Everyone has an “A” List, even if you’re still in school. Your “A” List is your immediate network of contacts with potential sales pipeline. A good example would be either a boss or acquaintance, family member (maybe your Dad or Aunt have contacts that would be in the market for your product or service). The idea of selling to family and friends, at first, can be a little off-putting, “I’ve got a legitimate service to offer, I don’t need charity.” Don’t think of it like that. Understand that to get started you need customers, you nee a client base – this builds your referral pipeline, and gets you testimonials. Testimonials are vital in the business world – especially to sustain business.
The real value within your “A” List, is not monetary, instead it’s time, well patience. Unlike the sales cycle you will be faced with outside your contact network, these people will give you more than 15 seconds to make your point/sell your service. This is also helpful in allowing you the opportunity to refine your pitch/messaging without the possibility of losing potential business.
Go get a piece of paper. It’s ok, I’ll wait. Seriously – go get it.
write down your immediate family member names, then your extended family, now your business contacts; these could be teachers at school (especially if you’re in business school) bosses, colleagues. Now break out each of these categories…
from your family break out their network – your dad’s friends with businesses, your mom’s contacts, your older sister’s friends and their parents, Aunt Mildred’s contacts – Louie who owns the Deli and Schaeffer from the Auto body shop.
Before you know it you’ll have a sizable list to start from – don’t be afraid to embarrass the middlemen – you have a valuable service to offer (unless you’re soliciting players for your underground card game – in which case choose wisely (Schaeffer’s probably cool) but don’t be afraid to ask for business)