Selling without a product

Selling without a product

How do you sell a product or service when it is yet to exist?

This challenge is faced by many entrepreneurs early on, after successfully getting their startup off the ground, but not having anything to sell yet. 

Carter Cast and Craig Wortmann, two clinical professors of innovation and entrepreneurship,  offer some advice. 

“Start now!” A mistake often made by new entrepreneurs is the dangerous assumption that you only need to be able to sell, not to be an entrepreneur. The kicker is, entrepreneurial selling is a lot different from the selling one might know from a sales department. The reason: you don't have anything to sell yet, and no strategy.

Do not assume everything needs to be perfect before you start selling. The software does not have to be up and running yet, you do not have to know exactly what the customer wants.

Go on offense, get in front of your situation. Let them know about your vision, and the fact that it is not fully developed yet. Get in touch with customers; Test, then go back to the drawing board to refine.

A good rule of thumb: If you can break your services down to a 15 second bit, a tweet, or even just a hashtag, you know you're doing things right.  In the early days of your business, the company, the product, the solution, are all very loosely defined.

What is needed is asking customers how your services resonate with them and whether they would value it in theirs, whether it would solve a real problem for them? These are questions worth asking, questions that are actually making a sale. That's what selling essentially is.

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