Building your capacity and capability to deliver your own virtual learning incubators

 

Customer script - the problem interview

The success of your startup is invariably linked to the success of your interview (observation) skills. Too many entrepreneurs are asking the wrong questions - ask the wrong questions and you get the wrong insights, leading you to build the wrong product/service/feature, leading you to wondering why customers are not buying it when they themselves said they want it. 

 

We present here a detailed customer script. After a few of these interviews it will end up being more a mental scripts than a physical one that you go through.

 

It's is deliberately detailed, and you probably will never have enough time to go through all the questions but nonetheless having a mental repoitre of good questions to ask (and knowing why you're asking them) is critical for to get quality insights. Even if you don't have time, it's too ask a few questions from each bucket, to get a more rounded insight.

 

Introduction:

Spend some time in getting your introduction right. In it, there should be no mention of your solution. This sets the stage, establishes a relationship, they know the why behind the conversation.

 

For example:

Thank you for making the time - I really appreciate your time today.

I’ve read a number of your blogs with great interest. Especially your blog on how to use flipboard as a recruitment tool to build an employer brand.

I have a 8+ years experience in the management and IT consultancies. Right now, I'm working on a problem with hiring. Having made really good hires and some really bad ones, it's an area that is keeping my mind occupied. 

I am here because I would love to learn from your perspective the challenges you see, get your insights on how best to solve the problem of bad hiring. 

My goal is not to become a recruiter, but actually build the capacity and capability of hiring managers to make their own hiring better. 

The hard part is delivering scale AND quality of impact. Your insights will be really helpful in me getting to this goal and make sure I don't build the wrong solution

 

Their value to you

 

What you care about

Why are you here

Make yourself vunerable and human

Talk about them first

Jobs to do done:

Understand their world first, by what jobs they are trying to do (without the constraint of the problem you're working on). If you're always thinking about your problem, it narrows the insights you may get.

 

For example:

- What are your top 3 priorities this week, month, year? 

- Talk me through the last time you did

- What are the goals, what was the problem it addressed, what was the outcomes)

-What metrics are your measuring or being measured against in your role/job?

- Who are the customers/users of your work?

 

Pain:

Understand their world first, by what jobs they are trying to do (without the constraint of the problem you're working on). If you're always thinking about your problem, it narrows the insights you may get.

 

For example:

- What are the top 3 struggle/obstacles with....?

- How is it being funded?

-  We’re defining the problem in 2 ways a) .... b) .......   Which one resonates with you, or is there a 3rd view of it? 

- What’s the cost of not solving this problem to you (or your customers/users)?

- Why are current solutions (to your problem) working well, or failing?

Gain:

Understand their world first, by what jobs they are trying to do (without the constraint of the problem you're working on). If you're always thinking about your problem, it narrows the insights you may get.

 

For example:

- What would make your life easier?

- What value (time saved, costs, other results) would you want to see through any solution to the problem you mentioned earlier

- We are considering 2 solutions option a).... b) .... What are your thoughts on the two?

- What key messages do you think would resonate with others in similar role to you

Commitment:

Many interviews end with a thankyou, but we feel you need to end with ways to test their answers with some commitment (action) in small ways. 

 

For example:

- What's the lowest cost/lowest risk/lowest effort  experiment we can together

- Would you be able to introduce me to one other person in your network that I can speak to, to learn more?

- Is it OK to follow-up with you, as I get more insights, later next week? 

- Would you be interested in becoming an informal board of advisors? 20 minutes every week for the next 4 weeks. 

Helps you target 'important and urgent' problems

Ask them to unpack their actions (not predictions) step by step

They are what they measure

Making your customer's customers' life easier/better

Zero into one problem

This is part of their problem

Ask them to choose between 2 alternative realities, to stop them being 'nice' to you

So you can better price your value

Allows you to understand who else you need to convince

Don't lead them into your solution

Allows you to prioritise the value you need to deliver ( to convince them)

Allow them to choose or create their own 3rd option

Ask not what they think (be optimistic), what others think allows them space to be pessimistic/realist.

If there is no answer, they're unlikely to be an early adopter customre/user

Finding people to interview is hard, use their networks

So you can go back to them a week later, with a solution interview

Build a relationship, selling is all about relationships.