How to learn from conversations (startups) 

Ask questions that even your mom could not lie 

  • Don't mention your solution or ask if they like the idea or wether they'd buy it or how much they would pay. 
  • Talk about their life. 
  • Good questions: Does this happen? When was the last time you did it? Is it a big deal? What are you doing to address it? Can you take me through it? 

Ask about specifics — no generics or or opinions about the future. 

  • If something seems important for them, ask why and the implications for them 
  • Ask what have they done to try to solve it. If they say nothing: have you tried to search it on Google? If not, it's not a problem. 
  • Ask specific questions e.g. When was the last time you did x? 

Be informal 

  • Instead of arranging meetings, when possible, use casual talks to ask key questions. 
  • Prepare & always have up-to-date the 3 most important questions to learn from users/clients, possible partners/employees & investors 
  • Ask the most important questions when you bump into someone instead of asking for a meeting 
Compliments don't mean anything and lead to false positives. Ask for: 
  • Facts 
  • Commitment: time, reputation (they can introduce you someone), money, intention letter 
  • Advance: Move one step in the sales funnel 
Meetings succeed or fail. They succeed when you get at least one of the following: 
  • Facts 
  • Commitment (time for a meeting, introductions, etc.) 
  • Advance 
In  B2B , if they are proposing features, ask for an introduction with the decision maker / who controls the budget to make sure you understand their needs. 
In  B2C , if they ask to let them know when you launch to test it, it's not a signal strong enough. I sign up and spend 15 seconds testing products every month and we don't ever go back. Instead, ask for test during 1/2 weeks and help to prepare use case/feedback. 
All the team benefits from talking to the clients, even if developers do it rarely. However, involve the team to decide the 3 most important learning objectives before every call (spend 10min with the team on this) and, afterwards, share notes and exact quotes whenever possible. 
On the  Sign Up page , you could ask for an optional phone number. That way, you can always call a few of them to learn from them. For example, the  Heavy users
Sources: 
 
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