From idea to first customer: Selling it before you make it

You’ve made it this far in your journey to your first client. You’ve selected the target audience and identified the problems they are willing to pay for solutions.

Navigate the Journey

For some businesses, it may seem that the next step is to create your products. In an ideal world, your product first would be.

A product can be sold before it is made?

Yes. Many successful businesses have been started in this manner.

Pre-selling your product means you present the idea about your solution to your audience in order to gauge their interest.

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Pre-orders can be accepted as part of the process. Or you might just talk to potential customers about your idea to see if they are interested in it.

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Tiny Wood Stove is an excellent example. After listening to their customers and identifying a problem they created a crowdfunding campaign that allowed pre-orders. Their product was a huge success and the overwhelming positive response proved it. It also helped to turn one blog post into a million-dollar company.

Pre-selling your product is a smart move.

1. Be in alignment with your customers’ values

The goal of the concept of your product is to present it before you create it. Successful pre-sales are a sign that you have found a solution to a problem. Even though the product isn’t yet available, your target customers will pay for it. This is powerful.

2. Improve product effectiveness

You have the time and resources to improve your product with some money from your pre-sale. It’s obvious that this product is in high demand, so now it’s worth investing in its development.

You can also share your ongoing improvements via email and social media with pre-buyers to give them something to talk about.

3. Reduce risk for your business

Risk is inherent in any new venture or business. You can reduce your risk by having pre-sale income and proof that your product is attractive. You are able to estimate the inventory that you will need and you have cash, which helps reduce upfront costs and allows you to make sound financial decisions.

Imagine you are trying to sell a product to hundreds of people within your target audience. None of them want to buy it. Did you fail?

No! It’s not true! You saved time. You also saved money.

You can also invest in marketing and product design if your product sells well.

Learn more:

Pre-selling is not a good idea.

Pre-selling is not always a good idea. You can still minimize risk in these cases by being careful about product research and design.

1. Pre-selling doesn’t reflect the values of your customers

Customers value fast product delivery. Selling them an idea and telling them that they will have to wait three months before they get an actual product is not going to work.

Customers may also want it now, but they require it now. You need to fix your water heater immediately. Now if your internet goes down.

2. You are in a highly competitive marketplace

There is already a lot competition in some industries. Your solution might be better, or different. If you present an idea to potential customers, and tell them that it isn’t ready, they might just buy an existing product.

In this case, a pre-sell is not necessary. You will know that people are willing and able to pay more for solutions if there are already products solving the same problem. Make a great product and then make it available for sale.

How to sell a product or service before it is sold

Pre-selling can be done in two ways:

  • Pre-order You can offer your audience the opportunity to purchase a product ahead of time and have it delivered once it is ready. You can offer your audience something in return for their patience, such as a discount or invitation to a launch party. It is also a good idea, and make sure you clearly state the expected delivery date. Pre-orders can be a great way to gauge interest since people will actually spend money on your product.
  • Your idea is worth selling. In this instance, you are not exchanging money. The goal is to ask questions, find out if anyone is interested. If you are still working on your idea and need more feedback, this may be the best route.

You can always do both! You can sell your idea first, and then, once there is interest, you can offer pre-orders.

These steps will help you successfully pre-sell products or services.

1. Make an offer

Begin by creating an offer that is unique to your audience. You could offer a discount, gift, or other tangible benefits to your audience. Or, you could give them an explanation about the product, its features, and the benefits. The goal is to discover if people are interested and ready to pay for your idea.

Next, make sure you get your offer in front your audience. These are some ways you can reach potential customers.

Create a landing page. A landing page is a web page that serves a specific purpose. In this instance, it presents your offer. The landing page should be simple, but include information about your idea, the problem that it solves, as well as how it solves it.

Pre-orders should include checkout functionality. Also, be specific about when the product will arrive. A survey is a good option if you are just looking to share your ideas and get feedback.

This pre-order page from makes the delivery date very clear.

A landing page should have:

  • Context. Context. You only have seconds to grab people’s attention. Make your offer immediately. Your product can help them solve their problems.
  • Credibility. Credibility. Your audience must trust you to deliver your idea (or deliver a product pre-ordered). This could mean adding accreditations and experience or creating landing pages that load quickly, are secure, and look professional.
  • A call to action. A call to action.

Once you have created a landing site, make sure it is visible to your audience via social media, digital ads or email marketing.

Are you unsure where to begin? WordPress and WooCommerce are great options for creating landing pages, taking pre-orders and adding surveys. Start with WooCommerce.

Create a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter allow you to connect with people interested in your idea. You can create a profile to showcase your product or idea, and then let people pledge money for it.

If you fail to reach your fundraising goal, everyone gets their money back. It’s not worth risking creating the product before there’s been enough interest. Backers also don’t want to risk contributing to something that doesn’t happen.

Kickstarter contributors understand that they will not receive the product immediately. They are happy to contribute to the creation of something that will be beneficial to them, and they are willing to pay upfront to be among the first to get it.

Reach your audience wherever they are. Your audience is already spending time in these places. You can meet people face-to-face at trade shows, festivals, and other events. Join Facebook groups that are related to your topic. Reddit is a great place to ask questions. Reddit is the place to ask questions if you have an email list or social media following.

You can present your idea in a survey or poll, or you can ask open questions such as:

  • Are you interested in this product?
  • What would you do with this product?
  • What price would you pay to purchase this product?

2. Try the offer

Now it’s time for people to respond to your offer after you have created it. Are there a lot of people who visited your landing page but not many who purchased the product? Is your idea appealing to people and are they willing to purchase? Did you get any suggestions on how to improve your product?

It is important to be open-minded. You should be open to receiving feedback and willing to adapt your ideas as necessary.

3. Continue to do so if necessary

If your audience was enthusiastic and the feedback was positive, you can move on to the next step. You can go back and change your ideas or switch solutions. Reach out to them and ask if they would like your changes.

Confirm your value

Pre-selling allows you to concentrate on solving the problem of your target audience and proving the value of your product. This is your chance to convince them about your idea and get it ready for delivery by the deadline.