How do we, as new entrepreneurs on the block, go about locating and landing our first clients? And how do we do it from day one, step one?
We all know the scenario: we’ve created this amazing product or service and we set up shop. We do all this work, we put it out there and…crickets:
our family doesn’t buy it, our friends don’t buy it, and no one is responding to our posts, blog, or emails.
When we’re starting out, we have no idea that we have no idea how to locate and land clients. To us, the creator, it’s a no-brainer that people will immediately see how valuable our work is and rush to buy from us. A lot of us operate under the naive enthusiasm that if you build it, they will come. But, we quickly find out that this is not true because the reality is this: if you build it, and then they find out about it, and then they understand what you’re doing, and then they become convinced that what you sell or offer will help them achieve what they’re after, and they remember that you’re there, then they will come. But there’s a lot of stuff that happens and between you building it and them being convinced. So, when we are thinking about locating and landing clients, these are things that we have to address.
What do we need to do from day one, step one as a new entrepreneur, the new kid on the block, fresh out the box to start locating and landing our first clients?
1. We have to work the process that transitions someone into a client.
I have a question for you: What transitions you from a casual passer-by to a paying customer, to someone who pulls out your wallet and spends that money that you’ve worked so hard for? What causes you to make that transition?
One, you have to know that the business exists. Two, you have to know and understand what they offer. Three, you have to be convinced that what they sell or offer is going to help you achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve – whether it’s that you want to look good for an event, you want jewelry that makes you stand out, or you want some food that is spicy and savory.
You have to be convinced that that business and the work they do is going to help you achieve whatever you want to achieve before you consider spending any money.
As entrepreneurs, we now have to apply that same logic to ourselves when we are stepping out looking to locate and land clients. They have to know we exist. They have to understand what we do and sell. And, they have to be convinced that our work will help them achieve what they’re after.
2. We have to know our ‘they.’
Now, the other thing to consider is that we have to make sure we are extending our effort towards the right ‘they,’ because not all ‘they’s’ are the right ‘they’s’ for what we do. Do you know the ‘they’ that you’re looking for? Because that is super important when you’re thinking about locating your clients. Everybody is not your client; so do you know the client’s you are looking for?
Think of it like animals. I’m not likening clients to animals. Instead, this is what I mean: If I say to you, “I want to see some animals,” what’s the first question that you’re going to ask me in response? You’re going to ask me what kind of animals do I want to see. And, depending on my answer, you will then know where to take me to go see those kinds of animals. If I say I want to see a hippo, you’re not going to take me to the ocean because hippos are not in the ocean. If I want to see dolphins, you wouldn’t take me to the mountains because dolphins are not in the mountains.
So, just like I would ask you a follow-up question about what kind of animals you want to see, we have to ask the same follow-up question regarding our clients: What kind of client do you want to see?
This is an important question to answer because a lot of us tend to think, ‘I want to see animals,’ instead of being clear about the specific kind of animals we want to see, which directs our efforts. For instance, we say I want to serve moms. Or teachers. or entrepreneurs. Those are big groups; and within that group, there are a lot of different experiences that exist within it. Is it a single mom? Is it a mother of children with ADHD? Is it an older mother whose children are serving in the war? What kind of mother are you talking about? All of them are mothers but they don’t all hang out in the same location.
You have to be clear about what kind of audience you’re looking for and what their experience is because that will determine who you go looking for and where you go to find them. Let’s say you’ve made this amazing product for cooking the perfect chicken: crispy on the outside juicy on the inside. You pitch your product to me, but I’m a vegan. I’m not going to pay attention to your stuff because it’s not for me. Let’s say I’m not a veagn. Even if I do eat meat, if my idea of the perfect chicken is not crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, I’m not going to be interested in your product. So you have to find the right ‘they’ for the work you do.
3. We have to know which experience our work serves.
Remember TINSTAAFL from economics: “There is no such thing as a free lunch?” Well, I made up my own version of a TIN- statement, TINSTAAUS: There is no such thing as a universal soap. Soap is (or can be) a fairly universal concept. We can assume that everyone on the planet uses a cleansing agent of some sort. But, here’s the thing: though soap may be a universal concept, there is no universal soap. There is no one soap that is going to serve all of the needs, intentions, desires and wants of every person who would use soap. So, which of those people are we going to serve with our soap? Which of those intentions, needs, and desires are we going to serve with our soap? Until you know that, until you know the kind of client that you’re looking for, and the experience that you’re speaking into, it’s going to be very hard for you to land your client because you are unable to show how your product helps them in their pursuit.