“An object at rest remains at rest, or if in motion, remains in motion at a constant velocity unless acted on by a net external force.”
Newton’s first law
How is that connected to getting clients? – you may wonder skeptically.
See, in many things in life (but let’s stick to business), momentum matters. Getting from 0 to 10 clients is by orders of magnitude harder than getting from 1,000 to 1,010 clients.
With almost any project that I have been involved with, it took us at least 5 times more effort to get the first 10 clients than it took to get from 10 to 20 clients.
I don’t know the exact reason for that, but it seems to be a law of nature.
Now, what I wanted to say was that if you’re having difficulty getting the first 10 clients, hold on. It only gets easier from there (not really, only getting the next 10 clients gets easier).
Another point is that getting the first 10 clients is very different from getting the next 10, 100, or 10,000 clients (not sure about the latter, I’ll let you know when we get there).
In this post, I wanted to share with you a simple method that I firmly believe anyone can take advantage of for getting them first few clients.
Step #0 – Make sure you have something that your market wants
Unless you have a product or a service that people actually want, you will need tons of resources to get the first 10 clients. It won’t be worth it.
Make sure that you have at least an interest in your product. This needs another post, or 40, to cover.
Some things to consider for what’s called a product/market fit:
- Do your market research.
- Stalk your competitors for inspiration.
- Talk with potential customers. Make sure they are ready to pay for what you have.
- Get your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) up and running.
If you’re still not sure whether you have a product that customers actually want, spend some time on researching the points above further.
Step #1 – Choose, and stick to, one marketing channel
The ideal marketing method varies from a market to another. In this post I will stick to email outreach – which I’m convinced that every B2B business can take advantage of.
You still don’t want to be distracted with different marketing channels. You want your energies focused elsewhere, so sticking to one channel is crucial.
The best solution for doing email outreach, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is, ehm, our own Etools.
Step #2 – Get your list of prospects
Update: In order to be more able to focus on improving Revealer, we have removed ‘Finder’ product from Etools until further notice. We’d recommend using tools like SimilarWeb or manually searching on Google.
Using our Finder tool, get a list of businesses that you think may need your product or service.
Remember to use our different filters to target the exact type of business (remember, you want quality over quantity!).
For example, let’s say you’re an Ad-network and your ideal targets are entertainment forums in Australia that are non governmental/educational:
After configuring your search (TIP: Narrow it down as much as possible), you will get a list of prospects. Narrow it down further by manually examining the results and choosing the ones that suit you best:
Let’s aim for 20 prospects today. After choosing those, proceed by sending the websites to ‘Revealer’.
The main goal from Revealer is to expose the best contact emails of these potential websites.
Now you’re supposed to have a list of your 20 targets, along with their contact emails.
Step #3 – Approach your prospects
The next thing to do is to approach these prospects (AKA cold mailing, or email outreach).
You will want to make your first email message smoking hot.
A few other things to keep in mind:
- In case the website has several emails, contact only the top 2-3 emails.
- Make your email as personalized as possible. Don’t use bulk-submits!
- Schedule automatic follow-ups (how to). Plus here’s here’s more tips about that.
Step #4 – Close them deals!
Especially in the beginning, when you don’t know much about your market (no, you don’t), you will need to have a lot of patience and to listen carefully to the objections and needs of your prospects.
The Internet is full of articles about sales, so I’m not gonna get into that here.
Keep repeating steps number 2, 3, and 4 until you get some traction. With each customer it will only get easier to understand and get the next one (as long as you keep listening and improving).
To make sure you’re on the right track, here are some benchmarks from our experience:
- A good reply-rate for your emails should be at least 6%. If you get less than that, you’re doing something wrong. (Hint: are you sure you’re offering a solution for a real problem they have?)
- At least 40% of those who reply should be somewhat interested.
- This varies a lot from one market to another, but with enough persistence, you should be able to close at least 5% of those who show an interest.
Have any questions? Feel free to post them in the comments below! Or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org