Who is using your product?
Could you refer me to an existing customer?
The dreadful questions when you have no customers.
The point in the sales process where you think it’s over.
If I had a case study I could grow.
Currently, I am on my fourth round of getting the first customer to a new product. It does not seem to get easier.
The only difference this time is I have no brand recognition to get my foot in the door.
I want to present a few thoughts about winning your first customer.
Find The Cowboy
A cowboy is rogue. Excited about the unknown. Searching for the frontier.
This is the profile that’s perfect for using a new product. Research your industry to find those notorious for trying new products.
It is easy in tech because you can use a service like Product Hunt. Those wanting to be Product Hunters are perfect targets. They are all cowboys.
In other industries, you will want to find those on the fringes. The crazy ones. The Hipsters.
When you have no customers, one customer is 100% growth. Thus, the faster you get a customer, the faster you grow.
This is why you should move on from a slow moving prospect as soon as possible.
During the discovery stage, determine if the customer is comfortable being first.
This does not mean asking them, but finding out if they are going to need a referral. Will they be comfortable sitting in the front row?
If they ask who else is using your product, this is a cue they are uncomfortable being first.
Find those willing to sit in the front row.
Who Has The Problem
Find the niche where the problem you are solving hurts the most. This will generate the highest interest.
I sold a medical device that benefited smokers and diabetes patients. It made sense for me to target a market with a high level of smokers and diabetes patients. These were the individuals to benefit most from my solution.
This goes for any product.
What customers will benefit the most?
How Will Their Life Change
Change is risky. It is asking someone to go from something comfortable to something uncomfortable.
This is why it is your job to mitigate risk. Some customers want this in the form of a referral, but cowboys just need you to tell them a story. Understand their current situation and how it will change with the use of your product.
Change is difficult and uncertain. Mitigate risk.
Find those who are well respected in the community. The key opinion leaders.
These individuals tend to be on the speaker circuit. They are industry writers. They are thought leaders.
Get the key opinion leader to try your product and delight them. They are then more likely to talk about you. Chances are to a large audience.
Focus on strategic individuals.
Once you have the cowboy, the key opinion leader, and the individual who will benefit most from your solution, the next step is to over deliver. Delight them.
Get them to feel compelled to share your product. Share their experience.
This is the most difficult step. The step we fear most.
After all, this is the most powerful form of sales and marketing.
A referral only works if your product is worth sharing.
Make your product worth sharing.
See it from the perspective of the prospect. Their current process may be working, and you are new and untrusted.
Why should they use you?
Sales or marketing, finding the initial target is not easy. Easy would be to present your product to existing customers. But remember, you don’t have any.
Whether entering a new city, new market, or new industry, people talk. Target the talkers with the most respect.
Then delight them.
Good luck and good selling!