Related reading: Interacting with the types of customers you hope will buy your new product or service is an essential part of testing your ideas.
Here are some tips to bear in mind when having research conversations with customers. Login to save this checklist to your profile for future use. (To register to join and enjoy the benefits of membership click on the link at the top right of the page. It will only take a few minutes to create your profile).
A common mistake is too do much talking – you should be listening. Explain your idea and make sure that the customer has a good grasp of your intention, but other than that limit yourself to asking questions and clarifying. Take a 80:20 approach – the customer should be talking for 80% of the time, while you should only be talking for 20% of the time.
Avoid ‘selling’ your idea to the customer, and trying to persuade them how good it is. Remember, the point of the conversation is to elicit their opinions, not for you to overcome objections. Encourage them to be as open as they like with their criticism – both good and bad.
When choosing people to talk to, don’t try to pick those you think will give you an easy time. Selecting only people who will be nice to you defeats the object of the exercise. You need to include people who may be sceptical about your idea and give you a bit of a rough ride. Those who hate your idea can often provide much more valuable feedback than people who love it.
Take careful notes during the meeting about what people like and don’t like about your idea. Afterwards, look for similarities and differences between what various people said. Reflect on these and then decide whether the feedback gives your idea the green light, requires you to modify it to some degree, or kills it off completely.
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