Have great conversations with qualified prospects.
That's the simple answer.
Do this enough times and you WILL get a client.
Now the hard part:
How do you get great conversations with qualified prospects?
1. Find a group of people who have a serious problem *they acknowledge they have* (that's critical; it can't just be you alone saying they have it) that you can fix.
2. Get in front of them and explain their situation better than anyone else. Show them you understand where they're at.
3. Ask if they want the problem solved (this is also called "asking for the order," and it's something newbies are terrified to do.)
4. Solve the problem competently.
5. Get referrals.
I have sales training programs and also coach executives on selling. If you'd like to find out more, please get in touch.
This is going to sound harsh. Not my intent... but it's the truth.
If you don't already know the answer to your question, don't go into business until you do. You're business will likely die an expensive death.
Your question sounds very similar to... How do I "land" my first date?
Just what prospective date with a women/man wants... to be landed. Right? ;-)
The better question is how to I EARN a client?
I go back to my first point... if you don't already know this, I'm making the assumption that you've never google/youtubed the subject of sales.
I know I sound harsh, like a jerk. Not my intention. If you're going into business with any amount of seriousness, sales had best become I high priority to learn.
Start with anything written by Jeffrey Gitomer. The Sales Bible. The Little Red Book of Sales. etc. Gitomer has a ton of wisdom on YouTube. I suggest Gitomer (there are many other people to learn from) because he isn't about tricks, gimmicks, or slippery techniques... He's blunt. He's candid. He wants you to be successful.
Here's two of Gitomer's videos to give you a starting point.
The two most important words in sales: https://youtu.be/X7E2NHPkI_E
Asking powerful questions:
Business is a contact sport. It's not for the faint of heart. It takes work - a lot of work - and sales (generating money) is obviously the lifeblood of your business. Make sure sales becomes a core competency... or. you. will. struggle. or worse...
Put a mechanism in place to track your sales efforts and customers earned. This is important data that you'll need to make future decisions - so track everything related to your sales experience.
Last thing. You're client doesn't want to be "landed" any more than your unsuspecting date does.... you earn the client's business. Just like people have earned your business.
Hello, my name is Humberto Valle, one of Arizona's best strategists. Here is my feedback/advice on your question:
Have you created a business plan? How about a marketing plan?
As you create either of these two, you will/should find what values are essential for the prospect client and market as whole. Who your competitors are, what they offer and how they offer it. What distribution channels they have in place, their price points and margins. Even if you don't think is needed, I want you to track back and don't skip these two plans. Even at their simplest, they can provide you with a lot of insight that you would otherwise have to wait until a particular situation forced you into it. Do research, write it down, write down possibilities and laymen instructional for how to achieve them.
When it comes down to it, never ask yourself, what is the least amount of money I can spend in marketing. Investing in the right marketing channel is an investment not an expense, particularly when done right.
Feel free to give me a call if you need help with your plans, finding the right marketing channel for your type of business, setting a budget, etc. Feel free to google me as well :)
I think to answer this effectively, we need to know a little bit more about your business. But as a consultant and freelancer, on and off, for the past 13 years, I can say without a doubt that if you are in a service-based business, you are most likely to get your first client (and probably most of your clients, period) with a referral from within your network: who in your family, your friends, your past colleagues, has a connection to your ideal client? Which of them might know of a person or business in need of your services? Seek these people out and let them know that you'd like an introduction.
If you are going to start a business, getting your first client should be no problem assuming that you have a done some sort of validation of your business idea.
In doing that validation you most likely found that there was a need/opportunity to sell your widget. So I would start there. What is the need and opportunity, why do you think the widget your selling is valuable and more importantly - who will find it valuable?
Then, as stated earlier, start with your personal network. Let them know about your new business and ask if they can refer someone that can benefit from what you're selling.
You should be able to get your first few clients this way. The quality of your product/service will give you a platform of growth from there. Make sure to learn and iterate fast from your early customers.
Maybe we can sneak up on a good answer to your "one/best thing" by pointing out the one/main thing you definitely, positively should NOT do:
-Don't go out there and start selling anything!
You want people to line up to buy what you have and you don't accomplish that by going out and making countless desperate sales pitches.
That's because, no one likes to be interrupted by salespeople and their self-serving sales pitches.
Instead, build an inexpensive prototype of your product or service and go show it to your suspected customers. Tell them what you're trying to do and ask for their opinion. Then listen. Take notes.
This process will clarify a lot of things for you. Are these the right customers? Is there a real demand—do they want to buy? Does your positioning need to be changed? How can the product be improved? And much more. And you accomplish that by positioning yourself as a leader and innovator—and not as a salesperson.
Once you have a real grasp of who your customer is, what they need and what they're really willing to buy, you should start to position yourself as an authority by staking a leadership position in organizations or events where your customers congregate. By associating with other trusted brands your own brand benefits from a "halo effect" which gives you instant credibility and trust and allows you to easily break down the usual resistance. For example, giving a chamber of commerce talk to a roomful of prospects positions you as a leader with credibility. If your talk is good, guess what happens? People line up to ask YOU how they can buy.
Obviously, there's a lot of pre-work that needs to be done within those organizations to establish trust and credibility so the sooner you start, the better.
Lastly, be patient. Stay persistent. It takes time to do all this work. Getting clients works like a bank account. Don't seek to take out what you haven't put in.
I hope I've been helpful. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Best of luck.
I love the answers so far. I'll add my two cents. I've been a life and relationship coach, author and businesswoman for over a decade. When I first got my certification, I created my website, got my business cards printed, wrote my first article to drive traffic to my site and waited. I was hopeful as I waited for what I just knew would happen. Someone would see how wonderful I was and would seek me out to provide them services. That didn't happen.
Without knowing what your business is about, it is hard to give you the specialized answer that it may require, but I learned a thing or two from my initial experience. And since, I've learned a thing or two about getting clients.
Here are a couple:
When I wrote my first book, I had a launch. Product launches are great! They build excitement and create a great atmosphere that encourages buying. There are so many strategies that can turn that into a profitable event.
When it came to coaching, I took another route. I actually coached my first client pro bono. Some folks might tell you to not do that; but if you have done your homework and have a strategy in place, it can be quite beneficial. With a strategy, I was able to turn my first pro bono coaching client into a paying client. Some of the others have hit the nail on the head. When a person is convinced that you are what they have been looking for and you give them an irresistible offer, there is nothing more than for them to buy.
I'd love to assist you in coming up with a strategy that works for your business and explore other ways that I can be of assistance. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's get you that first client!