No one likes rejection. It's a myth that great salespeople don't mind being turned down. Most of the time the best sellers hate it the most. Still, we wonder how some people continue to fight everyday and battle through all the failures to get a client. This perseverance is what separates the startups that get buyers and the companies that die. When I first started selling, I took losses hard. There were days when I felt completely drained, and ready to just throw in the towel. Then one day, I told myself I was going to push through until I got one yes. It didn't matter how many doors got slammed in my face or how many times I got hung up on. I was going to keep going until I had one client.
The power of one is what will keep you pushing in the early stages of your company. The first customer is always the hardest, but it also can build a huge amount of momentum. I counted on this to motivate me everyday to keep calling prospects.
Once you realize the power of one client you'll be able to plunge through getting your first yes. Here's why your first buyer is so important, and how much momentum can be built from your first early adopter.
1. You will feel invincible
As a team, we called over 800 schools before we got one to commit to trying our product. Personally, I called over 300. You can imagine the shock that came over me when I finally got a purchaser to give me a yes. All a sudden, I felt a huge burst of energy. My confidence went through the roof, and sales became more fun. Without even knowing it, my entire demeanor became different from that point on. I no longer felt like I was reacting to the customer, but now I felt in control. I started making calls with more authority, and every time I talked to a client I expected them to say yes.
When you land your first purchaser, you'll subconsciously sound more confident talking to customers. Right after you get a commitment, your calls become more successful. The buyers feel your positive energy, and that leads to more closes. Expecting yourself to be successful closing a deal increases your chances of getting what you want. It's like dating. The first girlfriend/boyfriend we have gives us the most initial butterflies and nervousness. After that, each person we date next gives less of that initial feeling. The same is true for sales. Using the momentum of your first close, you'll start a domino effect. Then you'll start knocking down deals faster than you could ever imagine.
2. Your team starts working harder
We didn't charge our first customer anything to start. Looking back, in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a game changer for us long term. But you would've thought it was if you were in our office. People were celebrating, smiles were everywhere, and everyone started buying in.
It's amazing how much of an affect a sale has on your organization. When you have clients, people now have new problems to solve. You have to work on customer service, product deadlines, and increased communication. Getting that first buyer gives everyone more work to do, but it's fun and challenging tasks that bring your team together. It's also a time to celebrate. As a founder, I've learned overtime how important it is to take time to appreciate your achievements. Your first client probably won't be the biggest accomplishment for the company. With that said, it can be the catalyst to spark your organization to a higher level. Cherish the moment, congratulate the team, and push everyone to feed on the energy created.
3. You open yourself to new opportunities
Investors hate hearing that companies are struggling to get customers. That is one of the red flags that can end your fundraising hopes quickly. When you have one client committed, you enter a new ballpark. Now, you've at least shown that someone wants what you're building. This will help you get more interest for capital and on better terms.
Another benefit is you'll make more customers feel better about trying out your product. Universities are some of the most conservative customers you can get, but when we got our first one it became much easier. Why? Because no one who is risk averse wants to be first. While one client won't be enough proof to get everyone on board, it will open you up to a ton of prospects you weren't able to get to before. The opportunities from having one buyer is tremendous, you just have to keep fighting until you get that first yes.