How to Find (and Sell to) Your Early-Adopter Customers

Many startups believe that selling early iterations of new products or offerings to their first customers is going to be difficult. 

There’s often concern among founders that their first customers might have unrealistic expectations of the early versions of their product. 

This can lead to a fear of selling and delivering, which causes major delays in getting the product or offering off the ground. 

Many founders also worry that early customers will be unsure about working with an unknown startup. 

But this doesn’t have to be the case. 

Finding early-adopter customers is only hard if you don’t know how to go about it or if you’re not willing to invest in creating a simple, strategic process for doing it.

If you’re a founder looking for your early customers and you’re hitting a roadblock, here’s a simple process you can follow. 


Your first step is to actually find those people who are likely to be your early customers. 

Your early customers are people who have the problem you’re solving, know they have the problem, and are already investing in what they can to solve it for their situation. 

There are many ways you can locate these people, but if you don’t already have immediate access to a definite group of people who qualify as potential early customers, your first port of call is to turn to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has a whole series of handy filters you can use to find lists of thousands of people who could be prospective early customers. 


Your second step is to develop a messaging process for reaching out to those prospective early customers. 

It’s important to do this outreach in a relationship-building way, not a spammy, transactional, cold-messaging way. 

If you’re not naturally a confident writer, it would be wise to invest in some time with a direct-response copywriter (also known as a conversion copywriter) to help you develop a Market Research Request Message (also known as a User Research Request Message) and an Early Adopter Offer Message

These specific types of messages are designed to get prospective early adopters – who could really benefit from your solution – excited about what you’ve got to offer them. 


Conduct a series of user research calls.

Structure the calls in such a way where you can have an open, honest, productive conversation with prospective early customers about the nuances of the problems you know they have (and that you’re building a solution for). 

What’s also important is to structure these calls in such a way that makes it easy for them to put their hand up and volunteer or request to become an early-adopter customer. 

Many startups make the mistake of “pitching” their product to prospective early-adopter customers instead of reframing the situation in such a way that prospects feel excited and lucky to be first to know about a new solution – and be given the opportunity to be a pilot user. 

Structured correctly and executed consistently, these Market Research Calls – or User Research Calls – are the perfect vehicle for funnelling your first group of early-adopter customers into your new product or service offering. 

If you’re looking to onboard more early-adopter customers and you need help finding them, designing your outreach messaging, or designing your market research calls, here’s what to do. 

Share your situation with us by filling out this short questionnaire and we’ll get in touch to help you with your next steps.


Whenever you’re ready, here’s how we can help you.

If you’ve got a startup idea, or you’ve already embarked on your journey – you might be facing one or both of these situations.

  1. You’re struggling while going it alone. Worse, you’re wading in the muddy waters of some not-so-great advice.
  2. Perhaps you’re trying to raise capital for your startup and you’re hitting a dead end. Raising capital is a notoriously difficult thing to do. Globally, only 0.74% of startups manage to raise capital at Seed stage. Despite this, 16% of startups we’ve worked with were able to raise capital at Seed stage.

If you’re ready to step up and get the help you need, our Startup Builder™ program was created especially for you.

The Startup Builder™ process is specifically designed to take you all the way from idea to global success – in a way that’s simple, sustainable, and scalable.

If you’re ready to grow your revenue, profit, and social impact faster without wasting time and money on the wrong things at the wrong time, click here to request your Startup Builder™ Strategy Session.


Did you find this article valuable?

Go here to sign up to receive future weekly editions in your inbox.

On LinkedIn? Click here and press “follow” to get notified of the startup insights I share.

Share this article

Subscribe to our newsletter