|Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
The The mom test (* affiliate link - commissions earned) is an interesting read for those wanting to learn more about talking to customers in a way that can generate better insights about your customers. It is targeted towards entrepreneurs building a company in the “how” to talk to customers, but there are also learnings that can be applied for those in established companies.
Bad customer conversations aren’t just useless. Worse, they convince you that you’re on the right path. They give you a false positive which causes you to over-invest your cash, your time, and your team.
Here are my five key/favourite takeaways….
The three simple rules: the mom test
- Talk about their life instead of your idea
- Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future
- Talk less and listen more
- What are the implications of that?
- This question helps to distinguish between “I will pay to solve that problem” and “that’s kind of annoying but I can deal with it problem”.
- What else have you tried?
- This helps to surface how important the problem is for them. If they haven’t bothered looking for a solution then it’s not likely to be an important problem for them.
- Do you think it’s a good idea?
- Asking customers if they think something is a good idea has a high risk of false positive as it’s based on an opinion.
- This can be fixed by asking them
- To show you how they currently do it
- What parts they love or hate
- What other tools / processes they tried before settling on this one
- Are they actively searching for a replacement (If so, what’s the sticking point. If not, why not?)
- Where are they losing money with their current tools
- Is there budget for a better one
- Why do you want that?
- What would that let you do?
- How are you coping without it?
- Do you think we should push back the launch to add that feature or is it something we could add later?
- How would that fit into your day?
When someone starts talking about what they “always” or “usually” or “never” or “would” do, they are giving you generic and hypothetical fluff. Follow the mom test and bring them back to specifics in the past…
While using generics, people describe themselves as who they want to be, not who they actually are….
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