Larval Buyers

When a new enterprise decides on the market they're going for - one that might be small right now but crucially exists, and will be growable - startup accelerator Paul Graham recently termed this in one of his essays, the 'larval market'.

Here's the key part I often wish salesteams being given a new product to sell were involved with from the (pre-)off;

There have to be some people who want what you're building right now, and want it so urgently that they're willing to use it, bugs and all, even though you're a small company they've never heard of.
There don't have to be many, but there have to be some.
As long as you have some users, there are straightforward ways to get more: build new features they want, seek out more people like them, get them to refer you to their friends, and so on.
But these techniques all require some initial seed group of users.

I've spent ages down the years introducing sales leaders to what is referred to here as the "initial seed group of users".

I use distinct terms for them. Most know of α and β ones (alpha & beta customers, to which you can happily make your own by adding other Greek letters).

But I find the eyes truly widen when thinking of other types; index, footprint, lighthouse, anchor.

Identifying, finding and so knowing who your first clients are I totally agree is foundational.

Here's another phrase from later on;

"... the sort of early adopters a successful startup wants as its initial users are the hardest to fool."

So we've a trait of a larval buyer right there.

I can imagine mentioning this to one of them.

'Anyone looking for change here will be likely have tried plenty of ways to fix things and now, luckily recognise an empty promise, so what would be the kinds of things you'd want to avoid with any potential solution?'

Bit formal, but you get the gist.

A trait highlighted earlier is willingness to give a possible answer a go. Typically coming from the pull of urgency.

Another I'd state as being part of a hidden community. More than one person wants the change you seek to unleash, and many others wish to soothe that same pain. They may well even talk to each other about it, given your prompt. The 'growability' referred to by the writer sparks in your favour.

Urgently :: Growable :: Hardest to Fool

Tick these three boxes and you've a new product launch plan taking off.

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.