• Jan Schulte

How you sell a product you don't have yet

You're meeting with a prospect to discover if they could become a customer for your business.

As the conversation progresses, it becomes clear that they need your SaaS product to talk to one of their tools (Think SalesForce or their Email Marketing Software). Currently, your product does not have support for that. Is your initial thought "Awh, I don't have that, seems I won't sell anything"? Read on.

Instead of ending the conversation, ask how important this integration is. They reply that it is critical to their success.

Why is it critical? Why do they need this data in that other system? What drives this requirement?

After you've gathered as much information as possible, tell them that at the moment this particular integration is not there yet but you'd be happy to build it for them.

But why should the prospect say yes? It'll require additional investment and it'll take additional time.

Let's explore this.

You should be clear that this will increase the overall spend. But is it a cost? No. It is an investment.

When you take a step back, the prospect put emphasis on the fact that this integration is critical for the deal, but also for their overall internal workflow. They want to save time and money in their business processes. Both are resources they can spend elsewhere to get ahead of their competition.

So, when you charge extra for custom development work, you enable them to decrease spend and save time. Therefore, it's not a cost but an investment. The money they spend right now will come back in over the next few months and years.

Since you need to have your software developer(s) work on this, it'll take some time before this integration will be available. Why should the prospect wait though? Here's why: They will have direct input on the feature, how it'll work and they can make sure that it's fitting well into their overall workflow. Usually, as a regular customer, you don't have this kind of access. It is a privilege.

When the prospect agrees to collaborate on this with you, make sure that you meet again with them to discuss the scope of this unit of work, as well as the timeframe. It's important to keep them in the loop with status updates, as well as beta versions they can test.

So, can you sell a feature you don't have yet? Yes. Explore the prospect's requirements, communicate that you don't have it yet but that you're excited to collaborate with them on it to make this happen.

What kind of products or features have you sold before you had them? What was different for you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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