40 Tips for Successful Dialogues to Make Your Customers Your Customers

No matter how good technology you develop an app or product, it's difficult to monetize unless you find someone to use it. Sean Murphy of

SK Murphy, a customer development service provider, has compiled 40 'Customer Development Interview Tips' that you can use when you are in the stage of marketing to potential customers in BtoB product development.

40 Tips for B2B Customer Development Interviews --SK Murphy, Inc.

・ What to do in dialogue with customers
◆ 1: Prepare 3 to 5 questions in advance
Customer development interviews can take from a few minutes to an hour. It's okay to ask questions in the middle of the story, but prepare 3 to 5 points to talk about in advance and approach with the 'essence of the question'.

◆ 2: Focus on 'past actions' and 'actual events'
You can imagine a variety of issues, such as fictitious issues, potential issues, and future issues, but you should focus on 'past behavior' and 'actual events' to meet customer needs. thing. Customers pay for 'solving real problems.'

◆ 3: Use specific numerical values and objective criteria
Whenever possible, put numbers in adjectives and specify a range. You need to create selection criteria for prospects to make 'buy goods' decisions.

◆ 4: Delve into 'change'
There are many problems in business, and companies pay to solve them. We'll delve into the factors that make a difference, such as what's wrong with your company, what trends you should adopt, and what alleviates the problem.

◆ 5: Don't talk about possible solutions until you fully understand the customer's wishes
Resist the temptation to 'talk about solutions' until you can speak confidently about the other person's situation, needs, and challenges.

◆ 6: Bring drawings
To avoid misunderstanding, bring a drawing explaining what you have prepared on one or two sheets of paper.

◆ 7: Give the pen to the other party
Instead of facing each other, sit at a 90-degree angle and explain with the customer ready to write on paper. By giving the other person a pen, you can give them a way to express their thoughts, and sketching makes it easier to understand how the situation changes over time and the relationships between things that affect each other, and the discussion becomes lively. I will.

◆ 8: Listen to 'facts' first and then 'opinions'
Facts can be examined objectively, and opinions can give needs and insights to the problem, both of which are important factors. However, if you start talking from your opinion, you may not reach the facts, so it is important to start talking from 'facts' first.

◆ 9: Request sharing of documents and data
Customers may not talk about important content that they take for granted, so ask for documentation and see if there is a 'gap' between that content and the customer's description. This gap can reveal deception, and it can also help the other person's interpretation of things.

◆ 10: Do not talk about your own experience or the experience of other companies
Even if you are familiar with the other person's story, never replace it with the story of yourself or another company. Customer development interviews require you to be a 'listener,' but the temptation to share your experience can shift you from a 'listener' to a 'speaker,' risking you losing sight of your prospects. Also, if your story does not match what the other person wants to say, the other person may consider that you do not agree with yourself.

◆ 11: Perform a '3-minute test' when new features are requested
If a prospect asks for a new feature, write it down and say, 'Tell me two things to make sure you understand your needs. Three minutes before you decide to use that feature. What were you doing? And what were you doing for the next 3 minutes? ' This allows you to identify the frequency of problems and gain a better understanding of the problem.

◆ 12: Six important things in customer development interviews
Here are some things to focus on in order to adapt your product to the market and attract new prospects:

1. 1. Ask the customer to explain the problem in their own words
2. Have them explain their current work processes and workflows in their own words
3. 3. Clarify the constraints on problem solving
Four. Be careful how the other person talks about the 'future state' that the other person wants to achieve
Five. Ask what you have done to solve the problem and why you were not satisfied with it
6. An index for evaluating the benefits of the other party and the results obtained

・ Tips for general customer development interviews
◆ 13: Two people face
If you work with two people, you can divide the roles into 'questioners' and 'careful listeners.' In addition, two people can compare their own notes, so they can deepen their perspective on the other person.

◆ 14: Listen anyway
The more you talk, the less you listen. Anyway, collect information about the prospect's perspective, problems you have, and what your needs are.

◆ 15: Take notes
By taking notes instead of recording, you are forced to concentrate on yourself and tell the other person that you are 'listening'.

◆ 16: Maintaining a friendly and relaxed attitude
It can be frustrating if you can't present your ideas well, but take a deep breath and make a smile. The 'trying to understand your needs' attitude is more useful than presenting solution ideas to prospects. Also, even if you are over the phone, you can still smile, so don't forget to smile.

◆ 17: Think of it as a dialogue, not an interview
If you don't ask a question, you're just listening to the other person's story, and if the other person doesn't ask a question, you're cross-examined. We aim to conduct interviews that establish a 'dialogue' that progresses through mutual curiosity.

◆ 18: Treat everyone as a potential customer
Even if a person forgets the details of the conversation, he or she remembers how the other person made an impression on him or her. By always ending the conversation politely, you will be able to approach again when the situation or opinion of the other party changes.

◆ 19: Be careful when the other person is too friendly
When the other person agrees too much with what he says, it can be a signal that he wants to end the discussion sooner. Please guess the intention of the other party by how the other party follows up.

◆ 20: Briefly summarize and then finish
Summarize what you learned from the conversation in a few points, and in some cases ask if you can follow up with a few questions. Summarizing increases your chances of getting additional information and opinions from the other person, and also gives them the opportunity to immediately point out when you make a significant mistake.

◆ 21: Do not go beyond the welcome frame of the other party
If you don't stay too long, you will have a chance to meet again. Take a couple of minutes from the conversation summary to the thank-you greeting, then send a more detailed summary within a day or two to get the chance to meet next.

◆ 22: Leave room to continue the conversation
Don't think of the discussion as a one-time opportunity. The first discussion can be the beginning of a long-term business, so treat the person as a 'person you'll never meet' to avoid excluding potential prospects.

・ What to prepare for conducting a customer development interview
◆ 23: Learning the basics of business relations
If you feel that the other person's story is inconsistent, it is important to engage in the conversation with curiosity and gratitude, such as saying 'Please tell us more about it' instead of rejecting it. When explaining a practice or process that doesn't meet your expectations, think 'there should be a good reason' and delve into it.

You can't learn how to get close to someone if you're reluctant to discover a contradiction between them and yourself. If the content of the dialogue is all about 'confirming your own assumptions', the other party's time will be wasted. Also, prospects may have connections with other potential customers, so it's possible that the wrong behavior you've taken with them will be passed on to other customers.

◆ 24: Be prepared to be surprised
This means pre-examining the implications of making your assumptions wrong, embracing new insights and ideas, and preparing to look at your customers' problems and needs from a different angle. Assuming 'the smartest person you can talk to', you can't learn.

◆ 25: Use numbers as much as possible to select prospects and define problems
Avoid the word 'small business' and use terms such as revenue, personnel, and transaction rate. At this point, you may be tempted to do business in a large market, but start with a small area where you can act quickly.

◆ 26: Confirm that the other party is the target customer
Clarify who is your target customer and make sure they match the subject. Making conclusions about customer needs from conversations with potential non-customers can be very misleading.

◆ 27: Mental model is important
The image of the behavior that 'this will happen if it happens' in my head is called a

mental model , but it is very important to understand the mental model and preconditions of prospective customers. For this reason, first understand the keywords and phrases used to describe your problem or need.

◆ 28: Price and basic plan at the start of service
The other person doesn't want to talk or investigate, he's looking for a way to solve the problem. You should prepare the details of the service that can be shown when the prospect's feelings are tilted even a little.

◆ 29: Prepare for when the other party asks you for 'important discoveries you have learned so far'
If you're looking for an early adopter , be prepared to share important discoveries in your development process with others. Confidential information or saying 'all discoveries will be sent in the final report' can be disappointing for early adopters. Providing information can also be an excuse for feedback.

◆ 30: Take 1 hour to save 1 minute
When you ask a question that tells you that you haven't studied enough, the other person feels that you've wasted your time. You need to establish a relationship of trust within 3-6 minutes and reach the point between 6-8 minutes. By studying hard, the conversation will continue for 30 minutes and 1 hour, and the other party will ask many questions.

◆ 31: 5 sources to check before the interview
As mentioned above, it is very important to study in advance, so it is recommended to check 5 before the interview.

1. 1. Prospect website
2. Report articles of partner companies for at least 2 years
3. 3. A

LinkedIn profile of someone you 're talking to, someone with a similar title, or someone in the same department
Four. Posting an online forum about the industry
Five. The other party's social media account

◆ 32: Have an entrepreneurial spirit
I realize that the reason I meet someone is to keep the startup and create products that expand the viable business.

◆ 33: Have Plan B
The concept of the product may be infeasible, but in the early stages of the company, the power of the development team is more important than the product itself. If Plan A fails, explore the possibilities of Plan B and Plan C.

◆ 34: Use the words of prospective customers
Whether you ask a question or answer it, you need to use the same words that your prospects use. It is important that conversations always take place in the eyes of the other person, and if the other person thinks that this person is outside the field, it will be difficult to build a relationship of trust.

・ What to do after conducting a customer development interview
◆ 35: Report on the day of the interview
Report the summary of the discussion to your partner the same day. On the other hand, the final overview is created after sleeping and letting it sit overnight.

◆ 36: Send follow-up email
Send a summary of what you have heard to the other person so that they can critique it. In particular, introspective people want to share their thoughts in writing.

◆ 37: People with problems accept partial solutions
Don't adapt yourself to anyone seeking the perfect solution. Chasing the over-the-top demands of prospects can lead to a death spiral that kills startups. Seeking only a perfect solution, not a partial solution, is, in a sense, the same as saying 'it's okay to maintain the status quo.'

◆ 38: Analyze the survey results
Use 'story' like a journalist to understand the needs of the other person, like a detective to uncover the root cause of a problem, collect data like a scientist, cost and return on investment like an accountant Think about and explore trends like an economist. Along with the basic entrepreneurial spirit, these multiple different perspectives are needed.

◆ 39: Evaluate based on 'quality of conversation' and 'learned'
An evaluation of 'quality of conversation' is an evaluation of one's skills, and an evaluation of 'learned' measures a degree of understanding of customer needs. It's important to evaluate with the entire team, as some team members can overlook important information or potential customers if the interview method is lax.

◆ 40: When there is no reply to the follow-up email, when correction is necessary
If you feel that the dialogue was successful but you didn't get a reply to the email, you can try sending a voicemail. If you still do not receive a reply, it is possible that the dialogue did not meet the needs of the other party or that it made the other party uncomfortable.

in Note, Posted by darkhorse_log