How do we approach customers as a new startup?
I am planning to start a company where we will be providing business solutions. As a new startup with no track record, how I we approach customers?
Great tips are included in all previous replies.
I really can't find much to add but I might ,If you allow me, to share some top tips that are working for me:
1. Understand what your target customers are doing, how do they do it and why do they do it. Then help them do it better. Then you are in business.
2. List all people who can benefit of what you are offering. Rank them according to the speed of starting business (Keep the size of opportunity for later). Go for the lowest hanging fruits
3. make your self visible, network and use social media
4. Ask for refferals, even if some customers are not ready to give you business, ask them to refer you to someone else
5. Never focus on making profit first. Focus on building customers, then profit will follow
Well my very first question for you is, what business solutions are you specifically looking to provide and focus on? Start-ups, small to medium size businesses or are you looking to address challenges large enterprises. The answer to these questions, will in many ways shape the thrust of your startup marketing launch, and ongoing advertising of your new business value propostion. After that you need to decide the specific market segment focus within the business community. Is it IT, aerospace, internet and technology, equipment, financial services, etc. Again, this will shape your messaging, as well as your offering and introductory pricing to garner customers. Do not under estimate the power of traditional marketing techniques: postcard, follow-up letter; follow-up email; and yes; the old fashion telephone call. In the era of social media many folks neglect the value proposition of connecting on an individualize personal basis. And finally, the old fashion face-to-face activity of human networking at chamber of commerce and close past and present business friends and assocates.
If you have friends working in your target market segment - talk to them and use their connections for introduction. You can try using professional networks such as Linkedin specific groups and post some typical challenges that you are trying to solve. The comments on your discussion thread can be used to network and take the next step. This is slightly long drawn but gives you good indication of response. Finally, step out and reach out to some prospects who may be looking for your kind of solution - please dont try to sell upfront. Try to create interest and curiosity and follow a collaborative approach to prototype a solution. Hope this works for you - all the best
Richard Stern-Suggest researching the category. Decide if you are going to be a local company, national company, or international company.
Then research the competition. Find out what they do best and find services they di not provide, or customers to small for them to service.
Then create a Sales and Marketing Plan and budgets.
It always helps to have something of value to provide the other person, like bringing wine to a new neighbor for a house warming event, for example. You will also find out that in most cases, people are willing to help a new business if you simply ask for it, and I do this sometimes by asking survey questions for a report I am putting together. Be brief and make the effort to show value to the other person.
Hi Avinesh, be a start up is not a minus, the main element that will be under the eyes of people deciding about your success is how you present your solutions to support clients. It must be done professionally, in the way that shows that you're a start up but you've all the know how to manage activity in the best way.
- Prepare yourself for appointment, give you 30 minutes, try before several times with someone else all the points you would show, try to asnwer to hard question, put yourself - in advance . in the worst condition in order to train yourself.
Convince yourself first of all before to try convince someone else.
- A valid presentation to support your speech with graphics ( please avoid to write too much as people will not have the strenght to read all and will be bored listeaing you reading it) , make it interesting but not too long, if you plan to talk for 30 min then presentation should only give main points to audience and give you suggestions to go deep in details
- Don't be scared, be energetic, always stand up and speak loudly, see people in the eyes, be always polite, never aggressive and listen to all, especially if there is something negative, it would be good to learn from it.
- Consider always that NO is normal, don't be afraid, just improve yourself and skip to next, if you've trained, you've right solutions, you will win and it is sooo nice to challenge!
At the outset, try to create the credibility among customer through your best services in initial days of organization start-up. Referrals can work out here because it will be very difficult for you to get the customer at the moment. Start writing blogs, online marketing and ask your friends to follow your company page on linked-in, twitter, facebook etc. Foremost have tempting and attractive website for your company.
Hope it helps !!
All the points related before are very important and I suggest you to make a list of recommendations with it. As you are leading a startup company I would like to talk about one step back, and try to work customer development that will be used to validate your offer. To do this, I recommend you to go to market through people you know from your network. After this you will be more confident about your services and you will sell this much better.
someone already pointed you to the "start-up owner manual". I would only add this:
Do not approach them directly.
Ok, put like this is a bit strong, but the concept is :
1) you need introductions.
2) from field experts
3) to whom you ask advices, feedback, suggestions
4) and if they know someone to whom you can learn more.
5) so while you will have shared your value (proposition)
6) In this process you will meet people that will refer you as "solution provider" to potential Clients.
Hope this helps