7 Working Techniques to Get Your First Customers

David - About Business - August 12, 2020

Just started out and still not making money from your business? No worries. We've all been there. If, just like anyone, you're totally unknown and you haven't got thousands of connections with powerful people, finding your first customers will feel impossible. That's why I wrote this article.

Here I'll give you my personal techniques, which I learned the hard way, to get your first customers no matter the industry you're in.

Let's do it!

Table of Contents
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Effective Techniques to Get Your First Customers

There are some basics that I won't cover since I believe they won't work. I've been working as a freelance developer and designer for quite a long time, and here I'll share what worked for me as for getting my first customers.

There we go:

  1. Send pre-work email teasers: What better way to show a potential customer what you could offer than by doing the work, then sending it to them without being asked. Find a company in your industry and area. Check their website, their business, and their activities. Now figure out what you can do for them right now, for free, based on what you're seeing. Do the work. Make it look slick. And email it while explaining what's your initiative, and what is it in that company that makes you want to work with them. Free SEO reports, free redesigns, free product samples, free case studies, free marketing studies, business card mockups, etc. Work for free, and make a big impression.

  2. Show off: There's a platform for every single area of expertise. Find one that suits you, and leverage it. There are Dribbble and Behance for designers. There are Github, Codepen, and StackOverflow for developers. There's also Medium for writers, yet not only. Find a reputable platform where you can showcase your skills and build a portfolio. That will build trust between you and your potential customers. Moreover, that could help your potential customers better understand what's your job, and what you're excellent at.

  3. Cold call: Move on to the next technique if you're too shy for that. As for cold-calling, prepare a script. Describe what you do, what you offer, and especially, what value it brings to your potential customer. If you manage to combine this technique with the pre-work email teaser, you're done. If you call a potential customer, break down what's wrong with their business, and gently address each issue while explaining how you can help, there's a 50-50 chance that they will want to work with you at the end of the call.

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  5. Exploit niche-targeted Facebook groups: There are thousands of groups on Facebook, where people gather to talk, ask for help, and ask for recommendations about very specific fields. Go on Facebook, search a group in your area, and join it. Provide value daily by commenting and by giving away your expertise for free. Once in a while, someone will ask "Can someone help me with X?". There you are. My personal tip is: Join start-up groups. These guys are always looking for everything and although they're in their early-stage, they could pay for your services or put you in contact with other start-ups.

  6. Sign up on targeted jobbing platforms: Find an online platform that's designed to put workers in contact with companies that need specific skills. Write a wonderful bio, add a link to your portfolio, add a picture of yourself, list your skills, and you're good to go. Sooner or later, you'll be called. I think about Fiverr, Malt, Freelancer, and so on. To find one, just act like a customer searching for your services. Find which website they'll fall on, and sign up on that one.

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  8. Take care of your branding: It is absolutely necessary that, when a potential customer googles your company, you look perfect. If you get a bad rap because of bad reviews or press, that will be a huge turnoff for your potential customers. Create a website that looks good and professional. Make sure there's everything to contact you both by phone and email, and present your business and portfolio. Don't hesitate to ask for Google reviews as well so your business looks neat and trustworthy in Google search results.

  9. Host an event: Be it virtual or physical, you can host an event to show your potential customers what you're capable of, and offer part of your knowledge for free. For instance, you can host a webinar and run ads to have people sign up for it. Then, you do everything it takes to demonstrate how good and knowledgeable you are during this webinar. I also heard of people hosting dinners, or inviting people to the restaurant. That's also an option although it's a bit more expensive and trickier than running an online webinar.

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Before You Go

I'd like to go about three important points.

Please note:

  1. You won't get your first customers overnight. It's hard, but weeks and months may pass before you get your first customers and payroll. Keep hustling until it works. Once you've got your first customers, there's a high chance you won't ever think about outreaching since customers will come at you. Let time pass and do your things for as long as you're not overwhelmed.

  2. You must work extremely hard at the beginning. Your potential customers don't know you, and they don't trust you either. You must show confidence, high quality, and expertise. Your skills must speak for themselves so you don't have to. It's normal to spend days and weeks without earning money nor having customers. It takes time and efforts. You've gotta build your e-clout and look professional before people trust you.

  3. Working for free isn't a bad thing. Not working at all is. There will always be that endless debate over working for free or not. If you've got nothing to do, and you're not getting paid, why wouldn't you work for free? That will help you build expertise, feed your portfolio, increase your self-confidence, and optimize your internal processes.

Keep calm, and go get your first customers!

Ever operated a business and used another technique to get your first customers? Let us know in the comments!

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