving the problem and doing it substantially well. If your product works - they will pay for it.
Then turn the billing on. and repeat.
Go slow think personal - and expect to send an enormous number of emails.
If you offer the service for free for 30-90 days then have them agree to "case studies" and reviews on directory sites to help sell to your next prospect.
The first 10 should give you the confidence, intelligence and credentials to get the 100.
In any service type startup that I've been a part of, we would basically start the same - going "door-to-door" and pitching to potential clients. Yes, it takes a lot of effort to find potential clients - you have to know who they are and where to find them (if you don't know your audience that well, then you will fail anyway). And then you have to convince them, and it's even harder, and you get rejected like 90% of the time, but you have to keep trying, keep perfecting your pitch, analyzing objections and rejection reasons until you can provide a good answer to each conceivable objection from clients.
How to stay positive? simple. Don't do it alone. Find a partner who is good with people and doesn't care about rejections (i.e. a borderline sociopath :-), preferably with a salesmanship training/experience, and go door-to-door together. Beside psychological support, two people have more influence than one, appear more serious, and one can observe and take notes while the other is pitching, which greatly improves the later analysis (it's hard to pitch and take notes at the same time). The best partner, however, is the one who already has access to potential customers. For example, in one of my startups we designed an online system for minimart owners and my partner spent the last 15 years doing the same work for minimarts except it was manual. Our new system automated most of this work, but the target audience remained the same - so he just informed his existing clients that they are in for a treat and will get a tool that will make things easier, more reliable, and cheaper. The point is - find a partner who already has direct access to your potential clients.
Of course, we're talking about a B2B service here. B2C is an entirely different story.
There is a lot of good advice here. I would add:
Set realistic goals for each prospect contact. For example:
The goal of the first call is to secure a meeting where you explain the service, and later, show portfolio, If you get that, your'e winning.
The goal of the dog 'n pony show meeting is to secure an onsite visit.
The goal of the onsite visit is to not annoy them so much they don't want you back.
See what I mean? If your trying to close a deal on the first telephone contact you'll walk away depressed 99% of the time.
The next advice is that in the beginning be brutally honest. "I'm just starting out with this. I know (my service) has value because (fill in the blanks). As an early adopter you'll be a big fish to me and will receive a lot of attention"
As opposed to
"It will be great! You'll love it!" Which is what people who start out often say.
Good luck to you. I still have a copy of the check for the first website we sold seven and a half years ago.
Digital Marketing is probably your best bet.
- Find your ideal audience and build a campaign around it.
- Build a simple message, highlighting the 1 pain point you can solve and a provide a FREE 5 minute demo or consultation.
- Build a simple way for those targeted audiences that see your ad to contact you. (call, email, give you their email, etc...)
- Test this on different platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc...)
After you do this, you should get:
Your first 20 to 30 prospects. Validate your business idea and if you are a good salesperson have your first 5 to 10 clients.
I think the 'secret' is that it's really hard and I echo what others have said about it being about effort and use of tools such as social media.
The one CRM tool I've found really useful is Nimble (I'm not associated with them in any way, just a user).
In terms of positivity I always recommend the Start-Up podcast, especially series one about all the things they never tell you about running a startup such as the loneliness, insecurity etc that all rational people feel doing something so based on one's own inner belief.
Lastly, stay lean, the lack of sales might be because you need to change the service or the proposition so constantly - try, measure, improve.
I reaffirm Dimistry's point about partnership. It is difficult when you are alone and trying to prospect, close the deal, implement, monitor, bill and collect the payments for the services rendered especially if you are in transition from a formal corporate environment to SME/SOHO owner. I found that partnerships with firms with existing clients who find my services valuable is an easier route to market than trying to go it alone.
Being flexible and open to expanding your portfolio if it gets you in the door for prospective clients. I thought that developing marketing and communications strategy would be my core business but I have found that training is what gets me in the door and opens the conversations at the right level of management on what other projects can be handled.
Keeping positive is easier if you have a support network. I found mine in my BNI chapter as it is comprised of business owners who face similar business and personal challenges as well as triumphs so they can relate to what you are going through and keep you focussed on the goals and not the current state.
Hello Samuel Eze!
I am sure that one of the most dificult thing to do in business is to find clients to buy our products. So here are some ideas which I think will help you.
N°1 Set your target No need to get started with new customers if you do not really know who you are looking for ... Draw a portrait of the typical customers who might buy your product or service. Then explain what are their desires, expectations, habits and the places where they will find information on the products or services you are selling.
N° 2 get to know your target
Once your target is set, try to touch it by communicating about the company and its offer. Advertising insert in the press, distribution of flyers, sending e-mailing ... It's up to you to define the ideal means of communication to reach your target.
N°3 expand your network
Looking for new customers? It may be time to step out of your entrepreneur's lair and meet new people who might introduce you to future clients. Where to go to contact fishing? In business clubs, at local events or related to your sector of activity ...
N° 4 operate your networks
You have followed the previous advice, welldone! But all the work remains to be done! Because it is not enough to give your business card to win a new customer ... So be proactive, quickly contact and offer your services or contacts: the best recipe to collect help from your network.
N°5 communicate on social networks
Everyone is on social networks. Certainly, but still need to know how to use them! Create a Facebook page yes, but if you animate regularly with information that may interest customers to test your product or service.
N°6 Diversify your offer
If your product or service does not attract enough customers, one of the solutions is to propose another one. A simple idea, even simplistic, but that can make its effect! Analyze the trend of your market and think carefully about what your target is waiting for.