How to get your first sale

The majority of new businesses face a unique problem – how do you get that first customer when you have no track record?

After all, one of the key ways companies secure sales is by using testimony, customer stories, and by simply pointing to their history of service.

But what if you don’t have that history?

Many of you, like I have in the past, will be caught in this Catch 22; so how do you start getting new customers when you don’t have a reputation behind you?

The good news is that it’s simpler than it seems – all it takes is following a few easy steps.

Getting the basics in place

Put your customer’s glasses on

You may have been locked in a development lab or office for hours, thinking endlessly about the technical proficiency and the brilliance of all your product or service’s features.

To create your offering you’ll need to get into this detail.  However, your customer doesn’t always care about all those endless features.

Do you know what benefits it can potentially bring your target market? In short, you’ll need to know how it either saves them time, money, or protects them from risk.

Get your digital presence right

Whether you’re pitching B2B or B2C, there are two key components to take care of:

  • Your website / Facebook page – Key for B2C and increasingly more so for B2B. This is where people will initially look at you, so make sure it’s up to date and talks to your customers.
  • Your personal Linkedin Profile – Whenever I work with clients, I ask them what they do before they meet someone for the first time. The most common answer I get is that they look at their profile on Linkedin and maybe their company website.

Your personal brand is massively important.

Make sure you have a good photo, a headline which states how you help your customers, and a good bio which gives a succinct overview of what you do and the benefits your product or service can bring.

So now you have the basics in place, you need to go out and meet people. Here’s your seven point plan to help you get that first sale in.

The seven steps to your first sale

1. Get the meeting

The key here is either getting a referral from your existing network, or approaching your target with the aim of providing them real value.

2. Try to meet opportunists

If someone says “but” a lot, it’s highly likely they are fear-driven and see the risk in things. This means they are less likely to take the plunge on something new, so track record is an important part of the buying process for them.

However, if they get enthused by the idea of something new – glass half-full type people – then spend your time talking to these people as they’re more likely to be early adopters.

3. Ditch the elevator pitch

Seriously, have you ever listened to an elevator pitch and thought “Yes! That was awesome!”? Did you enjoy it when someone pitched you in the first two minutes of a meeting?

I doubt it.

Instead, start a conversation with your prospective client by talking about them. Find out what’s important to them.

READ: 3 ways to listen to your customers better

4. Use the rule of three

This is simple and it really is one question.

“What three things are the most important for you right now?” Listen, and note them down…

5. Prioritise

Your next question should most likely be, “Thanks for sharing, and of these 3 things which one is the most important to you?”.

6. Be genuine and offer to help

It doesn’t matter if it has nothing to do with your product or service.

Can you introduce them to someone who can help them? Can you find a report that solves this particular problem?

If you become their ‘go-to’ person for business help, then you’ll start to build a trusted partner relationship.

7. Trust beats all

Focus on building trusted relationships.

If people trust you, they will buy from you when the time is right.

They’ll even overlook a lack of experience or track record and will give you a go. What’s even better is they’ll buy your product or service, without you having to sell it to them.

Finally, don’t procrastinate. Get out there as soon as possible and start talking to people.

Sometimes it can take a while to get that first sale, but once you have one, they tend to be like buses…


If you’d like more help planning for that first meeting then download the Business of Trust’s client meeting planner template.