In Reid Hoffman’s podcast Masters of Scale, he interviewed Brian Chesky from Airbnb and they talked about something that has stuck with me since I heard the segment in 2017, “If you want your company to truly scale, you have to do things that don’t scale.”
Today, I’d like to share three things I did to get (and keep) my first customers.
- Meet your customers in person: You must meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. I understand that is challenging but remember the potential connections in-person meetings cultivate, otherwise, there’s always Zoom or Skype. You will learn so many valuable insights from this person’s attention that will carry you and your company to the future.
- Follow-up letter: When was the last time you got a piece of mail that was unexpectedly delightful? It’s been a minute for me (read: never). Your first customers want to feel valued and respected. Consider taking a moment to send a follow-up letter personalized with what you talked about and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you.
- Phone call: I hear you! No one calls anyone anymore. But, use the phone to share an article or something that triggered you to think of them, and that customer will be loyal forever.
A word of caution: None of these tactics will work if you don’t have a quality product or service to back you up.
Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:
- Research potential customers, buyers, competitors, and their preferred methods of distribution.
- Talk to potential customers! Surveys, polls, prototypes – take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
- Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
- Develop systems for contact follow-through, quality control standards, and customer service.
- Keep lines of communication open with customers and build on your current relationship, possibly increasing future purchases.
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” — Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company.
I hope this lesson helps you put together a start-up marketing plan that can sustain and grow your business far into the future. The tools offered in our free training videos offer more of these strategies.