Full Disclosure: I’ve never attended any of Amy’s classes, never spoken to her, and my only email response from her was a bit… well… let’s just say, she is her own person, and she didn’t give a rat’s posterior about my tidbit. I respect the crap out of her for that though. 🙂
So, Amy has this thing she calls the “Sales Safari”. In concept, it is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. The awesome part of the Sales Safari is that you bypass the guessing, and go after the exact thing that people want to buy. You do this by exhaustively reading, compiling and analyzing content/desires/dislikes/etc. written online by your intended audience. In practice, I think it’s more complex to explain, and things in different industries/audiences require a less broad-brush approach, but that’s the high-level explanation.
Compare that with the Lean Startup practice which has you ‘guess’ at an idea, and “see” if it will work. If there is acceptance in the market, then continue, if not, pivot (game over, thanks for playing, try again).
The Sales Safari takes a different approach, in that rather than talking to people and asking them if they’d buy (which even if they say ‘yes’ they likely won’t), it identifies what people are already doing, and the pain they are already expressing. So, you start building a solution to a known problem, rather than guessing at a solution to a possible problem. In theory, it streamlines the process.
Now, that all being said, I had a heck of a time using the ideas from the Sales Safari to glean pain points from my audience initially. Maybe I’m not going far enough to find where my audience hangs out? Maybe I’ve decided upon the wrong audience? Honestly, I didn’t think my audience had enough online presence, or point points that could be addressed via a web solution (remember, I’m looking specifically to build a recurring revenue SaaS-type offering). My initial audience was hot rodders, and vintage motorcyclists. Guys who get greasy, dirty, weld, cut; alot of them are a little older than me (I’m 39), and maybe aren’t online as much as us tech folks. I had a mailing list, and “fan” base from my other online hot rod and motorcycle sites of around 1500 addresses, but I couldn’t find a viable pain to go after.
I honestly gave up on the sales safari at this point.
So, I switched, and started building something I needed for my day job – essentially a pagerduty-lite. I got the backend built and working, the website 70% complete, and realized that although interesting and useful, and I had a few verbal pre-orders, I wasn’t all-in on focusing on this demographic for the next 2-5 years to get it going!
It was at this point, I went to a car show as I do frequently, and came to the realization that these were my people.
To be continued…