I don't know about this being the optimal approach, but here is a sales strategy that has worked for us in the past for getting a new product off the ground:
- Visit businesses in your target market. If it's big business you will probably need to do some research on who to present to. If it's a small enough business you can probably walk in the front door and ask to speak to the boss.
- Tell them that you need some advice. Remind them that you aren't there to sell (after all you don't have anything to sell them yet), but wanted to find out if somebody in their industry could benefit from your product. Advice is cheap for people to give.
- Present your product, it's features and what you believe the benefits are. Especially concentrate on any competitive advantage that it would give the user of the product and return on investment. Ask them if they agree or disagree and make notes! You'll need to adjust your 'pitch' as you go from business to business.
- Close by asking them if they believe that your product could benefit their industry. If they agree, ask if they know any smart people in their industry who would be willing to partner with you to help build the product. If they don't agree try and understand their position and learn from their objection.
With a bit of luck you will soon find somebody who will back you, or at least point you in the right direction.
If the sales process is a bit daunting, you can play up the "I just need advice" angle. For more assistance in selling you might want to read SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham which presents a specific process for working with large value sales.