December 5, 2019

How do you sell a product that doesn't exist yet?

Ryan Carson & Rob Di Giovanni


Ammo Marketing caught up with Cordially App founders Ryan & Rob. Cordially is changing rental inspections for the better. In this podcast, we focused on a common occurrence for startups; how to sell a product that doesn't exist yet.


Remote rental inspection app designed to allow renters to collect photos for their routine rental inspection and share them with their property manager. The property manager is then able to share an automatically generated report with the owner and tenant, saving them up to 50% of their time


Low level of transparency in the rental industry between owner and property manager and tenant


Property managers (primary), tenants and owners (users)


(8:00) – There is hope for non-technical founders: Airtable and Typeform are two no-code options that can be used to build an early MVP, and there are many others. Makerpad is a fantastic platform for no-and-low-code tutorials

(12:10) - Building an early prototype/MVP is critical to validating your assumptions and gaining insight into whether customers will use/buy your product

(13:50) - Pirate metrics allow you to map out a customer journey and determine the channels/strategies that can scale your business effectively

(18:10) - A core part of B2B SaaS sales is building trust and relationships with potential customers. This makes in person / real world events (e.g., Industry conference) an extremely valuable acquisition method compared to traditional digital channels

This is particularly the case in the beginning of a start-up’s life. Paul Graham wrote a famous essay called Do Things That Don’t Scale where he illustrates famous examples of companies such as Airbnb hustling to their first customers through unscalable tactics like door-to-door sales

It’s important to generate momentum and onboard early customers in whatever way possible in a start-up’s infancy. Using the knowledge from early sales, a start-up can generate new, more scalable methods of customer acquisition

(21:50) - Google Ads can provide insight into whether customers are proactively searching for solutions to the problem you’re attempting to solve, and hence can be used to help validate your business or MVP

(22:17) - A core principle of the activation step is providing value before you ask the customer to buy your product. Gary Vaynerchuck speaks about this concept in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

Some ways to do this can include:

1) Providing a free trial of the product

2) Providing a valuable free guide to the customer

3) Providing a free demonstration of the customer

Secondary principles include, 1) making potential customers see value in your product as quickly as possible, 2) reducing the friction for the customer to start using your product, and 3) showing potential customers you care about the problem deeply

(26:29) - The retention phase of the customer journey is focused on guiding the customer towards becoming a paying customer once you’ve received permission to communicate with them (via free trial, email form submission, demo, etc.)

Remarketing and content marketing (email marketing) are effective tools for this stage

(31:02) - Revenue is concerned with how people start paying you and the tactics you can use to make this as simple as possible

(33:02) – Referral feeds the top of your funnel (acquisition) and turns your existing customers into your champions

(37:00) – Common mock-up tools: Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch

Show & Tell


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