Last week I talked to a pre-revenue startup that felt if they could just hire another developer and add one more important feature to their product, customers would start buying. In the book Angel by Jason Calacanis, he describes this as the “feature death march” where the entrepreneur has had limited success to date and feels if they just add one more major feature, customers will start buying.

Prospects saying they’ll purchase the product when it has one more feature is often an excuse. If the prospect is serious, and the feature fits the entrepreneur’s vision, get the prospect to commit to buying the product now with a timeline for when the feature will be done. Ask for a signed contract. Once a contract is involved, and terms are negotiated, it gets serious. Too often, entrepreneurs go on a feature death march only to bring the new feature back to the prospect and have them still say “no” and ask for another, different feature or outright say they won’t buy it.

Missing an important feature can be a legitimate reason for a prospect to say “no” but more often than not, it’s an excuse and they’ll never buy. Figure out the difference and don’t go on a blind feature death march.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea of a feature death march?