October 21, 2014

Start Out Selling Your Services: The First 5 Days

How many times have you sat down at your desk in the morning and wondered: what’s next?  Where will I find clients?  Now, that I have my own business, how am I going to persuade people to buy?

days of the week

Once the long process of starting a business is over, your idea is ready for the big world.  You have all the paperwork done, equipment delivered and hundreds of other things are done.  You are left with one thing only – having to find work.

And that’s where the scary realization comes in.  How the hell are you going to do that since you are only starting out?

Perhaps you have started doing some marketing, sent some emails around, put up a big sign outside your office or shop. Maybe you put up an ad in the paper, listing on Gumtree or other website. Maybe you also joined your local Chamber of Commerce to make new contacts, great.

The problem is, none of it is going to bring you immediate work.  For that to happen, you need to go out and find your first clients yourself.  But you don’t know how.

With that in mind I decided to write a short, step by step guide to start out selling your services. In todays post I will discuss the first five days, or a working week if you prefer to look at it this way. You will learn more about your company and start researching your potential clients.  Each day contains a set of practical actions you need to complete in order to start selling. Each of those actions can be completed in 30 minutes or less so you don’t have to worry that it will take your entire day.

Ready? Pull up your sleeves, put down the coffee and get to work.

Start Out Selling Your Services: The First 5 Days

Day 1:  An epic day, today you are starting to sell your services.

Before you start winning new work you need to define yourself, your business and what you will be selling. I expect that you have researched your business idea and identified the market you would like to service as well as developed your unique selling proposition. If not, I would recommend you do that first before you continue with this plan.

On the first day I want you to write down the exact description of your business. Make a list of all services you provide, the benefits for your potential clients, your unique selling proposition and also what makes you different from your competition.

Note: This is a crucial step, today you define for yourself who you are, what is your business and how are you are going to present yourself in the eyes of your prospects.

Day 2: Discover whom you are targeting with your offer.

On the previous day we looked at you, what you do and what benefits you offer to your potential clients. Today we are going to look at whom you will be approaching with your services or products.

Write down a description of your target audience, the market, you have identified, industry or people with a need for your services or products. There is no need to have actual names or businesses in mind yet.  What we need today is a description of whom you will be targeting.

For example, if you provide copywriting services you may want to target design studios, marketing people, people involved in advertising campaigns and so on.  A yoga teacher may decide to target blue collar workers in the business district of her town.

Day 3: Now that you know whom you want to be working with, it’s time to go deeper and look for actual prospects.

Make a list of 30-50 (the more the better) companies or your target audience members that you would like to work with. If your target audience is designers, open up your local business directory and list all design studios in your region or in your country or any geographic location you decided to work in.  Make sure that they match the target audience description you made yesterday.

Once you have your list, organize it from the most important prospect to the least. When doing this, take into consideration the following:

  • the size of the company
  • their market position (how well known are they, are they market leaders or just a small business operating within this niche and so on)
  • their impact on the market
  • how much money they potentially have

Day 4: The next step is to begin finding out more about the companies you listed the day before.

Pick 5 companies from the bottom of your list and try to find out as much information as possible about them. What you are looking for is:

  1. the name of the person you need to contact
  2. the direct email for that person
  3. things you might have in common (this could be anything, from growing up in the same neighborhood to attending the same school to memberships in the same organizations, churches, etc.). You will use this information when making initial contact with that person
  4. whether or not the company has been using your competition
  5. the opinion about them

Day 5: Continue researching prospects.

Pick another 5 companies from your list and research them in the same way as you did yesterday. Pay special attention to things you may have in common with the contact person in the company.  Whether they have been using services or products similar to yours in the past and their opinion. Also, check out their employees’ twitter accounts for any complaints on them.

Remember that you should pick companies from the bottom of your list.

The reason for that is that it is better to start with companies that have the smallest impact in your industry. You are still learning sales and possibly also how to run a business in general so it is easier to make mistakes if you don’t talk to the major players in your niche. Smaller companies are more understanding and willing to overlook errors typically made by a sales novice.

And there you have it.  The set of actions for your first week of selling.

Coming soon, I will show you how to start approaching your prospects to set appointments.


Days of the Week Photo via Shutterstock

3 Comments ▼

Pawel Grabowski


Pawel Grabowski Pawel Grabowski has done a lot of business stuff from running a Web development studio, a publishing house and an eCommerce company. He now writes promotional copy for B2B and professional companies.

3 Reactions

  1. Love the suggestion to practice the first couple runs on a smaller fish. Don’t want to burn the best bridge through inexperience.

  2. Pawel, have you written the follow up article to this one yet?? I just found this today (4/25/13). I’d love to read it if it exists, the first article is excellent. Thanks!

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