When aspiring entrepreneurs finally realize they have to spend more time developing the customer than developing the product in the early days, they are often faced with a dilemma: “You mean I have to actually TALK to people?”
Steve Blank and Eric Ries would answer the same way: yes. You can’t build a product around who you think is the customer and what their problem is and how they want to solve it and whether or not your product offers a compelling solution—you are not the customer! Only the customer is the customer. You have assumptions, but you have to define and verify them before finalizing your product, so you have to get out there and do the process of customer investigation.
So, how? I suggest seven steps, which are built around sales process as it applies to qualifying a prospect.
1: Ask for permission – show respect and consideration; ask for permission and help
2: Qualify the prospect – do they fit the customer profile?
3: Problem probe – do they recognize the problem?
4: Solution probe –… Continue reading