Are you new to entrepreneurship and wondering how to find your first customers? We share with you several tips on how to make yourself known professionally, create contacts and get new clients!
Where to find clients?
To start finding clients, the easiest and safest way is obviously to call on your network. Family, friends, former colleagues, shopkeepers, acquaintances... All means are good to make yourself known! Don't hesitate to talk about your activity to those around you. It is quite possible that someone around you knows someone who needs your services. Does the magic of word-of-mouth speak to you? Don't put this superpower aside. The more people who know about your business, the more clients you will have and the more referrals you will receive. The biggest advantage of this strategy is that you don't have to do anything except talk about your work around you and, of course, do your job well when you are contacted. Then the client comes to you directly. This is a much more calming and reassuring position than having to go and find the client.
Several websites are dedicated to connecting contractors and clients, such as Malt or LesBonsFreelances. Each platform has its own way of working, so you will have to choose the ones that suit you. For example, you may just have to fill in a profile and wait for a client to call on your services, or you may respond to different client proposals on another site and hope that the latter will choose your application. Depending on the platform, the client and the service provider may come into direct contact, or there may be other platforms where contact is kept to a minimum. You can also check if there is a platform dedicated to your sector of activity. Free or paid, several options are often offered to increase your visibility and your chances of getting new assignments. The advantage of this system is that you can strengthen your presence on the web on different channels and sometimes even for free.
Social media has become a must in 2022 to promote your business and find customers. Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and even Snapchat and Tiktok, all networks can be relevant to promote yourself on the web. But if you're going to do this, you'll need to put some digital communication basics in place. There is no need to be present on all the networks, you will have to select the one or ones that suit you and above all, where your targets are present! If you want to offer your services to professionals and business owners, developing yourself on Tiktok will not be very relevant, whereas Linkedin will be much more beneficial. Thereafter, it will be necessary to be regular in your publications and to propose relevant contents that will appeal to your community. If social networks have the advantage of being free and of reaching a lot of people, it is also a time-consuming and very competitive practice. On the other hand, if you manage to create a small community corresponding to your target customer, you will obtain a very solid foundation for the long-term development of your business!
Whether you have a website and/or a blog, SEO is an important ally in the development of a business. SEO allows you to be more visible on search engines such as Google and therefore, to get many more visits. Not only does SEO bring visitors, but it also generates qualified traffic! Indeed, the Internet user will search on the web because he has a specific need. When they come across your site, there is a good chance that you can meet their needs. For example, if you are an electrician in Lyon and you have an SEO-optimised website, people who type in "electrician Lyon" will come across your site and will surely call you! But how do you optimise your site for SEO? There are several aspects to consider, from technical aspects to netlinking and content creation. We strongly recommend that you work with a professional at this stage of your web project to obtain an effective and profitable long-term strategy.
Yes, this word scares many professionals, but it can also be very profitable! When you are starting your business and do not yet have enough networks, it may be necessary togo prospecting and make yourself known to find potential customers. In order not to fail in this exercise, several elements must be worked on and taken into account. Avoid cold calling if you don't feel comfortable on the phone, it can be worse than better. On the other hand, if you think that for your business it is really essential to create contact, the telephone can be a good opportunity. In this case, prepare your pitch beforehand and your answers to the questions that may be asked, then practice with a few friends to avoid unpleasant surprises and awkwardness. Do you prefer the email option? It is essential to work on it in detail so that it is short, engaging, clear and effective. With prospecting, you will need patience, but it can bring you golden customers who will stay with you for a long time!
How do you turn a prospect into a customer?
Now that you know how to reach your targets, you need to be able to turn them into customers. The idea? Reassure them and make them want to contact you and work with you.
Showing your expertise
During a discussion, by email, on social networks or on your website, all means are good to highlight your expertise. Here are a few things you can do to do this:
- Talking about your skills and work
- Sharing old experiences and projects
- Indicate which companies you have already worked with
- Highlighting positive customer reviews
Do not hesitate to put forward your know-how but also the results that this can bring to your client. For example, as a sophrologist you bring calm and a new serenity, or you reinforce a brand image as a graphic designer, or you allow people to feel better in their skin as a sports coach. In addition to proving your expertise, it is also advisable to reassure the prospect by explaining how you work, how you accompany the client and what your values are. This is a radically effective way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and to convince your visitors to contact you.
Never forget that, whatever the means used to find customers, your objective is to obtain a contact. Everything should be designed to make this contact as easy as possible. Are you planning to go to a trade fair? Make sure you have business cards with your contact details and photo. Are you present on social networks? Create a regular link with your community, answer their questions, encourage them to comment and above all, regularly encourage them to get in touch with you. In the same way, on a website, the entire conversion tunnel must be thought out to encourage the user to contact you. Putting forward action buttons (or call to action CTAs) in strategic places as well as your contact details and your contact page while working on your contact page itself... All these elements must be carefully thought out to make it easier to get in touch. And to definitely convince your prospect, why not initiate it with offers? 1st appointment free of charge, 2 hours of call offered, 1 free audit, a free estimate etc. It's up to you to find the right offer!
Working on your first appointment
You're there, the prospect has contacted you and wants to know more about your service, well done! This is the last step before the quote is drawn up and signed. This is the time to convince your future client that you are the right person to carry out his mission. You must therefore prove your professionalism during your interview. First of all, find out about the company or the person who is contacting you. Then prepare your presentation, the explanation of your services and the course of the support. Above all, prepare questions to ask your prospect. Not only will this reassure your contact that you have taken every detail of his or her project into account, but you will also have all the details needed to draw up a relevant estimate, a guarantee of professionalism and security. Similarly, it is very important to let your interviewer express himself and not to monopolise all the words, don't forget that it is an exchange. And even if it is a professional interview, don't hide your naturalness! It is always more reassuring to be accompanied by a service provider with whom you get on well.
There are several ways to find customers in 2022, the most important is to define which ones will work for you, depending on your field of activity, your competition and above all, your targets. Have you tried these tips? Do you know of any other ways to find customers? Share your ideas in the comments!