Why You Should Sell Something Before It Exists

by : MarkSilver

One of the members of The Business Oasis was struggling with getting her first book written. We gave her all kinds of helpful support around it, ('it really helped!' she told us). And then came the suggestion with the biggest 'fear' factor:

"Why don't you pre-sell your book to your customers before you're finished?"

I don't know if you've noticed, but there seems to be an awfully loooooooong lag time between thinking of a new offer, creating the offer, and then finally having it in your grateful customers' hands. Most major corporations take, on average, 18 months to think of a new product and get it out into the marketplace.

But it takes most small business owners between 30 and 40 years.

Well, okay, not really. But it can sure seem that way. How long have you had that great idea for a CD or a book, or some other product that would be perfect to meet your customer's needs? And, realistically, how long would the actual work take to create it?

When I was writing my book, it took me four months of dithering before I finally got down to work. Four months after that, the book was written. And, pre-selling it part-way through that second four months took away all the dithering time. And I still pinch myself sometimes: I was able to get so much of what has helped me into my book, and now I hear every day, from people all over the world, how much it's helped them, too.

Pre-selling your product is about commitment.

Your product is always primarily for your customer, to support them- because if it doesn't support them, you won't get supported either (I mean no one will buy it).

Preselling means that you are making a commitment to them, not just to yourself. Making a commitment to yourself to finish a product is about you. Making a commitment to your customer to finish something that will help them is about being in service.

Of course it's scary to pre-sell. Any time we make a commitment like this it means giving up some piece of ourselves to take part in a larger wholeness. Life is about finding the sincerity to face that fear, and surrendering into a larger reality, the larger connection, again and again.

It's kinda funny to think about it, but pre-selling is a spiritual practice in surrender and connection.

Plus, the cash flow is nice, too. People are happy to buy at a pre-launch price. And especially if you put in late nights on deadline. SOMEbody has got to pay for those take-out dinners while you're working. ;)

At what point do you pre-sell? And what happens if you miss your deadline- will your customers storm your castle with pitchforks and torches?

Keys to Pre-Selling

Open shop one month out.

I've found that for me, and many, many other people, getting a sloppy rough draft of something is relatively easy to do. You can sketch out ideas, mind-map, get the whole product conceived of. It's getting it into a final, polished, ready-for-sale form where the stagnation sets in.

I pre-sell products one month before their release date. This ensures that I'll spend a month getting it really done. When you receive your first order, and you realize that Mr. John Q Somebody is now waiting for your product, suddenly there is a zip in your step, and the cleaning up and polishing happens a lot more readily.

What if you miss your deadline?

It happened to me. I was all ready to release my book, and my editors told me, in no uncertain terms, 'There is no WAY you are releasing this book. It needs more work." I just told those who had pre-bought what happened, and I received the nicest responses. I kept people up-to-date on my progress every couple of weeks until I finished. And I happily continued pre-selling until it was done.

When not to pre-sell.

Never. When you sell a service, it's always sold in advance of the start time, right? For a class or a project the agreement to buy HAS to happen before the start time, because you won't be taking checks in the middle of your presentation.

Your customers, and the world, are waiting for your contribution. Stop trying to make a commitment to yourself alone, and make a sincere commitment to the people you are wanting to help- and pre-sell.