Landing the first customer for your productized service is a major milestone. For many, it can be an incredibly euphoric and motivating experience, setting you on-track for future growth. You might have just crafted a winning formula that you could replicate for further customer acquisition. So, what steps can you take to successfully land your first customer?
In this article, we are going to be exploring practical steps to help productize service owners to land their very first customers. It can be a daunting challenge, but with the right guidance and support, you will be able to see your MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) rise for the first time. Once you’ve secured your first customer, anything is possible for your productized service. This is that first domino of validation you can build on.
Customer acquisition for your productized service isn’t just about increasing your MRR. It’s also about getting enough customers to progress through the customer journey and turning them into advocates of your productized service. Further down the line, as you build your customer base, this will be essential to your growth.
There are various tactics and strategies that you should consider when trying to land the first customer for your productized service. It is far more challenging to land your first customer than it is to land your tenth or eleventh. This is because you’re unlikely to have case studies, testimonials, or other forms of social proof to create consumer confidence in your services.
Offering A Free Trial Of Your Productized Service
Never underestimate the power of free. When you’re starting out, you might not have the credentials to fill potential customers with confidence in your services. This can create some friction in their willingness to make a buying decision.
Offering your productized service for free is a great way to move prospects to the interest stage and lower the risk for them. Although I’m actually not a fan of free or discounting your service offering initially, I recommend it to gather some of the assets you will need to create more leverage in the sales process.
If you don’t have a proven track record of delivering results, prospective customers might be nervous about paying considerable sums of money towards your productized service. They may feel unsure about whether you have the skills and knowledge to complete the task-at-hand. By offering your first customer a free trial of your productized service, you are instantly displaying confidence in your own ability to deliver an exceptional service.
Consumers are cautious about opening their wallets for service-based businesses unless there is a history of these businesses delivering on their core value proposition for paying customers. Consumer confidence can be built through video testimonials, case studies, and portfolios. Until you have these assets, you may need to offer a free trial of your productized service.
A free trial gives customers the chance to try your productized service without any financial risk. Lowering the stakes and creating a “nothing to lose” mentality in the minds of consumers is a great starting point. People are being careful with their money, particularly in these times. They need confidence in your service before they part with their cash. If you cannot give them confidence, you need to find a way to remove the financial risk. I have also seen heavily discounted front end offers work really well initially if you didn’t want to do free.
Treating The First Handful Of Customers As Beta Testers
It is essential for you to learn from your first customer’s experience with your service. Their experience using your productized service is going to be vital to the development and growth of your offering, giving you valuable insights to improve everything from user onboarding to the value proposition of the service itself. To get this feedback, you could ask your first customer to take on the role of being a beta tester. This also helps you further define and enhance the certainty of success, plus build out many of the key processes you will need.
As a beta tester, your first customer will be asked to review your service at the end of their trial, providing you with key insights and actionable feedback. This could be collected through a simple Google Forms survey, consisting of several questions that focus on the user experience. It can be helpful to position your first customer as a beta tester if you are still not fully confident in your service offering.
The first customer, or beta tester, will be made aware that the service is still a work in progress and there may still be several components to the service which could be significantly improved through customer feedback. By being honest and up-front about this, your first potential customer will be more inclined to try your services and help you to improve them.
To encourage a beta tester to come along for the ride, you are going to need to give them some kind of incentive. Whether this is a free trial or even a small discount, you will need to reward them for going out of their way to try your service and provide you with feedback. If well-executed, beta testing is a highly effective way of establishing a product-market fit. Which is one of the hardest steps in the journey.
Creating An Irresistible Offer
Who doesn’t love an irresistible offer? To land the first customer for your productized service, you need an offer that simply leaps off the page, enticing your target market to make a decision to further pursue your service. Whether it’s a free trial, a limited time discount offer, or even a competition, you need to craft something that makes the mouths of your target market water with excitement.
Productized services can often operate in crowded markets. When competition is high, and in effect, you’re a “commodity”, you need to do everything in your power to grab the attention of your target market and this includes creating an irresistible offer. What is an offer that your target market simply could not refuse? If you were in their shoes, why would you say a big fat “yes” to this offer?
When you’re crafting an irresistible offer, some people like to work backward by identifying the potential points of friction in your existing offer. For instance, the price of your services could be seen as a potential point of friction. By lowering or removing the price completely, this could add to the irresistibility of your offer. Think of breaking down any and all friction points in the process.
It may not always be practical to adjust and alter the pricing of your productized service. You need to make sure that you have solid margins. However, at the same time, you shouldn’t be afraid to tweak the pricing if it has the potential to create an irresistible offer. You will need to find a balance between doing what it takes to land your first customer and staying in good financial standing. I encourage testing here as you just don’t know if even taking a loss or breaking even on the front end will lead to long term LTV.
Check out this great book by Mark Joyner to spark ideas for your irresistible offer.
Providing Your Service In Exchange For A Video Testimonial
Video Testimonials are an immensely powerful form of social proof. These can be used to effectively communicate the key value proposition of your service to potential customers across a wide variety of different marketing channels. These can prove to be highly-versatile marketing assets that be repurposed and used at every corner of your digital marketing campaign.
When you’re first starting out, getting video testimonials seems almost impossible. Usually, you have to build a strong relationship with your customers before you can ask them to start advocating for your service through the creation of social proof. If you can incorporate a video testimonial request into the conditions of your initial offer, you will be able to cut down on the long, windy road towards advocacy and quickly start displaying social proof on your website. This will be crucial to landing your second and third customers with greater ease.
The merit of a case study or video testimonial is results-driven. Ultimately, the purpose is to show potential customers how you managed to provide a solution to a problem that your customer faced. Your first customer is likely to be keen to participate in a trial offer (with a video testimonial) because it shows that you’re ready to drive impressive results for them with your service.
Landing the first customer for your productized service can certainly be challenging, but as we discussed in this article, there are many tactics and strategies that you can explore to make this happen as quickly as possible. Once you reach this milestone, it can feel incredibly validating. You feel as though someone has finally seen the monetary value in your service, which is psychologically rewarding.
If one of the strategies for securing the first customer isn’t working, you should try another. I would recommend that you stick to having one introductory offer at a time, otherwise this can confuse potential customers visiting your landing page. For instance, if you are offering a free trial of your service, you shouldn’t also be offering a discounted trial at the same time.
It’s important to recognize that landing the first customer is only the beginning of your journey. To encourage customer retention, you will need to nurture your customer and make sure they are extremely satisfied with your service. In the early days, this is much easier to do than when you’re trying to manage hundreds of customers.