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Choose Carefully, Be Amazing.

White Breach
Creative Commons License photo credit: erikogan

I was speaking with a wanna be business owner the other day who I *know* has the skills to help people in the market where he works.

When I say “wanna be”, I don’t mean they can’t do it, or won’t do it, just that they haven’t done it.

For the wanna be, something is missing: That first really important client.

That client has to be framed right.

  • It is FIRST really important CLIENT?
  • Or…is it first REALLY IMPORTANT client

I think it’s both – and they aren’t often the same person or business.

That FIRST really important CLIENT

As in first client, and really important because you finally got one. A paying one.

Not your brother in law, your mom’s boss, your church or that community organization that can’t afford anyone else – but someone who actually paid.

They’ll teach you how it feels to have a level of trust granted to you by someone who maybe shouldn’t have done so. Not because you didn’t deserve it, but because you didn’t yet have a reputation that told them you were the *only* logical choice for what they needed.

They give you much more confidence that you can actually do this thing and get paid for it.

And…that’s the one that will likely make you realize all the things you have left to do, learn and organize.

Those of you who have been there know what I mean. Sometime in the past, someone took a chance and bought what you do when maybe, just maybe they should have gone a different direction.

A safe direction. But they chose you instead, and that made all the difference.

That first REALLY IMPORTANT client

What does ‘really important’ mean in a client?

The first one is important because they exist. They prime the pump.

The really important one is the one that solves a fundamental problem you have when you go to sell your stuff to the next person.

They ask “Why should I buy from you instead of anyone/everyone else?” You’re ready for that one. And then it comes, the one that you hate to hear – until you have an amazing response: “Who else do you do this for?”

That’s when you want to say “the United States Senate” (I still remember what that check looked like).

You might even manage to be able to say a name like Donald Trump, The Bellagio, the Dallas Cowboys, The Diaper Bank of Tucson, Wachovia (well, back in the day anyhow), The American Red Cross, IBM, Microsoft, the New York Yankees, Apple or Pixar.

Mention a few of those – or the equivalent in your market – and suddenly, you’re the one being pursued.

Credibility. That big product champion. The quote from Bill Gates or Steve Jobs about the work you did.

The testimonial that makes them raise their eyebrows and say “Come on in”.

The Whale

That’s what the wanna be is missing: the “whale”.

In Las Vegas, a whale is a gambler who comes to town to drop big money at the tables. Six figures.

In the business world, a whale might be a Bill Gates, a Trump, the US Senate, or it might just be an influential local client. Someone that the rest of the community respects.

They’re an influencer in their market, or better, in *every* market…and that person likes what you do.

Every business needs a whale, whether they’re a local or a national one. They need a product champion, a killer testimonial. Someone that you can mention and say “See what I did for *them*? I can do that for you too.”

Maybe Gates or Jobs are a stretch, but maybe not. They have to buy from *someone*. Why not you?

Bill Gates has a plumber. What, you aren’t good enough? Whales come in all sizes. They’re people too.

Landing the Whale

For the wanna be, that first client might seem like a whale. If you’re going to work hard as you can to get that first client, why not make it one that would be an ideal match?

Focus on a client that’s an absolutely great match for what you do. Go after them with everything you have. I don’t mean be obnoxious and cold call them at 10pm. Instead, position yourself to answer that important question…

“Why should I buy from you instead of anyone/everyone else?”

Once they’ve taken that chance, transform them into a great champion of your work…by doing your best work.

Start with one. Be amazing. And then…Wash, rinse, repeat.