Getting your first clients can be the hardest. Often people who start a business have years of experience providing a high quality service or product but have no sales experience. So how can you get clients if you have none?
Offer it for free
One way is to offer your product for free. The co-founder of LoyLap Patrick Garry says in the beginning they had to offer their service for free as it was unproven. They offered a free trial and at the end of the trial a number of businesses wanted to pay to user their service.
How can you find people to test your product or service? If you’re selling to businesses Linkedin is the way to go. Your search can be very specific and you can reach out to people in very specific industries and geographic locations. Make sure you also ask if at the end of the trial they will write a testimonial for you and share it on Linkedin if they are happy with the product you have provided.
If you’re selling to customers you can run ads on facebook which are not very expensive. Similar to the above ask people for a testimonial and to share it with their network on facebook. A video testimonial would be best but most people will not want to do this so don’t ask.
Make them an offer they can’t refuse
In some cases you may not be able to offer your product or service for free due to its cost or time to deliver. It is much easier to sell to someone if they know you rather than cold calling. Rather than offering your main product or service for free develop something you can offer so it gives potential clients an opportunity to know you. For example, if you offer a 1 month training course you could create short articles or videos and offer them for free. This free content gives people an opportunity to get to know you and gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability.
If you are selling to consumers you can setup a facebook page and post your content. It’s better to run ads on boosted content as it also displays people’s comments and likes. You can also post your videos to youtube which will have the added benefit of pulling in people searching for topics relating to your content.
One of the benefits of posting on youtube is they have very useful analytics. They tell you what topics people are searching for and how they found your videos. For example, we ran a channel called Dubjobs. It provided information for international students who were looking to study abroad and find a job in Ireland and Germany. We initially just created videos related to work and study. But when we looked at the analytics, people were searching for what life was like in Ireland and Germany. We began creating more videos on living abroad and they became very popular.