Is Your Product a 'Yes', a 'No', or a 'Not Yet'?

This week, IndieHackers user lasargnia asked for feedback on his product’s landing page: It’s a subscription service to receive clothing recommendations for men via text messages. You pay a monthly subscription, and you get two outfit recommendations per week, with links to buy the items. landing page

I think the idea is brilliant, and told him as much.

But when he asked me if it’d be a service I’d be interested in trying out, I had two answers in my mind:

  1. “yes, I’d be interested”
  2. “not yet”

Implicit in his question is a call to take action, seeking a sale. Totally legit.

If you were in his place, receiving a lot of “not yet” answers from your audience, does that mean you have a product that’s no good?

Is your product closer to a “yes” product, or closer to a “no” product?

What Makes a Good Product

Product-market fit.
Founder-market fit.
Market size.
How many people actually pay money in that market?

Those are great lenses through which you can evaluate whether you have a good product.

But those are inference-level lenses. They’re macro. They tell you if there’s a trend.

What they don’t tell you, is whether there will be a cause for people buying your product.

Here are questions which indicate whether there will something to cause a buyer to buy your product.

1. Can You Describe Situations When There’s a Struggle Strong Enough to Evade the Gravity Pull of “I’ll Just”?

Most everyone will not buy your product. Instead they will default to some “I’ll just” statements.

  • ⚬← I’ll just continue to wear the same clothes;
  • ⚬← I’ll just go on a date with my girlfriend (or my mom), she’ll know what to suggest I buy;
  • ⚬← I’ll just go in my usual favourite store and ask for some suggestions.

Normally, “I’ll just” statements have considerable pull. They pull the buyer back toward not buying anything. But, these statements are a little weak. There’s something there. We’ll revisit those further down.

These “I’ll just” statements are what’s called the Habits of the Present force.

Then there’s the Struggle of the Moment force. This one pushes people toward action. It gets them off their seat, seeking a solution. “Enough is enough”.

The best lens to identify those struggles? You uncover a list of “struggling moments”. Situations when the person will be annoyed enough, desperate enough, pressed enough for time.

  • ⚬→ I’m starting a new job soon. I better get my wardrobe ready;
  • ⚬→ There’s this person I’m attracted to at the office, and I haven’t been paying attention to my looks as I should have;
  • ⚬→ My favourite shirt is no good anymore;
  • ⚬→ There’s a change in my weight, and what I have to wear isn’t working for my body anymore;
  • ⚬→ I’ve worked on some internal mindset work. My old looks don’t match the way I perceive myself anymore.

If your product connects with moments of struggle, and the “I’ll just” habits of the present aren’t pulling back all that hard, you’ve got one force pushing stronger than the other is pulling. This is good news.

2. Does Your Product Clear the Two Other Forces of Progress?

The Struggle and The Habits are two forces that are out of your control. They happen within the mind of people in your audience.

But there are two other forces that are in your control:

Forces Diagram

The Attraction to the Solution force will pull a buyer toward purchase. You control this by tweaking the properties of your product.

  • →⚬ I’ll be able to get nice outfit recommendations;
  • →⚬ I won’t have to go out shopping;
  • →⚬ I can cancel anytime;
  • →⚬ There’s a fair price;
  • →⚬ Because there’s a fair price, I don’t get the feeling this company will sell my information to anybody.

But then, there will be things that make the buyer hesitate. That’s the Anxieties about the Solution force. Your product needs to address those too:

  • ←⚬ I don’t want to pay a monthly price just yet;
  • ←⚬ If I sign up it’ll mean I’ll have to buy clothes soon – I’m not ready for that yet;
  • ←⚬ I don’t know whether this is sent over insecure SMS or whether encrypted iMessage;
  • ←⚬ I don’t know if the company will sell my phone number or make a fuss if I try to cancel.

If the attraction force is stronger than the anxieties force, you’ve got a product.

3. Is There Non-Consumption?

This to me is what told me that had a product.

Some other people in the discussion thread on IndieHackers suggested that Instagram was a competitor of I don’t believe it is. Instagram comes with a load of anxieties of its own. You’ve got to find feeds that showcase outfits. You’ve got to sell away your privacy.

For some, Instagram will be one of the “I’ll just” statements.

But for many, and this is the big deal, doesn’t compete with much else they have in their life. Shopping with the girlfriend. Walking into a store for suggestions. But those have anxieties of their own too.

I bet there’s a lot of non-consumption. A lot of people not doing anything about their struggle, because there are no suitable alternatives.

But how will people find out about it?

4. Will People Be Excited to Talk About It?

Seth Godin wrote a book called The Purple Cow. In it, he asks the question: is the thing you’re selling like a purple cow? Is it something remarkable enough, remark-worthy enough, that people will pay with their attention, invest their time in spreading the news?

That’s going to be the test, really. What will be remarkable enough about your product that people will gladly spread the word? The product itself, and your interactions with potential buyers as well.

As the owner of a product, it pays to craft everything surrounding your product so that it caters to a job-to-be-done. Everything should be in the service of helping people make progress.

And that means sales interactions too. Even when you get people responding to you by saying “not yet”.

The Verdict for ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Not yet’.

I believe is a “not yet” product for many. There are just too many guys for which this service doesn’t line up with a current, imminent struggle. But since it has very little competition, answers a strong continually recurring struggle, the attraction force is stronger than the anxiety force, and it’s neat enough that people will talk about it (I just did), then I believe it’s a good product.

It’s worth sticking it out, being patient, and being confident about it. People might say “no”, but I bet they’ll mean “not yet”.

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