On one hand, selling “air” is not an easy task. On the other hand, a “first-class pure snow pile” is very difficult to sell, especially to the inhabitants of the Arctic.
From the perspective of benefits, it is better to “sell” first, especially if you can immediately get some working capital, and only then look for or manufacture a product. But you still have to close the deal, and if there is a shortage of goods or the complete absence of components instead of profit, you can get penalties.
If your product is something new and unique, but at the same time consumers do not believe that such a thing is possible “without touching it with their hands”, you will most likely have to create a test batch before the start of sales.
But if your product is a service or an online service, then “pre-sales” help determine which parts of the solution are most in demand by customers and which of them are willing to pay. Based on this information, you can immediately focus on creating the required product elements, and not guess the user’s needs by “poking a finger into the sky”.
There are proven business methods: Customer Development, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Lean Startup, and more. All of them are focused on identifying customer needs, followed by a series of short experiments, to confirm or refute hypothesis. This approach allows in a short time (3-12 months) to create a solution that meets the needs of the market, which is actually used, and for which people actually pay.
- If you can sell without a product, you should sell.
- If you are not believable without a product, you need to create its demo examples.
- If the product is not fully defined, pre-sales can help navigate the needs of the market.