I just finished the book titled Customer Development for Entrepreneurs: How to Test Startup Ideas and Build Products People Love by Mike Fishbein. The book is short, which I like, and is setup more like a step-by-step guidebook for testing the marketplace. Fishbein mentions that his book is a compliment to The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
I would recommend this book for any budding entrepreneur and even seasoned business development professionals. I’ve spent seven years helping inventors take their products or business ideas from concept to sale. But seven years ago, platforms like crowdfunding and access to information and contacts were just not available like they are today. So I find this book to be incredibly accurate and up-to-date in the examples of ways to find customers.
I like how Fishbein gives examples of email templates to engage with potential customers. Here are just a few tactics he mentions to use in those emails:
1. Yes or no answers are good when you are closing a sale, but not in the development stages. In the development stages, allow for open-ended questions from your potential buyer to get ideas about features.
2. Always ask for referrals.
3. You can say you’re helping out a friend rather than saying it is your own idea. The person who is offering advice might give you a more direct opinion because they don't think they are talking to the person who invented it.
4. Ask for $1. You will get different reactions from people when they have to ante up.