Wrote this piece back in 2014, when I was toying around with an idea for Zomato/Yelp for gyms. An idea I had been working on since high school. Probably my first entry to a startup competition (I still have the video pitch I made). The video, however, was not as embarrassing as going to talk to gym owners in my locality when I had never even entered a gym before. Probably my first taste of offline sales.
The piece, that came out from an after college conversation in the park, is undoubtedly close to my heart. This post getting thousands of views and some chatter on twitter was probably the best thing that came out of that idea. My post popular piece on Medium till date, surprising how many learnings still stand true.
Expansive greenery in the view, a cold evening in a beautiful park, the sun slowly moving down the horizon and the love of your life sitting next to you looking right into your eyes. When it happens, when you really look into her big, round, beautiful eyes and the world comes to a halt, you become speechless, but you have to break the silence, maybe you can say something about her beautiful eyes or something romantic but when you are a startup person with a product idea roaming in your mind for months, the best you can manage is “Hey! Remember I told you about a product I have been working on, would you like to check it out?”
She sees the glimmer in your eyes, that spark, and even though that’s not the most romantic line in the world but still she smiles and accepts your offer because :
I was too nervous before pitching my first client (gym owners), so recently I discussed my product with my girlfriend and I must confess I gained way more than I expected. Here are a few insights I gained-
Do you have clarity about your product?
I remember after having shown her 5 slides about the product, she asked me a very basic question “So exactly what your product is about?” Sometimes we are so lost in talking about stuff that is not directly related to our product that we forget that our clients have limited time and attention and must be fed with essential information about the product as early as possible. You also gain an insight about how well informed and clear you are about your product and how well you are able to translate that information.
Your clients may not be as technical as you are
My girlfriend had no idea about Google Adsense or how easy it is to put up an ad on your site. When you will discuss about your product with clients they are going to say something that will make you feel “Oh goodness! How can you not know that?” But wait! Don’t get into an argument, avoid when possible or simply smile when the argument is not going to help you sell your product. Keep technical jargon to minimum.
Notice what amazes her the most
While giving her a brief of all the features, I remember there were a few features that made her smile, that left an expression of amazement on her face. Keep a tab on those features, these are the features that she actually finds different or better from what’s already available in the market. Emphasizing on such features while pitching your product will do you more good than harm.
Some really serious issues will be raised
“So you have a great product with great features, clients are going to love it but how exactly you plan to promote/market it because your bigger competitors have T.V commercials too.’ This question raised an issue that I have been taking too lightly, thinking of it as something that I thought will be taken care of easily or later but I realized that I require to put much more efforts in this department.
Users hate ads
I can’t think of any better way to explain this but the thing that left the biggest smile on her face was the fact that I don’t plan to put any advertisements on the website, no popups, no banner ads ( even though it’s a local business search engine).
Don’t use the world ‘Revolution’ or ‘Revolutionary’ for your product
Revolution is an over used word, almost abused, because people use it for things that are not even close to to revolutionary, when I used it for my product she giggled, a giggle that meant “Hehe, okay your product is good but using the word ‘revolution’ is simply an exaggeration.
Sometimes the best of advices can come from places where you least expect them from. I believe it’s a pretty good activity to talk about your products and ideas with the person you share your life with. And if you are single then talk to your best friend about your product or your favourite person, you will able to clear a lot of confusion and gain useful insights.