How to Have High-Quality Conversations

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  • At the very beginning of the conversation
    • Thank them & confirm amount of time they have available
    • Introduce yourself
      • Why you are here, what you are looking for
      • Explain that you’re not selling anything
      • Instead, you’re there to listen to and try to understand the problems they’re experiencing
    • Make them feel okay to tell you your idea sucks
      • This is the best thing you could possibly hear.
    • Then, begin talking about your idea broadly – in terms of large goals, big problems you’re solving…
      • “Customers don’t care about your solution. They care about their problems” – Dave McClure, 500 Startups
      • Ask open-ended questions that elicit raw thought and emotion
        • Let the interview flow
        • Don’t just go down your list of questions
        • You get insights by letting the customer go on tangents
        • It’s NOT about pitching your first product/idea
        • Resist urge to talk and instead ask questions and actively listen
      • Pay attention to their body language – it can tell you a lot
    • Holding Customer Conversation Tips
      • Be relaxed, friendly, open
      • Don’t record them
      • Get them to tell stories
      • Listen, don’t talk
        • Keep questions short & unbiased
      • Keep asking WHY?
      • Paraphrase their thoughts back to them
    • At the end, always ask:
      • Do you know anyone else who shares these problems?
      • Do you know anyone who might be able to help? (or Who’s the smartest person you know?)
      • Can I put you on the short list for further discovery interviews and product updates?
        • Goal = to establish a continuous feedback loop with prospects

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Next Lesson: Putting It All Together

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