Recently I received an email from “Nelly” about his soon-to-be-open business. He had already put together his Bare Bones Biz Plan but wondered about his next step… “How do I get customers?”

Dear Ellen,

I’ve got my business plan (Thanks for the help!) I’m getting ready to open for business on August 1st. How do I find my first customers? I’m an energy expert and I can help homeowners save lots of money as well as the planet. I’m excited about what I can do – energy auditing, equipment upgrades – now how do I get customers excited about it, too?



Here’s my response…

Dear NN,

I love your niche! Great, green emerging market! Here’s a game plan for finding your first customer (and second, and third…)

In your business plan, you created an Elevator Speech…a snappy answer to the question, “So, what do you do?” Start rubbing elbows with folks who may need or want your services. This is your Target Market. Go hang out where they hang out. Strike up a communication and work your way around to, “So, what do you do?” Listen…learn…make a friend. Inevitably, they will ask you, “And what do you do?” Tell them. Lay a compelling Elevator Speech on them. Do this 100 times and I bet you get a lead. Build your networking activities into your Marketing Calendar. That helps keep you accountable.

Once you make your first sale, tell Customer #1, “Mrs. Fernwicky, I am just getting started in my business. My intention is to do such a great job for you, that you will be happy to sing my praises with a testimonial. For you to feel comfortable doing that, I am going to have to SHINE. I will. I will meet with you before, during and after the job is complete. I’ll use written systems and share with you what is happening every step of the way. And, will you promise to let me know if you are ever confused of concerned with the job? Here’s my cell phone number.”

Then, ROCK this job. Blow Mrs. Fernwicky away with your care and kindness and how you make good on your promises.

When you get her testimonial…with name, photo and a paragraph bragging on YOU…thank her. And, ask her if you can send it to her neighbors. Mail it to them, or hand them out door to door. Make a few new friends. Maybe she will send it to her email list or post it on her Facebook page. Ask her.

Once you make your second sale, tell Customer #2, “Mr. Hobknobber, I am just getting started…

Repeat a thousand times