Social media listening tools eased the effort to identify early adopters, those who desperately look for a solution to a problem. Phone calls and video calls are beneficial to understand thier problem better.
Let the potential customer be on driving seat.
Putting your potential customer on the speaking mode is an art than science. Let him be the on the driving seat. The communication is effective and meaningful to what extend the active listening is valued. Listening to potential customer is highly rewarding as the stakes are high. But Henry Ford’s most famous adage on innovation and creativity put the customer input in the dark.
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.Henry Ford
Confused, the difference lies in the context of customer input. The process to follow is to be interested in customer problem that worth solving than solutions. Customers may face a problem but s/he may not aware of it, not capable of articulating it correctly, etc. Dig deeper to know better is the ritual to follow. An exceptional listener can dig deeper and know how to articulate correctly.
Problem interviews and solution interviews differ.
It is important to distinguish problem interviews and solution interviews. The listener’s job is to sit back and intentionally listen without being judgemental. The potential customers know the problem better than anyone. A clearly defined problem will attract it’s solution. So be aggressively patient. The listener is to understand the problem and investigate further to develop a solution that will eventually make a profitable business.
Later, the solution under consideration is to be validated both qualitatively and quantitatively. There is no point on developing a solution without listening to customers and hoping the solution will solve thier problems. Ultimately, its customers who gonna pay you.
Conduct an experiment for more clarity.
Write-down your initial assumptions about potential customers. See your thoughts on a paper. Get out of your head. Listen to potential customers for a while then and revisit your initial assumptions on the paper. Pretty simple. Try it.
Rewards will be very high.
Your realization will be sufficient to proceed further.
Wish you good luck.