Validating purchase intent & pre-selling

What am I trying to do?

I have a product or idea that I am trying to validate. To validate it, I need to get infront of people who fit my target market persona, then get them to commit to some kind of next action.

– Get different types of users, who are at different stages of the lifecycle of using your solution: some poeple will know they have the need for your product, which will need grooming to understand they need your product
– It’s so quick to build MVPs it might be worth just building then bringing feedback into the process

Considering that you’re about to invest years of your time, it’s important to ensure that you’re setting off on the right track.

  • Who you are helping
  • Why you are helping them
  • Who this is replacing
  • How does this fit into their current workflow / process

Wireframes and Pre MVP

It’s hard to convince B2B people to buy something that doesn’t exist yet.

Product Demos

Framing Product Demos

Different angles
– Guiding truth is: what they they willing to give you at the end of the demo?
— Time, reputation or money? …without any of these, they aren’t interested or, it wasn’t worth your time.

If they gladly jump on the opportunity to get more involved, you’re on to something.

As a rule of thumb, the more polished you come off with or the more vulnrable – people will lie to you

If you want honest feedback, don’t appear vulrable: “it’s broken, but will get there” …makes it much easier to get feedback

People are expecting you to want to sell them, if you just want feedback – ensure that you don’t sell.

– how does this fit into your day?
– how does it fit into the other tools you use?

…humble yourself – it’s years of your life for minutes of their time. Their time is really valuable and acknowledge that before you get on the call.

“I belive in the vision, not necessarily in this version of the product.”

You’re gonna get commitment or not. That’s enough.

You can optimise by going in with authnticly trying to figure out the answer to the problem.

Each of these things are optimisations – the real value is the commit or lack of. That’s when you know you are on to something or not.

How to demo the product to avoid bais

If you go in with underlying assumptions, you illimate the chance of learning if they have these problems. You want to get this information first, either a seperate conversation, asking other people… :

– Do they already have this problem?
– What soltions do are they already trying and, why?

Assuming you’ve done that already…

Different angles to the customer demo / there are a few things you can learn from a customer demo:

1. Validation: Have I built the right thing?

– Do they care?
– Is this the right product for them?

2. User experience: Can they actually use it?

– Can they log in
– Can they get the value

For user experience, just follow the user testing world:

– Book: Rocket Science Made Easy
– Read about user testing
– Ask users to do specific tasks (following user stories)
— Stay silent, watch them do it, note where they get stuck / confused, don’t try to fix their understanding – accept that you’ve not made the product good enough and deal with it

Have I built the right product?

Use “commitments” from The Mom Test
– Try and keep things a little rough
– Show that you’re accepting its not perfect, the more likely they are going to give you real feedback
– ask for some commitment at the end: conversation with a clear outcome “hey can I get a testimonial?”, “Do you know anyone else who might be interested in this?”, “Would you be willing to jump in on trial”

… don’t push to hard for a sale, because you’re trying to find out – “does this person care enough for me to risk the next 10 years of my life”

To client: “If you really care, prove it”

– Here is how our buying process works
– We have a budget
– Closing
– Advanced payment

If you can’t get a meaningful commitment due to the type of the product, a game for example – then you need to look at user analytics.

What is Slack’s onboarding and sales process? Do they speak to the same market as me?


Further reading & resources

Next: Create your product management setup