What if you spend weeks, months, maybe *years* on your fabulous product… and nobody buys?
Nearly all first product failures can be chalked up to one simple error.
Yes, my title for this post is clickbait. But it’s also true.
Because you felt an irresistable urge to click, then I can already tell two things about you:
- you’re a creative person who loves making things… and
- you would love to make things and sell them
Further to #1, I’ll bet that you’re full of ideas on how to do things better… and that your first instinct is always to roll up your sleeves and get to coding, designing, writing, recording. That get-er-done orientation — aka action bias — works splendidly in your home life, in your job, as a freelancer or consultant. The world needs people who move and do.
But when you set out to create a product business?
Your action bias will produce a flop.
You’ll rush to make something cool — only to find yourself stuck when it comes to getting people to use it, spread it, try it, buy it.
You’ll beat your head against the wall of customer indifference. You’ll pivot. You’ll stab around for product-market fit. You’ll make those horribly awkward cold calls. You’ll split-test the dickens out of your sales copy. You’ll try different pricing schemes. You’ll blow money on different Adwords campaigns to try to find your USP…
And the worst thing is, it may not even work.
There is no guarantee that you’ll find your golden path to sales. Ever.
That right there is the #1 mistake that will kill your product before you even start:
It’s so, so easy to develop a “great” product that nobody wants. Because the developing part is so damned fun.
Luckily there’s a simple rule that will save you days, weeks, months — maybe even years of fruitless effort.
Here it is:
Develop your sales pitch before you do ANYTHING ELSE
DON’T make a product, then figure out how to sell it. DO figure out how to sell a product, then make it!
Write your sales copy, design your selling proposition — and your marketing plan! — in great, crispy detail before you ever set foot in Sublime Text, Photoshop, or Screenflow. Bring it up with people in person. Write about it on your blog. Tweet about it. Ship your landing page, collect email addresses.
For the action-biased among us, this is nowhere near as intoxicating. But that’s the point:
If you can’t get people excited by your pitch, you won’t be able to get them excited to buy your product. (And your heady, early days of product dev will be for naught!)
But if you can get people excited by your pitch, you’re already 75% of the way to a sale.
Then — and only then — should you code, design, write, or record the actual product.
I call it Pitch First Development.
Pitch First Development gives you superpowers
Pitch First Development gives you the power to…
- speak clearly about your (as-yet-nonexistent) product with your audience, aka potential customers
- test it for free (with a Coming Soon squeeze page)
- start your content marketing well before you launch
- build trust and excitement with your audience
- try out different approaches — angles, product types, delivery mechanisms, scale — to killing the same audience pain (again, for free)
- use your best sales pitch as a detailed outline for your product, once you do set yourself to the (fun!) work of building it
A solid, wallet-opening pitch gives you clarity, insight, direction, confidence… and AS IF THAT WEREN’T ENOUGH it will also save you epic amounts of time and effort. And pain.
You don’t have to presell your product for actual money (and in fact, I recommend against it — the weight of obligation can crush you).
You can look for evidence that your audience will “pay” in other ways: shares, buzz, dropping their emails in the little signup box. Get your pitch to the point where your audience — your potential customers! — are able to take some kind of action to embody their interest. Because actions > words > (your) theories.
In conclusion: Don’t make that #1 mistake. Don’t end up weeks or months down the line with a product you can’t move. Don’t build, then pitch.
Pitch first. Build second.
Ready to do it the right way ‘round? Kick ass! My Year of Hustle Roadmap will give you the step-by-step advice you need to put it into action!
How do you make your first sale?
Follow our FREE roadmap from $0 to $10k and start your product business one small, achievable win at a time.
When you subscribe, you’ll also get biz advice, design rants, and stories from the trenches once a week (or so). We respect your email privacy.