Trends #0044 — Presales

A 'for sale' sign

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🔍 Problem

You waste time, money and effort by building before selling.

💡 Solution

Validate demand first.

Presell to learn faster, save time and money.

🏁 Players

Presale Types

  • Ads
  • Cars
  • SaaS
  • Books
  • Homes

Examples

Tools

🔮 Predictions

  • Presales will become a common alternative funding strategy. Tesla received $10 billion in Model 3 preorders in two days. A $250 million zero-interest “loan.”
  • Secondary markets will form around experiences. Tock lets you buy reservations. We trade concert tickets. Are reservations next?

☁️ Opportunities

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Use presales reduce market risk.
  • Make more bets. You can validate ten ideas in the time that it takes you to build and validate one.
  • Presales are a forcing function. You have to define the problem, your value proposition and think about distribution early. Frontloading market risk.

😠 Haters

“Building before selling can work.”
You can win the lottery with a negative expected return. Play this game long enough and you’ll go broke. Don’t result.

“Fake door testing is unethical.”
Don’t do it if you think so. But understand the trade offs.

“Preselling to raise funds is risky.”
It can be. How wide is your scope? How much execution risk do you have?

“What about waitlists?”
These are not presales.

“Someone’s going to steal my idea.”
Zero to One rarely happens. One to N is more common. Focus on execution.

“You can still fail with presales.”
Yes you can. Reduced risk doesn’t mean no risk.

“What if my offer changes?”
It will and should. Especially if you co-build with customers.

“I need an audience to presell.”
It helps but isn’t required. See Kettle and Fire.

“What if I miss my deadline?”
Control your scope and build in public to boost empathy and reduce surprises.

🔗 Links

  1. How I Validated My Idea for Kettle & Fire • How to presell without an audience.
  2. 50+ eBook pre-sales ($383 made) • Nico combined A/B tests and presales.
  3. Lessons and Regrets from My $25000 Launch • The numbers and timeline behind a 5-figure book launch.

Thanks to Daniel Wulf (Wurst Circle), Chris Carella (Urban Abstract), Janel Loi (Newsletter OS), Shawn Wang (swyx.io), Frances Matthews (The Notion Bar), Nicolás Cerdeira (Failory), Ryan Lamvik (Lamvik Consulting), Jeremy Abraham (Spiffy), Sam Yaz, Gene (Swipe), Logan Johnson, Alec Ellin (Laylo), Jose Bermejo (Startup Builder), Ime Essien (HBCUvc) and Sateesh (MagicFlow). We had a great time jamming on this report.

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What you’ll get:

  • 14 Types of Presales (180% More)
  • 31 Examples (210% More)
  • 12 Tools for Presales (300% More)
  • 4 Predictions (100% More)
  • 10 Opportunities (233% More)
  • 6 Key Lessons (100% More)
  • 10 Summarized Links (233% More)

With Trends Pro you’ll learn:

  • (📈 Pro) How to presell a SaaS app?
  • (📈 Pro) How to presell podcast sponsorships?
  • (📈 Pro) Which creator earned $140,000+ before her course launched?
  • (📈 Pro) How to avoid false negatives?
  • (📈 Pro) Which company presold annual subscriptions with a screenshot and no app?
  • (📈 Pro) How is the fashion industry leveraging presales?
  • (📈 Pro) How to reduce shipment delays?
  • and a lot more…