Q: How Do I Interest People In My Product?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, checklist, skmurphy

Q: We have a product for bloggers but I am having a lot of trouble getting leads. I have met bloggers from popular media companies at events, I have cold called them, e-mailed them, and e-mailed to on-line groups that I am a member of. None of this has worked. How do I interest people in my product?

I have a couple of suggestions:

How Do I Interest People In My Product?

  1. Be very clear on who your customer is–they are the ones who will pay for your product. If you want your friends or advisors to recommend prospects you are going to need to get very specific on characteristics (preferably three) of the kind of folks who will most benefit from your product and the key symptoms (the prospect’s perception of a problem) that would indicate you can guarantee you can deliver one or more benefits in a very short amount of time (preferably two hours, hopefully no more than five days).
  2. It’s often better lead off with a well thought out question someone can say yes or no to, where the yes means you may be able to help them. Follow up with one or two clarifying questions to make sure you can deliver a benefit by which point you should at least have them intrigued.
  3. Here is an example of a bad question: “do you want to save money on X?” It’s not a pain question. For a blogging application some potential pain question might be
    • “Are you trying to write and publish more than four blog posts per day?”
    • “Do your blog posts average over a 1,000 words”
  4. Don’t ask questions you can easily answer by analyzing public information. So both of the suggested questions in #3 fail this test because you can do a quick analysis of their output over the last 60-90 days and come up with an average post count per day and an average word count per post. Use this analysis to sort potential prospects into those who are more and less likely to have a need for your product. Contact those likely to be in the most pain first.
  5. Identify the key benefit(s)–no more than three–your product will offer them. Explain why you believe it’s dramatically better in at least one way from what they are doing now (or competitive alternatives).
  6. Give them a reason to believe: this can be a benchmark, a testimonial, example input and output.

Here is a simplified template for a value proposition

  • For bloggers who do (need or opportunity),
  • we deliver (key benefit / compelling reason to buy).
  • Unlike (status quo or key current alternative)
  • we offer (key differentiator)

Here is one example based on long form posts

  • For bloggers who [write posts longer than 1,000 words]
  • We provide [a text editor an outlining capability that helps manage long form content]
  • Unlike a [basic browser based text editor]
  • that does not allow you to [create a section and topic outline to manage your writing].

Here is one example based on at least four posts a day

  • For bloggers who [write four or more posts a day]
  • We provide [an editorial calendar and scheduling tool that manages 90 days in detail for up to 1,000 posts]
  • Unlike a [basic WordPress site]
  • that does not allow you to [create a hierarchy of topics and schedule them with context ].

This is a straightforward formulation you should be able to explain in 60-90 seconds once you have it worked out.

Reach out through your friends and advisors to get introductions to potential customers. Depending upon the circumstances (often a 30 minute coffee break can be a good venue for a conversation, or a meeting at their office) be polite but don’t argue if they don’t understand. You can explain or elaborate once or twice (no more) but be careful of wasting their time to the point that you can’t go back.

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