The number one issue of Bot Academy community members is, "How do I land my first bot customer?"
The truth is that there is no crazy, complicated master plan and there is no right way to do it.
If you have the skills to create a chatbot and understand the value you bring to a customer relationship, this is actually pretty easy.
To show you, I interviewed six successful Bot Academy graduates to find out how to complete their first deals so you can implement their own strategies.
Use personalization and persistence – Kelly Garrett
Kelly Garrett landed her first bot client using the Bot Academy's cold email template. Who would have thought that would work? 😉
However, on the first day she did not shoot hundreds or even dozens of generic emails to strangers.
Instead, she did what any good marketer would do.
She tested her outreach strategy with a small group of people to see what worked. And she has personalized her messages and made them relevant to the target group.
She focused on a group of 5-10 people and researched a bit. She looked up her Facebook pages about what they had been writing lately, and if they had something in common with which to connect.
Then she added that personal touch or praised her work right at the beginning of her emails to show that they had a connection.
One of her goals was a multimillionaire entrepreneur coach in Australia, and Kelly was actually a student in one of her paid courses.
How She structured her email to this potential customer:
She opened her personal relationship by mentioning that she was a student and how much she loved the course
She talked about how excited she was about chatbots and how they can help entrepreneurs to grow their business
She immediately invited the potential customer to find out how she could make it part of her own marketing strategy
In just a few hours she received an answer and they arranged a call.
As a result, she sold her very first bot for $ 5,000!
One of the reasons she was so quick to win a prize was her way of thinking. It does not sell a chatbot, but a transformation.
Whatever your customer's goal is, you help him get there, and you have to demonstrate that. Once they understand how what you sell translates the value into leads and then into sales, they're ready to go shopping.
The last key she attributes to her success? Do not give up.
As Kelly said, "There are people everywhere around you who need your services, so keep going until you get a yes!"
Trust Your Belly and Set Time – Nick Julia
Nick's experience is actually a two-for-one story with two strategies that allow you to land your first Chatbot client. It is also part of the story of success and part of the warning story. So pay attention to both.
Let's start with what he will NOT do again: Ignore the red flags of a potential customer and rely on vague agreements.
Nick was so excited to start with chatbots that he started public relations before the Bot Academy began.
And we must welcome his enthusiasm because he has actually landed a customer!
In an eCommerce Facebook group, he wrote how effective chatbots are as a marketing tool. Then he invited people who wanted to learn more to approach them.
Someone did it and they had a conversation, so far so good. But as they spoke, red flags appeared to Nick. Did you ever feel that something was wrong when you were looking for a new perspective?
Actually, he wanted to make his first sale, and that customer would pay $ 2,000 for his first chatbot setup.
So he opted for it and sent a bareback e-mail proposal that pretty much fixed the agreed price.
What this customer did not say before was that instead of bots for a Facebook page, he wanted bots for FIVE Facebook pages … still for $ 2,000.
This was only the beginning of a very rough customer relationship in which neither side ran away happily.
However, he learned two important lessons:
Watch out for red flags
Set clear expectations and a clear scope in your proposals
Fortunately, it did not take long for him to find his next customer with a new strategy and a better closing approach.
Here's the process he used for his new strategy:
Creates a list of 50 people he specifically wanted to have as a client. (You can narrow this down to a smaller list to start like Kelly.)
From the contents of the prospect a demo chatbot was created for each one
Recorded a screencast pass for each client to demonstrate what the new bot can do
Was it really time consuming? Yes.
Was it a great way to show the customer what he was willing to invest in their business? Yes.
Unsurprisingly, he got a foot in the door with a potential customer he likes to work with. And this time, he sent a detailed proposal with a mind map that showed what the final Chatbot River would look like.
This customer paid him $ 2,500 to set up his bot and $ 1,500 to add, and everyone went away happily.
Land & Maintainer customers by seeking new ways to add value – Duncan Felix
Duncan's first bot client was not a cold email or social media hunt, but a company he'd worked with before.
Remember, it's easier to sell an existing customer for something new than to win a new customer.
Ask yourself if someone you know or work with might need a bot. I bet you can think of at least one person.
In Duncan's case, he and a partner sought a major political activism with which he had worked in a nonprofit effort to find out how chatbots could help them retain and expand their membership.
They loved the idea and invited him to their office to talk more about it personally.
There were several meetings, and in the end he and his partner sold them for £ 5,000 a month (about $ 6,400) on a donation!
Since then, he has gained several repeat customers, so he has consistently generated revenue and does not have to constantly do new business.
In fact, as with his first customer, he always puts a retainer on the table right away instead of selling a one-time set-up and trying to sell the running services later.
How does he pay for clients month after month? He focuses on creating a new value every month, as it makes sense for them.
Here are a few ways he does it:
Integration of new growth tools
Add new sequences and content
Strategy for new campaigns based on upcoming or new initiatives
Integration of chatbots in customer service workflows
He also creates training materials so that his clients' teams can manage their own chatbots themselves.
Yes, that makes his clients less dependent on him. When we asked him if he considered this a risk, he said he was the source of value.
Regardless of whether he is actually doing something or teaching his team how to do it, he still has value as a trusted advisor.
Do what works for YOU and not for everyone else – Antonio Thompson
I'll give you an idea of how many people reached Antonio before he landed his first bot client.
I bet you did not expect zero. That's right zero.
As someone who considers himself introverted, Cold Emailing or Cold Calling was outside his wheelhouse.
However, he was an expert in content creation. So he turned to the one he knew worked for him, webinars and Facebook Lives.
Do you have your own superpower that you can use to reach potential customers?
In Antonio's case, he put together a training course that focused on the core principle of chatbots, namely the value of real customer conversations in order to increase sales.
Then he showed what it looked like to have manual conversations about Messenger with anyone interested in a product. He demonstrated what it looked like to answer each person individually, as I have recently done.
And he asked the trainees, what if you could do all those conversations with a tool on the autopilot and get the same results in the blink of an eye?
Finally, he showed a recorded demo video of a chatbot in action doing exactly what he had just shown them without spending hours typing in Messenger.
At that time, people were addicted and jumped to make a phone call with him.
This is really the power of marketing in action, as they were willing to buy a solution to a problem they did not even know they had before training!
Why? Because he had shown so clearly what value this would have for their business. (Are you starting to see a pattern in these stories?)
He left training when his first client paid him a setup fee of $ 1,500 and a recurring fee of $ 500 / month.
Provide a great experience for people whose work you admire – Nerida Weaver
Nerida's story combines some of the tactics of earlier stories (personalization and demonstration demo bots). However, she used her to really impress her prospects.
She initially focused on people whose work she knew and admired. Do you have your own list of dream clients you would like to work with?
In fact, she said that this made landing her earliest clients easier than the ones that came later, because she was familiar with them and could really tailor her pitch.
And that's exactly what she did with the prospect that became her first client.
Nerida noted that this particular store owner was soon to be launched. She designed an experience to show the perspective exactly how bots could support her start.
She built a simple demo bot with the branding and photos of the prospect
She has created a demo landing page that will insert the prospect into the bot sequence as soon as they click on it, like this one on our website:
She sent the link in her cold email (using the Bot Academy template) so that the business owner could learn exactly what her users would experience if they put it into action.
Being a real bot, Nerida could actually see as soon as the interested party clicked and started interacting with the bot to see if she had tried it or not.
She even got in touch with the bot to continue the sales pitch!
This was her sixth contact e-mail, and within 30 minutes, the potential person called her and said, "I love that, it's amazing!"
To say that Nerida felt great was an understatement. Not only had she landed her first bot customer, she had also knocked down someone she had followed and admired.
And she did it by showing her how to add value to what the customer already did and make it even better.
Fight over fear and create a network – Stephen Bradeen
I want to leave you with this story because it addresses something that people do not talk about enough.
Stephen had big problems before he discovered chatbots and built a business around them.
He quit his job to pursue his true purpose as an entrepreneur. But for months he had trouble making any sales calls and was in debt.
He then enrolled in the Bot Academy and recognized the impact of chatbots on a business. He was thrilled and knew that he wanted to offer this to customers.
So, he immediately sent an email to a local gym explaining how bots could help them expand their business. His enthusiasm must have been contagious, because they invited him to a meeting!
And then the fear started.
He came to the gym one hour before the meeting and went outside to test and re-test his demo bot.
He went in, gave his pitch and they were definitely interested. But they wanted him to come back to talk about progress, and he could not bring himself to do that.
But not the fear you might think.
It was not the fear of being rejected. It was the fear that they could say yes.
For if they were to hire him, he would have to create something that would be worth hiring him for.
At the time, he felt he just had to flee, so he walked away instead of pushing forward. In retrospect, however, he realized that this was only fear of stepping into his true sense.
More importantly, he realized that this fear was a GOOD thing.
As Stephen puts it, when you really want something, you become the most nervous. And so you know where to go.
That really impressed me because it fits perfectly with something that Seth Godin, the marketing author, once told me.
He said if he feels that nervousness then he knows he has to do it. Because this inner chatter does not tell him that he should do no trifling things. It only works if there is something meaningful to do for one's life.
Did you ever feel this fear when you were just on the brink of taking a big leap and entering your destiny?
Knowing he needed to move forward, Stephen turned to the people and the tactics he already knew were working – he shared his enthusiasm for chatbots.
He joined and founded his own mastermind networks, where he interacted with marketers and entrepreneurs who could benefit from chatbots
In these groups, he shared strategies and people's questions on how to solve their specific problems with chatbots.
By providing helpful contributions and demonstrating that he knew his stuff, people turned to him to find out more
As a result, he met again with a longtime friend and agency owner who had a client he knew could truly benefit from a chatbot. He teamed up with this friend to win the customer and the White Label for his services.
This did not mean a paralyzing fear of meeting a potential customer face to face, yet he could use his expertise and passion to help someone.
Best of all, he sold this business for a monthly fee of $ 1,000 and has been running as a customer for 14 months.
The anxiety and the nervousness did not fade, but became quieter with each step.
He found his confirmation in getting to know the pain points of the client, to diagnose the problem and to offer a real solution that worked.
He is now able to financially finance the sale of his chatbot services, and he lives up to his true purpose.
He even started teaching others how to build their own chatbot business, expand their community, and establish themselves as a leading space provider.
Stephen says, "That's me now, that's my identity."
How to land your first chatbot client
As you can see from all these stories, there are countless ways to reach your first customer. Each of these students took a different approach, using the connections and skills he already possessed.
But the core principles that worked were the same:
Tap your network, even if it's someone you do not know directly
Focus on the value you can offer from the first day on to retain the customers you close
Push yourself through the fear and persist
If you're ready to build your own sustainable income using chatbots, we're here to help.
Join our free webinar to learn how to build your first bot and get customers ashore.