Today Steli and Hiten talk about how to get those first few customers when your business is just getting off the ground.  The key to that initial traction is to connect with potential customers as soon as possible.

Hiten’s first course of action is to set up a landing page that allows you to collect email addresses.  There are a bunch of tools out there that allow you to do this well.  Pick the one that’s easiest for you to set up today and start getting those email addresses.

If you don’t already have an audience or traffic to the site, start blogging about what you’re doing.  Driving traffic to the site this way is a great way to start getting interest in your project.

Steli used a tactic that is actually one of Hiten’s favorite approaches:  doing consulting around the problem you’re trying to solve, then build tools to solve the problem that your consulting did initially.  In Elastic Sales Steli’s team they validated the concept of on demand sales teams, and within two weeks they had a pipeline 7 potential customers, and 2 that were actually paying.  Check out the script for Steli’s initial cold call.

The reason this was successful is that Steli was able to leverage his unique advantage.  Whether it’s sales, content marketing, or some other specific consulting knowledge, use your Authentic Competitive Advantage as the way you can overcome objections in sales situations.

Stop the recording right now:  Write down what your Authentic Competitive Advantage is and how it can help you get your first few customers.  If you need help figuring this out, send Steli and Hiten an email.

When you get that Authentic Competitive Advantage down, start doing customer development to better understand what the problem really is.  Don’t lead people down a specific path with this and let them freely tell you what their problem is.  Then you’ll need to figure out how to best solve that problem.

Next step is to get people to actually pay you money.  How much to charge?  Steli says charge 3x what your initial instinct tells you.  Get paid what you’re worth.  Offering lifetimes discounts for initial customers is a great way to get people on the line early.  What you charge can easily be changed later.  This is just an indication that the problem you’re solving is actually one that people are willing to pay for.

Today’s Tips:

Steli: In the next 24 hours, ask 10 people to be your customer.  Doing this will get you over the mental hurdle of asking people for their business.

Hiten: Stop thinking about how to do this and go do it.  Take action today and start trying to get customers.

Join our Facebook group to be able to talk with each other.  This is an exclusive group for our listeners and a place to build a community around.

As always, you can hit us up on Twitter @Steli or @hnshah#thestartupchat. Let us know where you get your motivation.