I still talk with a lot of people who have never participated in a customer development interview before. They’re not sure what to expect, so it’s my job to set the right tone and expectations.
Here’s what that sounds like:
Hi – thank you so much for talking with me today. Is now still a good time?
Great. I’m doing some exploratory research into how families plan vacations, so I’m talking with people like you to understand what they’re doing today. The more detail you include as you answer questions, the more helpful that is for me – nothing you say will be boring. Before we get started, do you have any questions for me?
OK, let’s jump in.
I’m not reading a script – those lines weren’t memorized and if I said them again there’d be differences. But I’ve memorized the model, which works in any context. And that’s:
- Confirm that ‘now’ is still a good time
- Use the word ‘exploratory’ or ‘early’
- Use the word ‘people’ or ‘individuals’
- Nothing you say will be boring, I’m here to listen, you’re the expert here
- Invite them to ask me questions
After this point, I may have a list of questions, but the tone and direction of the conversation is going to really vary based on what is important to this person. And that’s exactly as it should be.