Entrepreneurs love to sell an idea. Once they see that an idea has got some traction, they have a strong urge to pitch and sell it in the early stages. However, that is a mistake, as Abdo Riani explains.
He suggests that rather than trying to sell, entrepreneurs should instead be “listening to your customers’ needs and developing deep insights that can shape your startup idea into a viable product.” He also suggests that once you can get customers asking about your value proposition, “then selling will not only be easy, it will be unnecessary.”
The steps to success
First, it is obvious that the early customers are likely to be a competitor’s customers. What they will want to know is how does your app compete on three things: cost versus value, strong brand, and or unique solution.
Riani says, “If you’re going to offer superior value at the same price, you need to figure out the problems your competitors’ customers face using those solutions.” In other words, look for the gap you can fill.
Second, discover your customers’ most urgent needs. Riani says, “A simple yet effective approach is to build a Customer Advisory Board comprised of your most engaged early buyers.” You’ll gather insights you wouldn’t get with a simple survey or interview.
He also points out: “As a rule of thumb, if customers can gain ten times more from your solution than it would cost them to cancel their existing contracts and memberships, your product becomes your most important, maybe only, sales tool.”
Third, your app solution must be irresistible to the consumer. Even though the first version of an app may not be the complete vision of what you want it to do, Riani suggests “you can focus on introducing high-impact features that delight and WOW the customer.”
You can do this even in a highly competitive market by focusing on a niche segment and tailoring the product to the needs of consumers in that sector. That alone can give your app the WOW factor.
Ultimately, the secret of success for startup app lies in “building a product customers cannot refuse to try, use, and recommend, even in the presence of solid competitors.”
If entrepreneurs follow this advice, they will have no need to sell their startup app at the beginning of its journey.