Pre-Sales Smoke Test

A Pre-Sales Smoke Test helps you figure out if users will actually pay for your product by charging them for it before you can deliver

Jordan Duff avatar
Written by Jordan Duff
Updated over a week ago


Method category: Evaluative market experiment

How to Use This in GLIDR

A Pre-Sales Smoke Test helps you figure out if users will actually pay for your product by charging them for it before you can deliver the product directly.ย 

In GLIDR, you would run this test as an Experiment and set a specific metric for how many payments constitute a successful test. Then, as you ran the experiment, your test itself would be one piece of Evidence - Other where you could record who purchased, through which channel, and attach the raw data. Finally, in the Analyze phase, you would assess if the test was successful or if you still needed to refine it.

Learn more about each of those aspects of GLIDR:


Pre-Sales Smoke Test

Article excerpted from The Real Startup Book

In Brief

Pre-sales involves accepting payment in exchange for a promise to deliver the value proposition at a later date. Usually, the value proposition is the product or service itself. This is a highly committed form of smoke testing because it requires actually collecting money from the customer and usually carries a very strong implicit (if not legal) promise to deliver the product or service at a later date. Pre-sales are also known as pre-orders, vaporware, or vaporgoods.

Does the prospect know your product does not yet exist? If not, the pre-sales campaign can be considered a true smoke test and will have different dynamics and results than if the prospect is aware of this fact.

Most, but not all, crowdfunding campaigns are in fact pre-sales campaigns. Pre-sales campaigns can also rely on online platforms built from scratch or platforms like Celery.

The MVP for the pre-sales campaign can include a description of the value proposition, product renderings, mock-up, or simulations, a promotional video, customer testimonials, and so on.

Helps Answer

Is the customer actually willing to pay money for the value proposition?


  • Quantitative Validation

  • Benchmarking

  • Positioning

  • Value Proposition

  • Audience Selection Strategy

  • Investor Attraction


Time Commitment

1 week to 90 days. Most successful crowdfunding pre-sales campaign involve 30 days of pre-promotion and a 40-day campaign duration (70 days total).

How To

  • Create your MVP (renderings or simulations, promotional media, pricing, testimonials, etc).

  • Establish your pre-sales ecommerce platform.

  • Promote and launch your campaign.

  • Measure results (conversions and total orders).

Interpreting Results


Potential Biases

  • Confirmation Bias

  • Invalid Target Audience

  • False Negative

Field Tips

Case Studies

Field Tips

Case Studies


Did this answer your question?