Also called: Slide Deck Pitch
See also: Sell the Future
Relevant metrics: Acquisition, Customer Feedback
Validates: Viability, Desirability
How: Describe exactly what your product is going to do by pitching it to potential customers. At the end of the pitch, 'validate' your idea by asking: 'So would that solve your problem?'
Why: Understanding an abstract concept just explained is hard, telling if it can solve an actual problem is harder, and telling whether you would honestly pay money for the solution is near impossible. You can't ask customers to predict their own future needs. In terms of validating, customers need to show their interest through actions, not through telling it. Beware of false positive results.
This experiment is part of the Validation Patterns printed card deck
A collection of 60 product experiments that will validate your idea in a matter of days, not months. They are regularly used by product builders at companies like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Amazon.Get your deck!
Before the experiment
The first thing to do when planning any kind of test or experiment, is to figure out what you want to test. To make critical assumptions explicit, fill out an experiment sheet as you prepare your test. We created a sample sheet for you to get started. Download the Experiment Sheet.
When a sales pitch is not product validation
When you as an entrepreneur excitedly describe exactly what problems your magic wand of a product will help customers solve, it often ends with the potential customers eyes dropping as they are about to fall asleep. Once you are done explaining everything that your product can do, it is wrong to assume that asking “Would that solve your problem” will be anywhere near product validation.
Even though the potential customers you dragged through your pitch would probably agree to anything just to get you to stop, this is still the worst thing you can do if validation is your goal.
It is practically impossible for anybody to tell you whether an abstract concept only explained in words will help solve a problem they have. Even if they could understand your abstractions, they would have no way of honestly providing you with an answer whether they would be willing to pay money for your fictitional product.
People can’t predict what they will do in the future. People are generally bad at predicting what they want, but good at reacting to things that already exist.
From the point in time where you present your abstract fictitional solution to customers, their minds are forever polluted by your idea. From that point on, they can only answer your questions from your perspective, not their own. That is the perspective of the solution you proposed.
Turn your pitch into customer discovery
Instead, turn your pitch into a customer discovery interview. Ask potential customers about how they are solving their problems today and only in the very end of the interview present your potential solution, briefly.
After the experiment
To make sure you move forward, it is a good idea to systematically record your the insights you learned and what actions or decisions follow. We created a sample Learning Sheet, that will help you capture insights in the process of turning your product ideas successful. Download the Learning Sheet.
- UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein by Laura Klein
- The Real Startup book - Sales Pitch Smoke Test by Tristan Kromer, et. al.