When you’re new to a scene, you’re confronted with a number of challenges that stem from just being the new guy. It’s easy to look at a lot of these challenges and dismiss them as “unfair” or the market being “lazy.” You see the incumbents, the guys who get all the business, and you just assume that for some reason their position is a result of people just not knowing better (because clearly your product is so much better).
You haven’t done crap to establish your brand.
First and foremost, this is an excuse -Pure and simple. When I started VaynerMedia, plenty of our prospective clients were in the habit of hiring other, more established agencies. Every industry has its market leaders; companies who have done good work in the past, and have become the default solution for their client base. Your goal is to become one of those leaders who is an automatic go-to. It happens with law firms, it happens with dentists, it happens with agencies, it happens with any service providers. So first, you have to get over that issue and realize that you haven’t done crap to establish your brand. The way you can overcome that, in my opinion, is to deliver great work, and start creating word of mouth. It’s literally just grinding and going through the process.
It comes down to pure execution.
Now if you’re asking me how to get your first client, that’s a different conversation. Maybe you might just have to come in cheaper than you want to. You’ve got to do a lot more business development, and networking, and advertising, and putting out content. These are the classic, tried-and-true ways for a B2B company like yours to get business. Put out content on LinkedIn and Slideshare. Go to YPO meetings, and industry events for the organizations you’re targeting. Or just cold call and offer your services and prices low enough to bring on clients who can then start recommending you based on the quality of your work.
This is really, really, black and white stuff. It comes down to pure execution. If your work is great, that becomes your reputation, and that becomes the gateway drug to get in business in your sales funnel. You may call the incumbents lazy, but I call it an earned reputation.
Know an entrepreneur who is complaining? Send them this. They’ll thank you in the long run.
Image credit: CC by DonkeyHotey