5 Tips To Test An Underperforming Product Or Service

I recently wrote a post on making free offers – extending your product or service to new customers for free. One of the tips I gave is if you make a free offer and no one takes you up on it, you likely don’t have a compelling product or service. Yes, there are times when you can’t give it away. If you find your free offer is routinely rejected, you’re facing a situation where you’ve either failed to make the case for the product or service…or your product and service has no market.The last part of my statement is a fairly common occurrence. I’m seen start-up, early stage, and mature businesses that have no real offer; they have a product or service that truly has no market. Or such a small market they can’t possibly make a business of it. Yes, their product works. Yes, they have invested a lot of time and energy in the development. And yes, in some cases they’ve secured outside money. But the reality, evidenced by their continual lack of success, is there is no market for what they have to offer.

If your product or service has a history of under performing in the marketplace, here are five things you can do to determine if the dog hunts or you need to scrap your current offering and get a new one:

1. Offer it for free. If you can’t give it away, you likely can’t sell it. Take a prospect and offer to make them a customer using a trial of some sort with absolutely no risk whatsoever to them. Ask them to give a testimonial or endorsement if they are satisfied after an agreed period of time.

2. Change markets. If you can’t sell it in the market you’re in, move it to another market. Try a new prospect and see if your results and feedback change.

3. Change your position. If you market your offering as one thing, change your position and market it as another. For example, instead of marketing your offering as a money saving solution, market it as a money making one.

4. Find a partner. Sometimes you have a really great product that’s half of a real solution. Seek a partner whose offering you can compliment or enhance with yours. Having a partner is better than having no customers.

5. Reconfigure it. Similar to repositioning your offering, maybe you’re better off stripping it down and selling it as something different than you do today. For instance, maybe you have a business management solution that isn’t selling, but an accounting module finds some interest. In this case, strip everything away but the accounting piece and sell it as a financial reporting tool.

There’s five tips to get your started. What would you add to my list?

David Lee

David Lee

David is a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and investor. He has built and exited successful businesses and is now focused on investing. He holds a master's in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley.