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One of my colleagues will be starting a new web and desktop software development company, specializing in development of products & providing services for the real estate, finance and healthcare sectors. He wants to get clients for his product and services.

Previously, he used to work as a full time freelancer and used to get projects from freelance sites, where there was no need to find clients, as they post their jobs and we bid on it.

Now the step where he is stuck at is "Getting Clients". How to find and let potential clients know about products & Services he is providing?

I am wondering how big companies do this. What are the ways/steps they use to get clients?

  1. He has built a mailing list of potential clients and sent them mails but did not got any response
  2. He has tried making phone calls to list of people but that also did not work
  • A great deal more information is needed if you want to recieve any responses. What type of business? What type of projects? – Scott Apr 14 '14 at 9:50
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    I was actually implying that you expend a bit more effort than posting a single sentence. What type of "IT Services" you offer, the type/size of clients you wish to acquire. What you've tried. Why that has not worked... etc. – Scott Apr 14 '14 at 10:53
  • hi Scott, check updated question – Nitin Sawant Apr 14 '14 at 11:22
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    @NitinSawant Much better edit, but do remember that we need proper spelling; did his mailers have correct spelling and grammar in them? As well, we don't need to use HTML code on our posts, just pressing Enter twice creates a paragraph. Hopefully, some community members can help you. And welcome to Freelancing.SE! – Canadian Luke Apr 14 '14 at 16:24
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From your position is best not waste too much time asking what big companies will do. You don't have neither the influence nor the financial power to penetrate the market by means of big PR campaigns or aggressive marketing strategies.

Email lists or cold calling is also wrong. Why? Email marketing at this point is simple SPAM. Cold calling is inefficient because the targeted market is, for sure, already well served by others.

What can you do from such an unfavourable position?

  • Make sure the message sent by your company (on various channels), clearly differentiates your product from the competition.
  • Focus on a single market penetrating strategy. My choice will be direct marketing one client at a time. Choose a potential client and do the impossible to sell them your product. After ten or more sales you can consider expanding your marketing/selling strategy.
  • Get endorsed by a big player in the industry. The bigger the company, the better.
  • Make friends with influencers in the industry.

I will not speak about advertising, public relations, resource management or messaging. I suppose you already are familiar with what you should do before you knock at your prospective clients door.

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You can take any or all of the following approaches:

1) Get a Business Partner that is Established and Well-Respected in that Target Market

For example, let's focus on the service offerings for real estate.

If you have no clients, it's tough to get the first one.

But if you got a well-known broker using your software, and it's good software, others will take interest, and you have instant 'street cred' because a well-known and successful person is using your software offering already.

Further, if you have that broker helping you to develop the 'tools' that all brokers need, your software offerings will be that much better.

Finally, having the broker as a partner means that if more brokers use the software, that broker will make money as well - and they'll help promote the software.

Offering custom application development to the broker is a very nice 'carrot on a stick,' and you can approach such a person, if you have a personal connection, at first as a mentor (i.e. ask them to evaluate and help improve - they can use the software for free).

You have to be careful how you structure such an agreement - but that's beyond the scope of this question.

The key here is to break into a specific target market and gain credibility.

2) Basic Online Marketing - Web Site, Blog, Social Media and SEO

An SEO'd web site with a demo and good social media strategy is also a 'must.' This is basic and straight forward. A good web site can do wonders.

Make sure you do some keyword mining, SEO'd blogs about the subject, integrate the blog into your web site and social media - make sure you have clear path to 'attract, convert and attach revenue to those conversion.'

Of course, there are lot's more ways - but the above 2 can be pretty effective and are great starting points.

3) Get a Mentor and Ask for Help

Again, if you know someone in the target market, use that to your advantage. Take them out for a coffee, let them know you want their advice on how to market your product. Don't try to sell to them, get their advice on how to sell to their peers - this is a great way to build allies and support network.

Remember, that a lot of big companies started small, with just one client (i.e. 'Apple Computer') - everybody has to start somewhere, and people helped them along the way.

4) Put on Seminars

Put on seminars and provide some useful information to your target market. Look for associations, user groups, MeetUp groups etc.

Offer attendees a free consultation on how they can improve [insert relevant topic here], provide value in advance, build awareness and positive relationships.

There is a saying, "If business isn't walking through the door, then you have to go out and get it."

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