Everything I ever wanted to know I just ask a search engine and there's the answer. So the least I can do for my clients is share what I've learned.
- Derek Sivers
In the journey of setting up a startup, it's essential to get it going. No business can survive without a client availing your services. In my previous post How I failed and managed to rise again in my startup!
I listed the reasons that led to my failure and how I managed to pick up again. But a business has to start from somewhere. For this start a client is needed who avails and trusts your business services. But client acquisition can be taught from any of the books and several articles are also available which you can refer to. According to my experience, acquiring your first client has nothing to do with the hard coded rules. I would like to share the tips which led me to get my first client.
1. Don't get too touchy
I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build.
- Ayn Rand
It's often usual to get touchy over your first client. If he discusses the project with you, you leave everything aside and focus every bit of your energy on your first potential client. I also did the same. One time he said anything bad, I felt like a loser. I stopped looking for more opportunities and concentrated all my energy only on one client.
The bad thing that happened was that at the end he didn't gave us the project. He simply left a message for me that 'we have gone with some other company at this time.' I had to start looking for more opportunities. I learned from this incident to never get touchy. Always keep looking for opportunities.
2. Keep client's needs above your own
Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers.- Les Brown
Most of the times, it happens that we fail to understand the actual needs of the client. Same thing happened with me. I focused on what I wanted instead of what my client wanted. One day, I visited a store to buy a shirt for myself. The shop owner was busy on the phone. I ignored him and headed to find someone to help me find the shirt. To my surprise no one was there. The boys were busy gossiping and having tea but nobody was willing to attend the customer at their shop. At the end, I simply walked out to another store nearby.
I went back home after the purchase and thought about the incident. Then I realized that what I was focusing on was taking me in the wrong direction. I simply hanged my strategy from the next client I got. Things are getting better after that.
3. Believe in yourself first
Clients say, 'What's your strategy,' and I say, 'Ask me what I believe first.' That's a far more enduring answer.
- Ginni Rometty
Nobody will believe you until you believe in your own self. Clients will show interest in your services once you believe in your own self. Client needs to have trust in your offerings and how they can benefit them. In my case, that was not happening in the beginning which led them to turn away from our services. If you feel any doubt about the client's behavior towards you, try to sort the issue out as early as possible.
4. Following the hard coded rules
Leave no stone unturned to help your clients realize maximum profits from their investment.- Arthur C. Nielsen
I already mentioned this earlier and would like to mention it again. Use of rules to acquire your clients may help you somewhat in your startup's journey but you have your own identity and so does your startup. So follow your heart's instincts to deal with your clientele. The same happened with me when I followed the hard coded rules. I still remember the client telling me,' You are no different than others, why should I give my project to you?' I was baffled with such a reaction. I noted down the similar questions asked by my clients and prepared a possible list of answers. Now I am more than prepared every time such questions are asked.
What all steps you have taken to get your first client? Do share your story!
Also read - Are you ready for starting a business?