As entrepreneurs we all have heaps of ideas of what to sell. But how to know what will sell the best? Make the most money? Be a major success? Be a flop?
So, you have an idea for a new product line or program or package or service. How do you know it will sell?
I heard of a business story from AppSumo. They wanted to prove that any business idea is a good idea but how to find out if it was sell-able idea? They set a goal of making and extra $1k in a month. They wrote a list of 5 ideas, chose the top 3 and then chose the top 1 – selling jerky. Everyone likes jerky, right? Now, I said sell jerky, not make jerky. And they didn’t have a supplier yet, but that is a detail that doesn’t need to be worked out.
What did need to be worked out? Whether it would sell. They decided on a monthly subscription where you get a months worth delivered at a time, rather than selling by the packet. And over the next 30 days they went out and sold it with no website. How? By using their connections and friends and family members. People they already knew.
Now, here was the interesting part. To get people to say they were interested it wasn’t them saying ‘yes, I’m interested’ or raising their hands. It was people transferring money into PayPal or bank account. Literally buying the product. This is how you validate an idea.
How do you Validate an Idea as Sellable?
By selling it.
Did I just scare you? Stay with me … Think of it, like getting pre-orders.
A new clothing company is coming on the market and they aren’t sure whether to sell t-shirts, dresses or leggings. They don’t know how many will sell of what size and design. By getting some great photos and asking for pre-orders to secure their order, they start to get an idea of what will sell the best and how much to order.
Same as creating a new product or service. Instead of spending time trial and testing, writing that book or course or tutorial or getting a whole new website page and back end working, and making no sales.
That will be a waste of time and money.
Instead, go ask people if they would order it. And get them to order it. Kind of simplicity in its genius-ness.
Case Study #1 – The eCourse that sold 38 spots and $2000 in sales with no sales page and has since made me over $10,000.
When I first read about this idea, I had wanted for nearly 2 years to write and sell an eCourse (30 days / 30 emails on how to start a cake business).
But I wasn’t sure it would sell and didn’t want to spend time on the back end of the website to sell it (and spend the $ money on a VA to help) if I wasn’t sure it would sell.
So, I decided to straight up ask people. I emailed my subscriber list about 1500 people and asked them would they like to book a spot on the course. With a series of 5 different email over 1.5-2 weeks, explaining in different ways what the course was about and asking for sign up.
It was a ‘live’ course starting on a particular date and they had to sign up to grab their spot, for a discounted rate.
All they had to do was reply to the email with the words ‘I’m interested’. I did not put the price in the email (or Facebook messages or texts). I just told them about the course, the results – in 30 days their cake business is up and running – and asked would they like to book a spot.
When people replied, I thanked them and said the only way to secure their spot on the course was by transferring money into my bank account or PayPal account by a certain date.
I priced the course at $97, and discounted down to $57 for Round #1.
I sold 38 spots.
Imagine selling something before even creating it…
Which is exactly what I had to do next. I hadn’t ‘written’ the course. I did have content, recipe’s, information (in my head and on my computer) but not in a 30 day eCourse format.
So, the day before Day #1 of the course started, I wrote Day #1’s content. The next day I got Day #2 done and did every day, that the whole 30 days.
That’s the kicker… it made me get that course DONE. Instead of taking me months (or even years!) to write, I got it done in 30 days.
I got feedback and testimonial.
I ran a 2nd round. And 3rd round. And then added the eCourse for sale on my website. Because I knew it was a sellable product. Not the other way around.
Related article: How to Start Email Newsletter & Make Money Through Emails
Case Study #2 – Mini eBook bundle that I doubled my price on because I sold the most popular!
A couple of months later I had ideas for mini eBooks on different topics and didn’t know what would sell. I wrote down a list of 10 book topics in 10 minutes. I chose my top 5 favourite and narrowed down to top 3.
I went straight to the people and asked them. I said I have these 3 book ideas, with titles and descriptions and said which will you pay for? At that stage I was thinking less than $10 per book. When people started replying I found that 1 book was the most popular (over 60% wanted it) so I bundled the 3 together with the #1 most popular at $17.95 and added the other 2 mini eBooks as free bonuses.
That day I sold 17 copies.
Again, this is with no sales page, no Facebook advertising and the books were not written.
That weekend, I wrote, edited and created the graphics for those 3 books and delivered on that promise. And then those books were written (done) and now for sale on my website.
Here are the steps to know you have a great (sell-able) product.
8 Steps to Validating Your Idea Is Sellable
Yep, straight up ask peeps if they would purchase.
Email, text, phone, Facebook message, Linkedin message, Facebook groups. Wherever your target market are ‘hanging out’, ask for their advice and feedback.
You can’t sell a secret.
2. Write some ‘sales copy’.
Sales copy is the ‘persuasive language’ of what your product is. A little bit of a title or description, the benefits, results expected, guarantee, ROI and what value you will receive from it.
Check out other peoples sales copy for ideas, inspiration and model from it (model, not copy).
3. Give a deadline or sense of urgency.
Us human beings love making decisions at the last minute.
That is pretty normal human behaviour. So, tell them this new product/service you are offering at an ‘early bird special’ or ‘pre-orders’ end at a date and time.
Send a final 24 hours reminder.
4. Make it scarce.
Again, we love something other people don’t have.
By saying that you can only take a limited amount of people along for the ‘you-beaut’ deal, makes peeps want it more.
5. Contact several times
Send out a series of (at least) 5 emails/texts/FB messages/phone calls reminding people of the offer and the deadline. Change the sales copy (words) around to see what people respond to more positively.
The sale is in the follow up.
It’s not our customers job to follow up with us.
6. Give a call to action.
People need simple action steps. Give them the direct one (1) next action step they need to do to get your goodies.
So, it could be ‘hit reply to this email and write I’m interested’ OR ‘click this yellow Add to Cart button below’ OR ‘book in your free 20 minute consultation below’ OR ‘comment below for more details’.
This is giving people the change to ‘put up their hand’ with no confusion about what the next step is. Because we all know confusion leads to indecision.
7. Ask for payment. Seriously.
This is the kicker. Before creating the new product or service. Before writing and putting together a new website page. Before writing the book or course or tutorial. Before creating that content.
You sell it.
Ask for the sale, giving an exclusive deal (being a discount or bonus or special) and ask for money to be transferred into your bank or PayPal account. This is the difference between people who aren’t willing to hand over money vs. people who do value your idea.
And there will always be people who say ‘yes’ with putting their hands up but don’t say ‘yes’ with their wallets. We want the customers who say yes with their moolah, don’t we?
8. Fill those orders!
This is where you fill the delivery of your promised idea.
In a timely manner, you follow through with what they have purchased. Book in that new cake order, write that book and email out, start writing that course or tutorial, fulfil on those bonuses.
Essentially you create the content last. When you know it is sellable, because you have money in the bank.
What if it doesn’t sell?
If you don’t get the sales and just hear crickets… Then refund peoples money ASAP.
You have learnt a valuable lesson that that idea isn’t sell-able. Yay, you to life lessons!
It could also mean your Sales Copy need tweaking/changing or different price point or more follow up is required. I’m happy to help.
Final Notes on Validating an Idea
Validating an idea is what I have been consciously doing that last 3 years in business, but you know what, probably been doing the entire time.
I only create what sells.
So, if you want to sell it, ask people to purchase (& put money into the bank).
By wanting to sell something, straight up ask people if they want it, that if they honestly love it and want it – to order it.
The money in the bank is the smart bit, as it is an exchange of energy. It is your actual target market. Of people opinion who matters.
So, I would love to hear from you.
Do you have a product, service or package that you have been thinking about selling?
How could ‘Validating the Idea’ work for you? Comment below, I would love to hear from you.
THERE'S MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM!
Get more juicy + delicious inspiration and advice with occasional emails (plus virtual cupcakes), free tutorials, business tips, some promotional emails with products & services and my $ income reports AND how I earn over $7000 per month from my blog!