Six Ways to Get Fast Feedback
How do you test market a product or service? How do you find out if people are actually going to buy it? First, make or get a prototype. Create or get a sample. If it’s being manufactured somewhere else, get a sample of it. If you’re going to manufacture it yourself, create a prototype so that you can show it, demonstrate it, photograph it. So that you can let people see it, touch it, feel it, and get an opinion from it.
Show it to Potential Buyers
When we brought the Suzuki 4-wheel drive vehicles into North America, we bought three of them. We brought them in and drove them around to about 20 or 30 dealerships and let people look at them, test drive them, see them, touch them, smell them, feel them. And went on to sell thousands and thousands of vehicles. So get a prototype or a sample. That’s the starting point.
Determine the Correct Prices
Second is get accurate prices and delivery dates from your suppliers. If you’re going to show the prototype or sample, if a person says how much is it, or how long will it take to get it, be sure that you have the answers.
Ask a Buyer
Number three is get a buyer’s personal opinion. In other words, go to somebody who you will want to buy the product or service and get their personal opinion. Say, would you buy this? And at what price could you sell it? And always call on the individual who makes the buying decisions. Always call on the person who can sign the check.
Compare Your Product With Others
Number four, compare your product or service with other products on the market. And be sure to ask this question, “Why would someone buy from you instead of from someone else?” Number five, if it’s a retail product, try a 1-store test. Go and see if you can’t find a store who will carry the product on a limited basis and see how customers respond to it. Try a 1-customer test. If it’s a product or service, try to find one customer who will use the product or service.
Start With a Great Idea
Now Ross Perot, when he started EDP Industries, only had a thousand dollars. He had a great idea that would cost an enormous amount of money to implement, and he was able to sell his first customer on paying him in advance for the services that he was going to sell them. With the money that he got in advance, he was able to deliver the services, to prove that they worked and that they were cost effective. And the rest is history. Ross Perot went on to build one of the most successful businesses in America.
Take it to a Trade Show
A sixth way to test market a product or service is take it to a trade show. There are 15,000 trade shows per annum all over the country. Sophisticated buyers go to trade shows and they will tell you rapidly whether or not you have a winner.
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into practice.
First, get a sample or prototype of your product or service and show it to as many people as possible, especially to potential buyers. This will give you fast feedback that can be very helpful to you.
Second, look at all of the other competing products or services on the market and be very clear why someone would buy from you rather than continuing to buy from someone else. This can be the most important question you ask and answer.