I promised to follow up on my last post (whether someone read it or not) with a breakdown of how I'm landing prospective beta customers.

My goal with beta customers is not to make money - but I do need to validate that people are willing to pay for my idea. Also, even though the startup costs here are on the low side they aren't zero, that $50 I'm asking for really is just helping offset my costs.

As a reminder, here's the basic close I'm using, which you could maybe adopt if you find yourself in a similar situation in the future:

"The problem you've been talking about is something that I'm looking to address as I work through this. I'm looking for beta-testers, but I'm asking everyone for 3 favors... 1) I want brutal feedback, 2) A testimonial I can include on my site if I decide to move forward (but only if you learn something), and 3) $50 to help me offset the cost of setting up the systems and platforms to get things off the ground. That $50 is of course fully refundable if things don't go well. Would you be opposed to any of that?"

Why does this work? First, there's a lot of psychological research around people liking you more when they've done you a favor. I don't remember where I first learned about this, but I did find a decent resource on Psychology Today that describes the what and the how here. While I can't say exactly why it works, I believe it comes down to others being more invested in you after having done something for you that they didn't have to.

The second reason this works is that it's 100% genuine. I literally cannot do what I want without help from people telling me where I suck. And when I get things to a point where they don't suck, I need those people to attest to the fact that this is something of value. As far as the third point, if each of my testers has paid even a token amount to help me get this going, they're going to both hold me accountable AND are far more likely to follow through on #1 & #2.

Now I want to be clear, I'm dead serious that if things don't work out and they didn't get anything out of the exercise, I'm happy to return their $50. The goal here is to exchange value, and I fully expect even people with experience selling will learn something, just like I always learn something when I pick up a new business book. Heck, I've taken the SAME training at three different tech startups and I always walk away with it having learned something.

What do you think? Do you agree with me and how I broke down this close? Is there something I could be doing better? Join the discussion below and let me know what you think.

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