10 Startup Tips
Chapter 15: Finding Customers
You have ideas,
and marketing methods.
You are ready to get to work.
And now the important part.
Sales are the number one success factor in your business.
Customers are the fuel for your ship.
No matter how well you pack your products,
your methods are good,
your books are well kept,
without fuel you can’t get anywhere.
Get rid of the idea
that if you have a better mousetrap,
customers will flock.
I have a good example for this problem.
A team of four excellent researchers run a fabric company.
They take very good quality fabric.
In addition to high-tech medical tapes and fabrics,
they also developed a propulsion system for the shuttle,
a new suspension system used for taxis in London.
They also invented an airbag that was acquired
by a company and equipped an installation line
with 100 employees to mass produce this product.
But until recently, they lived only in an attic.
The reason is that they cannot sell their products.
Before running out
and spreading flyers all over the street,
you need to have a logical
and systematic approach.
This is the importance of number 4.
Number 4 magic
I have an old Renault,
in good condition,
for sale for £1,200,
do you want to buy it?
What, who, slowly…
You can’t force someone to buy something the first time they know about it.
One experience that I have gained
after four years of studying business is knowing a very good formula, AIDA.
The first time customers hear about your product,
customers are only aware (Awareness).
The second time,
they may feel more excited (Interest) or even more,
they feel stimulated (Intrigued).
The third time,
they may have a real desire for your product/service.
But only the fourth time they actually act (Action).
The fact is that:
80% of sales will come after the fourth referral to the prospect.
“People know us through advertising and PR,
but getting them to sign a contract with us is difficult.”
(Janet, curator of the children’s cooking course)
Many businesses have made the mistake
of spending too much money on marketing,
PR or advertising in the press
and then sitting still waiting for customers
to come to them.
Just like in Janet’s case,
they did a good job in the early stages,
but their customers were just interested or wanted.
You need to do more marketing to get customers to take action.
Someone might see your flyer on the doormat,
and vaguely recognize it before stepping on it.
They may then read an ad about your product in a newspaper
and really want to use it,
but they haven’t picked up the phone yet.
That’s when you call them,
drive them to action,
and ultimately buy your product.
So, whatever your business,
you still need to have a sales funnel.
Most professional salespeople with basic training work
by the sales funnel rule.
Imagine you have a big funnel, you don’t use it to pour water,
but you let customers in until the funnel fills up
and eventually comes out at the other end, which is sales.
As savvy entrepreneurs,
why do we start at the top of the funnel
– ads, referrals,
websites with weeks/months/years to get results?
Don’t do that,
let’s start where we get the fastest sales:
the people who already know and trust us.
Identify the first signs
If you don’t have a wealthy backer
(or your business runs on the Internet),
you should adopt the “sniper” rather than “hunting gun” approach to selling.
Don’t say: “Oh, our customers are all kinds of people.”
It may satisfy your self-esteem,
but is not helpful in your sales focus.
You need to define who will be your customers.
People who can quickly trust you.
People who know you,
work with you or people you know will quickly trust you.
If you don’t have such good prospects,
you need to create a profile of your customer based on factors
such as their location,
You may know customers from your competitor’s business,
maybe your opponent has a sudden change.
This may not sound great,
but this is business.
First, you know these customers have money
and are interested in your product.
There may be small customers
that your competitors don’t like
or even want you to take on.
Beware of Change
Many products and services are purchased in periods of change.
It could be life changes such as moving house,
having a baby,
when a new person takes on a purchase in the company,
the company is acquired or has a new strategy.
Look for reports,
job postings in business newspapers,
individual advertisements in newspapers.
Also, look for other ways to reach customers.
You can go to a real estate agent’s office
and through them to provide a free garden design consultation service
to new home buyers.
On the contrary,
if the contact in a company
– your core customer is about to leave
– please note.
Don’t think new people will continue to work with you,
they may have their own suppliers.
Therefore, get in touch with this new person as soon as possible,
as soon as they arrive,
and build the relationship from scratch.