You’ve picked a great location, decked out the décor, sorted out your products and services and even snagged a great domain name for your e-commerce site. Everything’s ready to go and you’re finally open for business. There’s just one problem.
Where are the clients?
That’s the billion-dollar question for many budding entrepreneurs, especially first-time business owners. Landing those first few clients is easier said than done, more so when your business hasn’t gained the reputation and trust many others enjoy. Cultivating a stellar reputation makes it easier for word to spread about your business, netting you new clients plus a loyal following that’ll stick with your business for years to come.
Don’t worry – those things will come with time and consistency. In the meantime, you’re wondering how you can nab your first clients. Let’s go in-depth with a few simple yet powerful tips for attracting your first – and soon-to-be most loyal – clients.
1. Know Your Market
The first rule of starting any business is knowing exactly what you’re getting into. If you don’t know who you’re selling to or understand the market you’re selling in, then struggling is almost a given. Market research is key, here. A thorough study of your market, who your potential customers are and what they expect is essential to providing the right products and services.
One of the first things you should do is build a basic profile of your potential clients. Age, income, gender and location are just a few of the stats you’ll want in your market research. Learn their personalities, common pain points and expectations when it comes to similar products.
Keep tabs on the competition, too. Knowing what your rivals are up to will give you a heads-up, letting you explore new niches or make improvements that offer an edge over your competitors. If you’re still in the process of starting a new business, a sneak peek at your closest rivals can help inspire new ideas and changes that put you ahead of the curve.
2. Show Your Value
Even if potential clients know who you are, they want to know exactly what your business offers. Demonstrate that up-front with concise preview of what your business is all about and what you offer to prospective clients. Provide clear solutions that speak to their pain points while adding value for their organizations as well as yours.
Don’t be afraid to leverage your own expertise and insights when it comes to landing your first clients. This can take the form of collaborating with other experts, writing guest blog articles and even creating videos showcasing your expertise. Positioning yourself as an expert builds credibility, which in turn attracts clients.
3. Grow Your Online Presence
When was the last time you heard of a business without a website? Having one is almost mandatory for landing those new clients, especially for new businesses.
Don’t have your website up and running yet? A simple landing page lets you tease your business and its upcoming products and services. Trust us – it’ll work while you’re working behind the scenes launching your full-fledged website. Adding name and e-mail forms to the landing page lets you keep visitors on top of the latest updates.
Modern websites live and die by Search Engine Optimization, so make it a priority for your website. Spammy content is a no-go, so expect to put in some effort with well-written content, whether it involves thorough and compelling product descriptions or authoritative and insightful FAQ sections.
Blogs are also a great way to engage and land those first clients. Clients might ignore ads, but a blog filled with strong, informative and engaging content will always get their attention, not to mention it also looks good when it comes to SEO.
4. Harness the Power of Social Media
Wait…didn’t we just talk about this in the last point? As it turns out, cultivating a strong online presence takes more than making a great website or utilizing e-mail marketing. Social media’s a big deal – take the absolutely jaw-dropping popularity of TikTok, for example. With an estimated 4.89 billion global users across multiple platforms, it’s nearly impossible to ignore social media and the sheer reach it offers to new clients.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide endless opportunities for reaching clients within your target market, all while spreading the word about your business beyond geographic borders. Starting up your social media accounts prior to your grand opening helps build hype and anticipation, not to mention you’ll secure the best identities before they’re taken.
As we mentioned before, social media videos also work wonders to bolster your social media presence. A quick YouTube, TikTok or Instagram video gives you a broad reach, allowing you to attract, entertain and inform your first clients.
All of this seems confusing at first, but there are ways to cut through the mental clutter. A solid, trustworthy Customer Relationship Management system can help you manage both customer interactions as well as your social media campaigns.
5. Network and Collaborate
Humans crave connections – and entrepreneurs are no exception to that basic rule. Networking with industry leaders and fellow entrepreneurs can help you gain valuable insights for your business, as well as contacts with influential movers and shakers. After all, you never know just what – or who – someone knows until you’ve had a chat.
It’s not just trade shows and conferences that are great places for networking. Even a friendly and low-stress meet-up or dinner is a ripe opportunity for networking. Don’t forget to follow up with your new contacts and always have that “elevator pitch” ready just in case.
6. Focus on Building Trust
Trust is key when seeking new clients. If your clients can’t trust you, then they certainly won’t do business with you. Fortunately, there are several trust-building avenues you can take to build your business’s credibility and put your first clients at ease:
- Show off your successes. Modesty is a virtue, but there’s no shame in showcasing your business’s achievements, whether it’s for world-class customer service or offering the best products and services in your area. Promoting these achievements in-store and/or online can help give your credibility the boost it deserves. The longer you’re in business, the more opportunities you’ll have to rack up awards and achievements.
- Be transparent. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to building credibility for your business. Examples include open and clear communication with clients, as well as your own staff, investors and vendors. If you make mistakes, don’t be afraid to own up to them and to let others see you learn from them.
- Take advantage of testimonials. Think of testimonials as a unique form of word-of-mouth that also doubles as a credibility booster. Use customer reviews to your advantage – both to draw new clients and, in the case of any negative reviews, to learn from them and make meaningful improvements.
7. Make Your Clients Comfortable
When landing your first client, it’s tempting to take an aggressive approach to selling your product or service. But immediately going for the hard sell often makes it harder to win clients over, especially if they’re already nervous about giving your business a fair shot. Falling into the role of the pushy salesperson not only pushes clients away, but you’ll also seem overly eager and even desperate to some.
Instead of playing the salesperson role, try thinking and speaking like a consultant. And yes, there’s a difference between the two – one merely sells you products and services while the other sells solutions. Approaching your clients as a problem solver does two things – it first puts your clients at ease and, secondly, it lets you discover what they’re thinking and how to best offer the solutions they’ll need to get the job done.
In the business world, reputation is everything. If you want your fledgling business to get off the ground and soar high, then you’ll want to build credibility first and foremost. Fortunately, the above tips will help make that task easier, ultimately giving you a clear path to success.