When to say “Uncle”

sales pitch enough





So what’s a startup to do?

An entrepreneur will be old and gray before he or she sees 50% or even 30-40% rampant customer enthusiasm…it rarely happens.  But without a convincing level of enthusiasm, “back to the drawing board”.

It usually means one of the following:

1.   Talk to more customers:

 Looking for that common thread of responses, whether its “I’d like it better if it did X,” or “Oracle already makes something just like this.” 

You may just need to talk to more people to find repeatable, actionable themes.

2.   Talk to different customers: 

If you got a hint that men or women or middle managers or sole proprietors seemed more interested than others you’ve talked to, focus in on that group and see if the enthusiasm level increases notably. 

If it does, you’ve saved yourself tons of dough on marketing by better focusing your “get customers” spend.

3.   Rethink the value proposition: 

More/less/different features/functions/ pricing?

Maybe there’s something fundamentally wrong with your product, with other aspects of your value proposition, or perhaps with other key elements of your business model.  Dig in. This is hard work.

4.   Did you just explain it badly? 

Very often, entrepreneurs are so close to their product and their startup that they don’t fully explain the business  model or product when doing discovery.

Test your pitch on a few smart people and see if it makes sense.

Next: the first step in customer discovery has nothing to do with your product!!

Related articles:

Follow-Up Is the Key Sales Criteria

3 Critical Sales Techniques and Why Customers Believe It's Critical to Buying Decisions

How to Sell More Customers

3 Marketing Tips to Increase Sales Success


About the author

Bob Dorf

Bob Dorf is among the world’s leading Lean Startup and Customer Development experts, who trains and coaches startups throughout the world, with a particular focus on Latin America.  Bob co-authored the Startup Owner’s Manual, a global bestseller, with startup legend Steve Blank. Now in 18 languages, the Manual details every step in transforming an idea into a repeatable, scalable, profitable business. Bob focuses particularly on training programs for the startup educators, coaches, and investors, and has done so repeatedly in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and many more. Hes also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Columbia Business School. Earlier, Bob founded seven startups--“two homeruns, two base hits, and three tax losses.” His 30+ angel investments delivered 7 IPO’s and six disasters. Learn more at www.bobdorf.nyc or contact bob via bobdorf@gmail.com