5 ways not to pitch your product
I love how people are pitching me their product. But please, actually pitch YOUR PRODUCT!!1
Ever since I discovered Product Hunt and began to actively hunt for cool new stuff, people have been pitching me their products. After successfully launching Startup Stash and actually joining Product Hunt, this has increased significantly.
That’s ok, and fun, because I live for this sh*t. Discovering and trying out new products has always been a great part of my (online) life, and I love providing early feedback to makers.
I get stuff like this:
“Our mobile app is available on the Google Play Store. The app itself is unique as it’s made to bridge the gap between demand and supply. We truly believe that it’ll change the way businesses and consumers connect — more importantly, it’ll take ‘Search’ to a whole new level.“
Pitching anyone your product should be short and clear. The example above is one of many I get which are too vague and not telling me anything about the product!
Here are 5 ways not to pitch your product
1. “We’re unique”
This doesn’t say anything about your product. Unique compared to who/what?
Sorry to break it to you but you’re probably not unique. Which is OK, if you can execute like crazy and move fast.
2. “We’re Uber/Airbnb/Wordpress for XYZ”
Nice (overused) analogy, but you’re taking away your own shine and giving it to $Billion dollar companies, plus you’re still not saying anything about your product. Also, Uber is not an example of the sharing economy people.
3. “We’re going to change the world/search/mobile/blogging/etc.”
It’s awesome if you’re confident about your product, but this doesn’t say anything, except for maybe the vertical you’re in. Making an unsupported claim like this if you’re early-stage sounds way too cocky. Be humble and show some humility, you never know how/if the person you’re pitching can help you go forward.
4. “We’ve been working on this for 4yrs and think it is awesome”
I understand your product is your baby. But again, stuff like this doesn’t say anything about the product itself. This basically falls in the same category as saying your site crashed because of your amazing launch… while it simply means you got shitty hosting. Oops.
5. “Numerous people have said they like it”
God, please no, stop the madness! You’re trying to get feedback from someone you find knowledgeable (and me, lol), but this is not an argument. Especially if you’re going to change the world like you said before, there’s no substance in this statement. And shockingly, it doesn’t say anything about the product either.
If you believe that your product is solving a real problem and you want the whole world to know about, you also need a tagline/pay-off line right? Well, don’t use any of these meaningless ones please:
- “A new way to connect” → Connect who/what/where?
- “Collect, Collaborate, Share, Inspire” → With photos/music/videos/blogs/books/crafts/what?
- “Messaging just got easier” → Easier than what?/On mobile or web?/How?
Yes, I have had these in my inbox.
So, what should you say?
It’s actually pretty simple. Keep it short and concise:
- First off, show enthusiasm and make your pitch personal!
- Tell about the problem you’re solving
- Show your solution
- Show early results if you have them
- Why are you the man/woman/team that’s going to take this to the moon?
- How can I help you? Asking for specific feedback is also good. It’s difficult to help when your question is simply: “what do you think?”
I didn’t write this post to bitch about some of the bad stuff I’m getting in my inbox, but to encourage makers to think about how they pitch their product. It’s so important and often overlooked/mistreated by tunnel vision and misplaced “arrogance”. Being humble and personal can get you a long way, I’ve experienced that personally. Do work!
I encourage anyone to listen to this part from Alex Blumberg’s “StartUp Podcast”. Here he pitches billionaire investor Chris Sacca, screws up, Sacca turns it around and pitches Alex his own product. It’s amazing.
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