So you have set up your first team, your business is ready with that great product or service, now what?
It’s time to have your first customer to buy that product/service. Your first sale will always be the hardest but ultimately the most satisfying.
Getting your first customer will require a mix of old-school face-to-face networking and plenty of time behind the computer to build your brand online. Remember, word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools. Ensure quality customer service to your first set of customers because they can help you grow your initial user base the quickest.
Certain questions that can generally tickle your mind with thoughts of customers are:
- Where do you find your first customers?
- Who are the people most likely either to buy from you or send you good referrals?
- How do you approach them and get the word out?
Here are some simple ways to land the first set of customers:
Develop more contacts and referrals
For business, contact lists are essential. You can enhance your lists, which are also your potential target, by several ways. Add your personal networking people on the list. Do not forget, your professional contact like vendors can be valuable networking as well. Establish a contact with them, and spread news on your business.
Landing referrals from networking or past business associations isn’t just a cheap way to pick up new business, it is also a way to pick up customers with the highest retention rates. What’s more? Referral customers tend to purchase more over time and in turn become a source of additional referrals.
Set yourself on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and like. These tools have given startups a great way of marketing their business and developing relationships with their customers. Take time to interact with others and offer value. It may be advisable to offer special introductory offers to entice your first few customers. Make them feel special and they might share the experience with their friends and relatives.
Identify the target market
Identify your perfect customer — a person who currently experiences every pain point that you solve and who is in a position to spend money to solve it.
You should understand what your customers need, what value your product can bring, and where your customers spend their time. That way, you can communicate to others in your network what type of customer you’re looking for.
Use the paid way
If you have some money to spend, putting it into a marketing budget can help you branch out. Whether you spend on marketing online, offline or both, depends on your business. To do so, it helps to offer a message that not only reaches your target customers, but also showcases the value you can offer them.
Identify your barriers
Every company or product has barriers which keep users from signing on the dotted line. You need to understand why some of your leads aren’t converting into users.
You’re the product builder, so you forget how hard it is to understand the product. Not everyone will understand it right away. Have your value proposition front and center.
Product or Service Launching
Plan for your product or service launch, when it is ready. Invite your contacts, vendors, potential customers, and media to let them know about your offering. Inviting the press will help more people know about your launch.
Share your success
Don’t keep good news to yourself, share it with your community and potential customers. Share in-depth case studies and show which customers are already using your platform on your website, in your newsletter, or alongside pictures on your store walls.
Remember, even if you don’t like sales, to be a successful entrepreneur, you will need to be able to sell.