Your startup has just turned three today. Yet here you are sitting on your wooden chair in front of your laptop feeling poor and deserted.
Zero traffic, zero customers, zero account balance. For all those years, you worked hard to build your product, poured your blood, sweat, and tears into marketing it… But only a handful of people buy. Worse, this pocket of people has never responded to your newsletter or visited your product page or come back to buy more.
So you begin to wonder:
- Maybe my product is useless.
- Maybe I’m not good at marketing.
- Maybe I’m in the wrong industry.
- Maybe I’mjust being dumb.
These are all scary feelings, which can crumble your entrepreneurial spirit into ashes. The good news is that you’re not a dumb entrepreneur. Selling your product has less to do with your intelligence and more to do with how you treat your first-time customer.
You need a ton of customers to come knocking on your business doors over and over again, because they’re the fuel that powers your sales machine. For example, the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20 percent, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 60-70 percent, according to a study by Marketing Metrics.
So here are five tips for transforming your first-time buyer into a word-of-mouth evangelist.
Tip #1: Focus on your potential customer.
Starting up anew, many businesses spend time and money trying to sell to their customers. They forget the fact that they don’t have any customers yet. What they have, instead, are potential customers, people that they think will like and buy their product.
And this set of prospects is their right target.
So before you start selling your product, identify your target prospect first. Instead of sitting behind your computer screen, writing a business plan, and designing your marketing campaign, get out of the building.
Meet your potential customer in person. Spend some time in conversation with them. Ask them questions concerning your new business idea, and listen carefully to their feedback.
You want to hear their stories. You want to know what they think of your ideas. And above all, you want to know their pain points and desires, so you’ll build the product that actually solves their problems or meets their needs. Then step up to build a super-power brand that will intimidate them—in a good way, of course.
Tip #2: Intimidate them with the power of your brand.
Steve Jobs was right when he said, “You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.”
That’s how the Apple founder built the Apple brand—a different company with a different taste. Use an iPad, an iPhone, or a Mac, and you’ll be intimidated by its uniqueness, its simplicity, and its sophisticated design.
You’ll fall in love with it instantly. And you’ll become one of its millions of fans who line up in a queue at its Cupertino offices to buy the latest product. And you know what? You can build your Apple-like brand, as well.
It’s all about being passionate about your ideas and building a different product and having a strong vision. The competition, the industry, the investors…all of these don’t matter as much.
All you need to succeed in business is paying customers. And you get them when you build them a product they never imagined. And engage them in ways they’ve never experienced.
Here’s what I mean:
Tip #3: Turn your customer into a casual friend.
A client approached me years ago. She wanted some writing projects, and asked for my services, my rates, and my contact information. In short, we started talking…
After I successfully completed her first project, I asked for her phone number and took it from there. I’d text her from time to time to ask, “How are you doing?” And before you know it, we started discussing movies, food, and international politics.
We figured that we shared a lot in common. In short we had become friends. She’d often text or email me saying, “I told my friend about you, and she’ll call you for her content writing needs.” She has referred several clients to me. All because she had an amazing experience from buying my services.
Tip #4: Sell amazing experiences.
One of the best ways to turn your first-time buyer into your sales rep is to sell them amazing experiences.
Remember: People buy products because they want to get a valuable experience—simplify their live, solve their problems, transform their situation. It’s no surprise that 59 percent of Americans would try a new brand or company just so they can have abetter service experience, according to a survey by American Express.
If you’re selling ice cream, for example, don’t just sell the flavored frozen stuff. Sell your clean, colorful environment, the sweet sounds of music coming from your shop, and the lovable smells that welcome your customer, giving them a new world of beautiful, comfortable experience.
You have to do that if you want your customers to keep coming back for more and talking about your product with their friends and families. Because “customers are increasingly responding to blended retail and entertainment experiences,” says Fred Thompson, retail practice leader at the marketing company, LoyaltyOne.
That’s why you need to up your game. It’s even better if you can blow their mind with your top-notch product.
Let’s talk about that next.
Tip #5: Blow them away.
Look at any successful business, and you’ll notice it takes its customers seriously. These companies don’t just provide great value and experience to their customers. They exceed their customers’ expectations.
Why do they do this? Because they want to tap into their loyalty.
Business leaders know that when they surprise customers with great products and an amazing experience, they can get them to buy more, share their experiences with others, and sell their brand to others through word-of-mouth advertising.
Look at how Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is constantly serving the Amazonians with his vast array of products, programs, and services delivered to them on time.
It’s not just a trickle of discounted prices. It’s a roaring flood, an extraordinary wave of feeling, that lifts a customer’s spirits up and carries them along for a ride. So how do you blow your customers away? Exceed their expectations with your products or service.
You sell them quality products. You fulfil your promises. You add an extra gift or bonus to make them feel special. Instead of selling just another piece of jewellry, delivering just another consultancy or design service, sell a remarkable product, so noteworthy your customers will be excited to spread the news to their buddies.
Do that, and your customers will trust you, fall in love with you, and turn into your word-of-mouth evangelists.