Tip: scroll all the way down for more interesting statistics on the topic.
In my last post, I mentioned how important it is to be able to sell if you are an entrepreneur. I felt like there was still a little bit missing. I remember how we started our business and the main question we had at that time. A lot of my friends looking to start a business still have the same question.
The questions number 1 is “Exactly how do I find the (first) customer?” It is perhaps the most important one. When you get your first paying customer is when you switch from having a hobby to having a business.
I have two pieces of news for you. One good, one bad.
The good: it is really easy and there is no secret or magic to finding your first customer
The bad: unless you are one of the lucky few, it will take some hard work and patience.
Let me break down the “how to” of getting your business off the ground:
First of all, find your first customer. Don’t expect to be paid a lot, just find them. If you can’t find someone to pay you, consider doing your first job for free. A lot of entrepreneurs do that. A lot of entrepreneurs not only do it for free, but spend money to get their customers. Even established businesses. Think about investments into new ventures, promotions, free give aways, etc. The world is full of examples.
The least you can do is work for free for a week or a month. There is one thing you need to do though. Make sure to keep the reference and keep your eyes open for what it is that your client actually wants you to do. Make sure you really focus on what their problems are as opposed to what you want to sell. If you can do that, there is the value in your work.
Next time around, when you talk to another client, leverage your experience. Show your work and mention the difficulties you overcame in your client’s business. Talking about the work you have already done is a huge confidence booster, both for you and in you.
It indicates two important qualities to your prospects:
- you can actually do what you say you do
- you can finish what you promise you can do.
These qualities are the two building blocks of other people’s confidence in you. It you are an achiever, this information might seem strange to you, but remember- world is full of promises. It is not so full of successfully finished projects. As you grow your business, always remember this and feed off it and present it. Present what you’ve done and how you made your clients successful.
Next time you are in front of your prospects, think about how confident it makes you feel when you say “10/1000/1 000 000 clients have trusted me/us and we’ve delivered our services/products to them”. Build your references, trust them and live on their trust. If they’re paying you, they trust you can do the job. As more people trust you, let people know. You will become ever more trustworthy and sought after.
The bottomline- never underestimate the power of reference. Start from the first client!
And to back up my soft article, here are a few statistics from our friends at Referral Saasquatch
65% of new business comes from referrals
92% of respondents trusted referrals from people they knew
People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend
The LifeTime Value of a new referral customer is 16% higher