How To Get Your First Customer For Your Startup
One of the most commonly asked questions by upcoming startups is how to get your first customer for your startup. Earlier when I interviewed Tim from Tint, he mentioned that customer service is extremely crucial and it was a major factor in how Tint hit 1 million dollar revenue in less than a year. A powerful engineering team will help you build your startup, but you won’t get pass seed round without a good amount of traction or sales. Getting your first customer can be a pain, but it helps you build a roadmap to future referrals which will create a snowball effect for your startup.
First Customer For Your Startup
According to Tim and a few other VP of sales, the best way to find your first customer is through your personal network. This includes using Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, Forums, basically anything you can find within your niche. The best way to approach this is to stay organized. Open up a spreadsheet or word document and jot down where your customers might be. For example if your product targets clothing retails, jot down a list of clothing retailers that you can contact. Contact each of these individual retailers one by one. The most important factor is that you should dig into your network first, so browse through your network and see if you can locate friends and family that know of other people who runs retailers.
Nothing is wrong with reaching out to family and friends. Pinterest’s CEO claimed that his mom was the one who spread his initial picture posting idea to her friends. Making a sale involves hustling and getting things done, so tap through your network and start reaching out.
Most people recommends that you start on Linkedin because that’s where the most professional people are located. People are more likely to respond on linkedin than on Twitter. Tim recommends that you look through your 2nd degree connections and possibly even your third degree. If you see a potential client that you have no connection with, find someone within your network that does and try to get an introduction.
Formatting your introduction is extremely crucial as well. You only get one chance to send them an invite. Chances are, if they ignore your first invite they might ignore your second invite, so make it good. The best way to format an invite is by bringing value to them. The most ignored ones are the ones that say, “Hey check out my product!”. Instead, try telling them what are some things that your product can provide to them, more importantly what value can your product bring to increase their business or enjoyment. Try not to target too many points, instead aim for a few solid objectives to keep it short and simple. Nobody wants to read a 2000 word introduction of your company with no value.
In almost every field of business, networking is extremely crucial. If you have read the post on how Li Ka Shing became a billionaire with just $300 , then you should probably remember that he mentioned the importance of networking. We hear the saying, “network your ass off” all the time, but most people actually recommend that it is not necessary to network yourself like crazy. Instead attend events and meetups that are based in your niche and spend more time networking people within your product niche. A great place to discover meetups is through meetup.com . Type startup in the search for any city, and most likely you will see a lot of results.
During the meetup, you do not want to just simply introduce yourself. A good way to approach people during a meetup is by asking them a question about your product. Ask them for feedback and ask them would they use your product. If they say no, ask them what would you need to tweak in order for them to use it. You don’t have to adjust to everyone’s feedback, but if you are trying to get your first customer for your startup, you might want to jot down those feedbacks. Let everyone know at the meet what you are doing and how your product will provide value for them. Is it making things easier or more complicated for them?
Always always always follow up with your clients and potential clients. Customer service is the key to success. A lot of times during the startup phrase, you won’t have the best product out there yet. It might not be the most stable product out there or the best revenue generating product, but a client will happily tell their friends about your product if you are nice to them. Imagine this, you’re using a web app to look for flights and you run into problems. You pick up the phone and call their support team, but their support team puts you on hold and has a rude attitude. What would you say to your friends about the web app? Most likely, you will tell them that it sucked and customer service was terrible. After you land your first customer for your startup, you need to follow up with them as much as possible. If they do not contact you about their problems, reach out to them. This will make them feel good and pass the word onto their friends so you can build that snowball effect for your startup.
There’s a lot more to it, but this should help you jump into getting your first customer for your startup.