I spoke to a new mentee about launching a new product on the phone yesterday during an impromptu call while I waited for the kettle to boil.
And it got me thinking about something we could all be reminded of.
But before I do that, I need to give you some context.
Way back in 2009, a young Taylor Swift announced she was coming to Australia.
While her early stuff wasn’t my jam (I got into her about three years later with that Trouble song… that is still catchy as hell, and I’m listening to it on repeat as I write this), the tickets sold out in 3 minutes. Teeny girls went mad for it, which is fair enough. She was like Avril Lavigne but less Skater boy, which worked perfectly for the era.
Selling out the Australian tour in minutes was no surprise to her publicist because she’d already sold 15 events in the US in the same fashion. Her success in Australia was guaranteed, and it grossed her a tonne of moola.
So what does this have to do with launching a new product?
Well, all these teeny boppers bought tickets for an event well into the future. And they paid a premium for it. Every single one was paid up, in full, in advance.
These tickets were pre-sold.
The movies do it this way, and so do sports events.
Yet when we launch something new, most of us cower away in darkness deep in the basement, building a product that hasn’t even proved itself to be valuable to the market yet.
We invest hundreds of hours not even knowing if it’ll work.
It sounds crazy, yet it’s almost always done this way.
I reckon it’s for two reasons:
One, because (almost) everyone does it this way, we think it’s the only option.
But as I’ve spoken about before, conventional wisdom is often wrong.
And the second? (And probably the more important one)
What if you launch and sell something you can’t finish on time?
What if you miss your deadline?
What if the customer gets mad and reports you to FairTrading for frawrrdd?
These ‘what ifs’ spin harder than your clothes dryer on full pelt and suck out any of the juice of pre-selling leaving a withered product in its wake that is lucky to even break even for your time.
So what’s the juice? What are you missing out on?
There are three big things.
1) Preselling makes you do the goddamn thing.
How often have you had a great idea for something new but never actioned it because you don’t have a gun to your head? Exactly. It happens all the time.
You have skin in the game when you sell the product before it’s built. It wasn’t until we actually started selling our ACL Mentorship did we actually get our ducks in a row to build the damned thing.
2) Preselling funds the effort.
Perhaps one of the best advantages of pre-selling is the capital raising part. You get to make money, which justifies all your hard work and effort. This way, you know it’s worth building a product that will blow people away. We did this with the CIP and got all the market confirmation we’d ever need — 48 tickets at 2.5k a ticket were sold before a single slide was made.
3) Preselling tells you what to make the product about.
When you sell something, you find out what people want, need and desire because if you follow my advice, you sell prescriptively anyway. You then take that and put that in your course. I pumped up the launch of the Alley-Oop for months and got 50 people to join an early-bird before I’d even written my first word…
But for all the sceptics… you might be thinking that this is risky. Well, you’re dead right; it isn’t all butterflies and rainbows.
Because yes, there is a chance you will ship your product late. The solution? You can let your customers know you’re delayed by a week or two. I did this just last week with my beta group for a new product I’m testing — and no surprise, no one is coming for me. We’re all still mates.
Your customers/clients are not monsters.
Plus, for products that extend for weeks or months, you only need to be 1-2 weeks ahead of the delivery date. You can build and deliver at the same time.
So if you’re thinking about launching something new, I’d market the thing before I make the thing.
Contrary? No doubt.
But if you are thinking of a new product that’s been stewing for months (or years), but you’ve never got around to launching it, this might be the kick up the pants you need.
And while we’re at it, if you want to join the Alley-Oop and subscribe to a newsletter that won’t ship until December 1 and I haven’t even started writing yet, you can do that here:
Stay outta Trouble.
– Karl Goodman