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The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets by Eric Ries, Patrick Vlaskovits, Brant Cooper

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Innovate the Funnel

A startup’s job is to learn, not execute. As you learn your market, new best practices reveal themselves, and they may or may not jibe with what the experts say.

One way to think this through at the beginning of your startup endeavor is to forget marketing completely. Think only of learning how to sell.

Recall the Concierge method of viability testing. Practitioners deliver their value proposition by hand, before building any product, in order to see if anyone cares. They then automate the parts of delivering that value that can be automated, continuously testing that the product delivers necessary value.

Use the Concierge method to learn how to sell, too.

Again, forget about the Internet for the moment. Sell your product in person. When Eric Ries and the IMVU team brought users in to test an early version of their product, they learned much more than that their product was all wrong. When a teenage girl refused to share IMVU with friends, because in her words “What if this isn’t cool?” they learned a powerful marketing message. Growth through referrals was going to be impossible if the product wasn’t cool. Cool, as ambiguous as that may seem, was critical to closing the deal.2

Selling in person instructs you about what is needed to close a deal, what objections must be overcome. What you do and say evokes a response that provides you indications about whether you’re on the right track and what emotional state you need to evoke next.

The parts of the selling ...

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