Case Study: How I Got My First Client In 14 Days
Today, I am going to show you How I got my first client in 14 days.
Even though I had:
Zero budget to invest in ads.
So how did I do it?
The Ghost selling method.
And in this case study, I am going to show you exactly how I did it, step by step.
The Ghost Selling Method
How The Ghost Selling Method Changed My Life
Until 2013 I was stuck in a 9 to 5 job I hated.
I desperately wanted to start my own business, but I was struggling to find my first client.
After executing the “Ghost selling method” I was able to land my first client worth $750 for my brand new web design business.
As a nice bonus, I was able to use this same method to land several more clients and quit my job within 3 months.
The best part?
You can do the same for your business whether you are selling websites, copywriting, consulting, coaching, or any other service.
In this post, I’ll teach you my 3 steps method to get clients for any new business.
The 3 Steps To Using "The Ghost Selling Method"
Step 1: Make a comprehensive list of people you know.
Step 2: Reach out to them (You can do it face to face, online, or on phone)
Step 3: Ask them the ghost selling question
Here is why this method works so well (and what it has to do with ghosts).
Have you ever decided not to buy something you actually wanted because the sales guy was too aggressive?
We all have.
It’s because we humans love to buy, but hate to be sold.
That’s where “The Ghost Selling Method” shines.
As it is all about selling your method invisibly.
Hence the name Ghost selling method (Ghosts are invisible, right?)
Make A Comprehensive Contact List
Your existing network is an asset, don’t underestimate it.
It can help you spread the word about your new business and get your first client very quickly.
The average person has 250 – 300 people in his/her contact.
So just make a contact list of at least 50 names preferably 150.
To help you prepare a comprehensive list, let me provide you a classification.
Personal Contacts: Friends, neighbors, religious organization members, family members, relatives.
Educational Contacts: Teachers, professors, school/college administration, people you went to school with, people you went to college with.
Professional Contacts: Colleagues, customers from your past jobs, subordinates, past employers/employees.
Miscellaneous contacts: Attorney, bank officer, your doctor, your dentist, your hairstylist, your insurance guy, owners/managers of places you eat at, health club members.
(At this point write all the names that come to your mind regardless of whether you feel they need your service or not.)
Alternatively, you can just make a list of your Facebook/Linkedin/Instagram connections and make a list of people you share a rapport with.
Once you have built a comprehensive list, weed out people you don’t share a rapport with.
You’ll be left with a strong contact list you can start tapping into almost immediately.
Now it’s time for step 2:
Your next step is about how to reach out to the contact list you made in step 1.
And to be clear this is not about pestering or hard selling them.
It’s about allowing them to help you out.
Now you might be hesitant about asking your contact list for help.
But the truth is most people like to help and give advice.
It makes them feel important.
Three effective channels for outreaching your list:
Face To Face: Now this one is the most effective but also the most time-consuming.
Your contacts who live in the same city and who you often see face to face are the ones who fall in this category.
For most people face to face list is enough to get their first paying client.
On Phone: These are the people with who you share a good rapport with, but you don’t meet them face to face often, either because of their geographical location or some other reason.
You might not have had a conversation with these people for months or even years, but that’s alright.
No matter how long it has been since you last talked to them, they’re still a warm contact and you should reach them out.
So just call them and have a brief conversation with them ask them stuff like how they have been etc.
And then ask them The Ghost Selling Question (More on this in step 3)
Note: You can either ask these people the ghost selling question on the phone itself or set aside a time to meet them face to face.
Online: These days it’s completely normal to have a friend whom you met online, living in different parts of the world.
These are the people who are connected to your Facebook. Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media.
Just reach out to them using messenger or email like you normally would, and then ask them the ghost selling question (explained in step 3).
Ask The Ghost Selling Question
The ghost selling question is the linchpin of the ghost selling method.
You see when people start any new business they reach out to prospects and say something like:
“Hey name, I recently started selling X, was wondering are you interested”?
To me, it’s kind of aggressive, and honestly, it turns people off.
Now I am not saying this approach doesn’t work, it does and that is why salespeople have been using these kinds of pitches for decades.
But the ghost-selling question works so much better.
How The Ghost Selling Question Works
Okay, let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of the ghost-selling ghost-selling question.
So instead of being a pushy sales guy and asking people if they need your service.
(Which makes them feel pressured and breaks rapport.)
Do you know anyone who might benefit from blank (Blank being the service you are selling.)
This comes across as very disarming and so it flies under the radar.
When you put it this way, it doesn’t feel like you are trying to sell them something.
Instead, it feels more like you are asking your contacts for their help.
So here the pitch is kind of invisible like a ghost.
Hence the name the ghost selling method.
And since these are the people with who you already share a rapport, even if they don’t need your service they’ll most likely want to help you out.
And might give you a referral.
Ghost Selling Question Examples:
“Do you know anyone who wants a website designed for their business at an affordable price”?
“Do you know anyone who wants to market their business online”?
“Do you know anyone who wants to lose weight and is looking for a fitness coach”?
The Ghost Selling Question Results In 3 Possible Scenarios:
They need your service, and so they’ll say something like:
“Great timing yes I have been looking for X, can you tell me more about your service”?
And then you proceed with asking their requirement etc.
Second Scenario: They don’t need what you are selling, but they know someone who does, in that case, you can say something like:
“Cool can you introduce us”?
The best part?
Chances of you turning that prospect into a paying client are very high simply because you are starting with borrowed trust.
The fastest way to get your first paying client is to find people who trust you and need what you are selling.
There is no faster way to gain someone’s trust than getting an introduction from someone your prospect already trusts.
I know not everyone will give you the perfect referral on a silver platter, but that’s fine because you only need a few to get your first paying client.
Third Scenario: The prospect doesn’t need your service, in that case, he’ll say something like:
“No, I can’t think of anybody right now”?
It is still cool because it doesn’t feel like rejection at all.
As with the ghost selling question you didn’t try to sell them anything per se, you just asked them for their help.
So here you can say something like:
“No worries, if you come across someone just let me know”.
Let Me Demonstrate How To Get Your First Paying Client With A Real-Life Example
Back in 2013, I decided to create my comprehensive contact list.
At that time I had around 650 connections on Facebook.
I took a piece of paper and started jotting down the name of people I share a good rapport with.
Within 45 minutes I was able to build a list of 70 contacts I could reach out to.
Some of those people were located in my city and some were not.
How Long Did It Take Me To Get My First Client?
The first day I just made my contact list and did nothing else.
The second day I outreached 3 of my friends and asked them the invisible question.
None of them were looking for a website nor did they know anyone who was.
But the good thing is all of them were happy to hear from me.
It took me 7 days to reach out to my first 20 contacts.
Honestly, reaching out to the first 20 contacts was not that difficult.
But reaching out to the next 22 was hard; it got me out of my comfort zone.
It took me 14 days and 41 Noes total to reach out to 42 contacts in my list.
But in the end, it was worth it, as it helped me get my first client.
My first client was my cousin, he has a clothing store.
We share a good rapport and so he made it to my list of 70 contacts.
During a casual conversations, I told him that I have started a Webdesign business and asked him if he knew anybody who could benefit from a modern website.
He looked at me with a smirk and said “I do”
I got super excited and asked him “Okay who’s that”?
He smiled and said:”Me”
We spent the next hour talking about how his business can benefit from a website, and what functionalities he needs, etc.
At the end of our conversation, I gave him a quote of $750 for a simple WordPress website and walked out with a $350 check (50% advance)
The best part?
He didn’t ask me how long I have been doing it, how many websites I have already designed, or did I have an existing portfolio.
Do you know why?
Because he trusts me, he knew that I won’t run away with his money.
He didn’t hire me because he thought I was the best at building websites.
He hired me because he trusted me.
And that is the reason I asked you to build a comprehensive contact list of people you share a rapport with in step 1.
When you are starting.
You don’t have a portfolio.
You don’t have much experience.
And probably you don’t have funds to invest in paid ads.
The only thing you have is trust.
Trust of people you already know, people who know you won’t run away with their money.
So make the best out of it.
The $350 check I got from my cousin went straight into buying a work desk and a comfortable chair for my home office.
I was able to get my first client very quickly because I told my existing contacts that I have started a new business.
The cost of reaching out to your contacts and asking them the ghost selling question is zero.
So you have no excuse.
All of this is work I know, but it’s certainly nothing back-breaking.
You might say:
“But Anoop you had to reach out to 42 people you already knew and you just landed one client”.
But remember when you are starting it’s all about getting the word out and getting your first client.
Your first paying client changes you from the inside, it turns you into a believer.
And yeah I didn’t close the remaining 41 people I reached out to, but from those 41 people, I got 4 referrals.
And from those 4 referrals came my second paying client.
But I Didn't Just Stop There
I used the ghost selling method to reach out to more people using social media platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook.
Using the same method I was able to land several clients online.
The only difference was instead of reaching out to people face to face I was doing it using Facebook/Linkedin messenger.
Now You Try It:
So now you know how to get your first client fast using the ghost selling method.
And unlike other new business owners, you don’t have to work for free to build a portfolio first.
And now I would like to hear from you.
Are you going to build a comprehensive contact list first?
Or maybe you want to try asking the Ghost selling Question to your close contacts.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.