Sheila Anderson’s first real client was ABC, an SMB exporting chips, semiconductors, integrated circuits and microprocessors to Germany. One day a girl working there showed her a letter to their new German client.
Sheila was shocked. The translation was horrible. It almost made her sick.
“Are you REALLY going to send this letter to your German partner?”, she gasped
Sheila’s friend told her the letter had been translated by Pamela Jenkins the SMB owner herself, who had studied German at the local High School and who sometimes vacationed in Germany. That certainly did not qualify her as a translator!
Sheila offered to re-translate the letter for free. As it turned out, Pamela knew good German when she saw it, even though she now understood she was no translator.
She loved Sheila’s translation. And that was how Sheila got her first client.
Now, she does all the SMB’s translation work: user manual, catalog, technical specifications, user manual, training manual, help files, letters, even support emails, marketing collateral…
She has become a trusted advisor to Pamela, and has helped her understand her partner’s needs and her target market‘s culture.
Sheila is so knowledgeable about Pam’s company that she now advises her on how her German clients could better benefit from her products.
Now, Pamela’s SMB is expanding in Germany…
Whenever Sheila sees a good article in a German newspaper or on the Internet, she emails Pamela about it. She offered her a German novel for her birthday. She has nurtured her relationship with this 1st client and they’ve even become friends, real friends. They often meet for coffee and discuss matters which sometimes have nothing to do with work.
Through this 1st client Sheila also met 5 other clients in 3 months: then she launched a Geographic Target Marketing campaign, which brought her 25 prospects in 6 months. She got dozens of referrals and testimonials.
To Sheila, that 1st client was the magic key with which she had unlocked the door to a seemingly endless stream of eager clients.
But she’s never stopped marketing…
She has put up her website and targets local and national SMBs exporting to Germany. But her best salesperson is still Pamela Jenkins, her first client, the SMB owner who thought she could translate!
Now, a few questions to you: What do you think of the way Sheila got her 1st client? Do you know of other ways to get your 1st client? How do you like the way Sheila followed up and built the relationship with Pamela? Any ideas on how she could develop her client base even more massively? More generally, what marketing lessons could be drawn from Sheila’s experience?