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Find Customers First Strategy (Before working on the problem/solution/product/services)

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Kevin88660

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Find Potential Customers first before you even decide what exact need to work on.

Sounds a little strange and absurd? Not really. I will explain.

Traditional Path : Identify Need, Design Solution, Make a prototype, Market (costly paid advertising), Receive feedback and modify product/alter marketing message/pivot to a another more hot need in the same niche...

Find Customers First Strategy:
1)Create Content to have followers or build communities (whatsapp, forum, facebook group) first through value creation. You target a group of people for instance small business owners/gamers/ladies interested in skin care.
2)Then run the need/solution/product test through interacting with your followers.

This approach definitely takes longer time because you build followers and communities first. But it is going to build much strong foundation for future success because your "testing cost" is a lot lower. No more paid advertising which often leads to nowhere. And you are pretty sure that if the response is bad, the fault lies with the need not really being a real need (that people pay for), or your product value/cost/skewing proposition is not really strong enough compared to the existing options in the market. And the in the traditional approach when you have bad sales at the start you are like a blind man walking in a dark forest at night burning cash to have some light to find a direction before the flame goes off. Problem with Google ads? Maybe try another paid advertising method? Maybe my product is good but high ticket sales item takes longer to build trust, grow and have referral at the start, and hence I shouldn't give up? More investment to improve the solution?

And when you have potential customers first there is always an easier option of working with existing good products as affiliate partners or buying out good business that have poor marketing. It doesn't mean that they will necessarily sell but you are running much faster and lower cost to test prototype, ideas, marketing message and pivoting around slightly different needs in the same niche, once you had followers/communities set up. You are finding your way out of the forest in broad day light now.

Anyone trying with this strategy now?
 
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Kevin88660

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Last edited:

Kevin88660

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Yep, but a bit different. Just used Jason Cohen's strategy on validating an idea. Spent the last two weeks talking with potential customers, and realized there wasn't a need for it on the market. Saved myself at least 6 months of useless work.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWXBWLTcmn4&ab_channel=AlexBecker%27sChannel
Very insightful sharing from Jason Cohen a B2B SAAS industry titan, on testing if a problem is worth pursuing.

What if your product or service isn't trying to solve a unique problem that very few has done before?

Most new products and services are a different version (with some skewing) of existing products for old problems. There is a need for your products just that customers have too many choices.

From my point of view, to put it in an extreme way, if you aren't an influencer in some sort of way, it is going to be very expensive for yourself to launch anything if you are playing B to C. Think of the typical items that people sell to C, selling cakes online, selling pet food, selling ebook on business/fat loss, selling courses, selling specially designed T-shirt.
 

mdot

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I also watched that video with Jason and am trying the same thing as well as doing validation tests with ads and a landing page to see if my product idea has any legs before starting the work of designing it. I'll probably $1000 validating the idea but I'd rather know I have something people want before I build any sort of following around it, which itself takes time away from potentially validating and pursuing other ideas.

But your post reminded me of a concept from the book 12 Months to $1 Million by Ryan Daniel Moran. He calls it "Stacking the Deck", basically creating buzz though value creation in order to build a following of people that are likely to buy from you at launch and get the momentum going. He did it after he designed his product though, I think.
 

Kevin88660

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I also watched that video with Jason and am trying the same thing as well as doing validation tests with ads and a landing page to see if my product idea has any legs before starting the work of designing it. I'll probably $1000 validating the idea but I'd rather know I have something people want before I build any sort of following around it, which itself takes time away from potentially validating and pursuing other ideas.

But your post reminded me of a concept from the book 12 Months to $1 Million by Ryan Daniel Moran. He calls it "Stacking the Deck", basically creating buzz though value creation in order to build a following of people that are likely to buy from you at launch and get the momentum going. He did it after he designed his product though, I think.
Jason approach is good if you want to validate a new idea. And note to get 50 senior consultants on WP to speak to you even if you agree to pay them it's an incredible feat, given his network and years in the field.

The angle I am coming it's indeed, as you said to tackle the bigger issue how to get your product to have the first group of buyers provided it is decent. It solves a lot of issue like a good product taking too slow to grow and you give up, or continue to invest in a wrong way...like even your most loyal fans in this niche aren't buying it this is definitely not good enough or providing enough skew to justify them switching from existing service providers, or maybe there is a better problem to address within the same niche. I think this is especially so if you are selling B to C.

There are some trends that are likely to continue. Leads are just going to get more and more expensive, quality for the same cost are going to deteriorate. The PC to mobile growth trend is over, and your are not seeing more and more new internet users/buyers coming up. There is awareness that online traffic is actually more valuable than gold, because even gold supply is increasing (dug out from the ground) at faster rate than online traffic and attention. Every company becomes a feudal serf working for Big Tech such as Google, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent become they control the most previous limited resource in modern commerce. Even big companies are emphasizing on how to reuse and recycle and engage with existing clients base and leads to avoid bleeding too much on advertising.

If you are a smaller player you are faced with two choices. Build your own fans first, and test with your own product or services, (and sometimes products and service offered by others), or doing the conventional way- having a cost efficient paid advertising combined with a really good product at launch so that you can reach sustainable organic growth relatively quickly.

If you think building fans is tough, to me the conventional way is actually much much harder.

This customer first strategy is more often practiced than people think it is. It is just not getting a lot of attention than it deserves I think. While I don't have the stats on how the series of book sales of MJ got the traffic, but it seems like Millionaire fastlane grew organically by brute force, but once you have the fastlane forum, things changed to be faster. Books fans have attention and loyalty retained by forum with free content, which acts as a marketing channel for insider subscription and later books such as unscripted and Escaping the rat race. All three books are also marketed via other channels such as amazon, which also capture attention and leads back to the forum.

So you have this web of leads capture and attention in which "all things bring leads back to the forum". Unlike a typical contention creation Youtuber who has to constantly work on the channel, this is a community where MJ's role is more like the king :setting up rules of governance because they will be self-interested community volunteers who is wiling to share things, write content and promote themselves, in short keep the forum going. (The other bonus is content create ideas for what MJ can write for the next book). So MJ just focus on writing good books and setting up good rules of governance and the ecosystem or machine will work on its own.

Clear all these are part of a post-retirement project by MJ which is not designed to be "profit-maximizing" but to really interact with like minded people and more like a personal legacy for himself. But for the purpose of this thread, you can see fastlane forum played a key role, in my opinion more important than the books (of course just my speculation and I dont have the numbers to back it). But clearly more sophisticated layout and strategy than simply producing something good enough so that it can sell itself later.
 
Last edited:

Jessica Reid

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Jason approach is good if you want to validate a new idea. And note to get 50 senior consultants on WP to speak to you even if you agree to pay them it's an incredible feat, given his network and years in the field.

The angle I am coming it's indeed, as you said to tackle the bigger issue how to get your product to have the first group of buyers provided it is decent. It solves a lot of issue like a good product taking too slow to grow and you give up, or continue to invest in a wrong way...like even your most loyal fans in this niche aren't buying it this is definitely not good enough or providing enough skew to justify them switching from existing service providers, or maybe there is a better problem to address within the same niche. I think this is especially so if you are selling B to C.

There are some trends that are likely to continue. Leads are just going to get more and more expensive, quality for the same cost are going to deteriorate. The PC to mobile growth trend is over, and your are not seeing more and more new internet users/buyers coming up. There is awareness that online traffic is actually more valuable than gold, because even gold supply is increasing (dug out from the ground) at faster rate than online traffic and attention. Every company becomes a feudal serf working for Big Tech such as Google, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent become they control the most previous limited resource in modern commerce. Even big companies are emphasizing on how to reuse and recycle and engage with existing clients base and leads to avoid bleeding too much on advertising.

If you are a smaller player you are faced with two choices. Build your own fans first, and test with your own product or services, (and sometimes products and service offered by others), or doing the conventional way- having a cost efficient paid advertising combined with a really good product at launch so that you can reach sustainable organic growth relatively quickly.

If you think building fans is tough, to me the conventional way is actually much much harder.

This customer first strategy is more often practiced than people think it is. It is just not getting a lot of attention than it deserves I think. While I don't have the stats on how the series of book sales of MJ got the traffic, but it seems like Millionaire fastlane grew organically by brute force, but once you have the fastlane forum, things changed to be faster. Books fans have attention and loyalty retained by forum with free content, which acts as a marketing channel for insider subscription and later books such as unscripted and Escaping the rat race. All three books are also marketed via other channels such as amazon, which also capture attention and leads back to the forum.

So you have this web of leads capture and attention in which "all things bring leads back to the forum". Unlike a typical contention creation Youtuber who has to constantly work on the channel, this is a community where MJ's role is more like the king :setting up rules of governance because they will be self-interested community volunteers who is wiling to share things, write content and promote themselves, in short keep the forum going. (The other bonus is content create ideas for what MJ can write for the next book). So MJ just focus on writing good books and setting up good rules of governance and the ecosystem or machine will work on its own.

Clear all these are part of a post-retirement project by MJ which is not designed to be "profit-maximizing" but to really interact with like minded people and more like a personal legacy for himself. But for the purpose of this thread, you can see fastlane forum played a key role, in my opinion more important than the books (of course just my speculation and I dont have the numbers to back it). But clearly more sophisticated layout and strategy than simply producing something good enough so that it can sell itself later.
You can
Find Potential Customers first before you even decide what exact need to work on.

Sounds a little strange and absurd? Not really. I will explain.

Traditional Path : Identify Need, Design Solution, Make a prototype, Market (costly paid advertising), Receive feedback and modify product/alter marketing message/pivot to a another more hot need in the same niche...

Find Customers First Strategy:
1)Create Content to have followers or build communities (whatsapp, forum, facebook group) first through value creation. You target a group of people for instance small business owners/gamers/ladies interested in skin care.
2)Then run the need/solution/product test through interacting with your followers.

This approach definitely takes longer time because you build followers and communities first. But it is going to build much strong foundation for future success because your "testing cost" is a lot lower. No more paid advertising which often leads to nowhere. And you are pretty sure that if the response is bad, the fault lies with the need not really being a real need (that people pay for), or your product value/cost/skewing proposition is not really strong enough compared to the existing options in the market. And the in the traditional approach when you have bad sales at the start you are like a blind man walking in a dark forest at night burning cash to have some light to find a direction before the flame goes off. Problem with Google ads? Maybe try another paid advertising method? Maybe my product is good but high ticket sales item takes longer to build trust, grow and have referral at the start, and hence I shouldn't give up? More investment to improve the solution?

And when you have potential customers first there is always an easier option of working with existing good products as affiliate partners or buying out good business that have poor marketing. It doesn't mean that they will necessarily sell but you are running much faster and lower cost to test prototype, ideas, marketing message and pivoting around slightly different needs in the same niche, once you had followers/communities set up. You are finding your way out of the forest in broad day light now.

Anyone trying with this strategy now?
Yes, I went to Reddit and asked my target audience if they would take my course using a poll. Majority said yes.

Reddit is a great place to do research and validate your idea.
 

Johnny boy

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An example of doing this would be if you were interested in starting a home services business. You could create a thumbtack account, and it will actually show you the number of monthly requests for each type of service in your area, as well as how many other professionals are competing for those jobs, showing real-time, local supply and demand data that can save you a lot of time.

Then throw up a facebook page, create some solid ads, start getting leads and track your return on ad spend and now you've validated a business model in a weekend.
 

Itizn

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Anyone trying with this strategy now?
Thought of this thread recently.

Unintentionally this ended up being what happened for me and my business.

While I have made sales, the true "currency" from my business thus far has been, what you described in your OP: an audience.

This includes a pretty hefty contact list of managers, decision makers, and execs within my niche, who all know who I am, what I provide, and that I'm not "going anywhere".

While I still only provide services which are offered by other competing providers and vendors, the moment I identify a need that isn't being provided, it will be that much easier to get people who it can help, on-board. Which I believe was the underlying lesson from your post.
 

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