Talking to Potential Customers First

Written by Jamie Irvine | 4-minute read

Once you have established your over-arching life goals, designed a business model that will support your goals, and determined what differentiates your business from the competition it’s time to validate what you intend to sell to your customers.

This validation process should be done prior to starting a business but it can also be done after you have already launched your business.

In fact, all great businesses reinvent themselves many times as market conditions and customer needs change. Therefore, having a validation process embedded into your business system is the best way to ensure that as time passes your business remains relevant.

Some Brutal Honesty

I struggle with this concept.

For some reason, I am always nervous to talk to potential customers about something that I am planning on doing in the marketplace.

For example, my first business course launch was a disaster. I worked on it for months and when I launched it nobody bought it. Well, that’s not true, one person bought it after I gave a sizeable discount. After months of work building the course, doing podcast interviews promoting it, and a lot of work on social the course still bombed.

What happened?

Looking back, I know what I did wrong.

  1. I overestimated the demand for a business course from me.
  2. I was seduced by all the online stories of people who had done 6-figure launches.
  3. My target customer demographic was too
  4. I didn’t do a good enough job of building up a list of ideal customers who were asking for a solution to a specific problem.
  5. The material was accurate but was not presented well mostly because I rushed to market without validating it.
  6. The only people who had input into what the course taught and how it was presented was my team.

In other words, I didn’t talk to my potential customers first.

What I should have done was talk to as many self-employed service-based business owners as possible. I should have talked to them about their dreams and their challenges. I should have talked to them about whether they were even interested in taking a course to learn about how to provide for their families and create flexibility and freedom in their lives.

Maybe they would rather a weekly BLOG article emailed to them.

Maybe they would rather read a BOOK instead of taking a course.

Maybe they would rather listen to a PODCAST while they are driving.

Maybe they would rather take a COACHING program that allows them to talk 1-on-1 with a coach or maybe they would rather the support of group coaching.

Maybe they did want a course but just not the format I used.

The point is that if I had taken time to talk to my ideal customers first I think my first-course launch would have gone much better. The wonderful thing is that no matter what service you offer you can learn from my mistake and you can go talk to your customers first.

But, how do you do it?

You have at least three options:

  1. Social Media – Connect with your ideal customers and develop a relationship with them. Ask them questions in a conversational manner.
  2. Surveys – Use Survey Monkey’s free software to ask your ideal customers up to 10 questions that will give you insight into what they are thinking, feeling, and needing. (More than 10 you must go to a paid version.) You can email the link to your survey to existing customers and prospects on your list, you can post it on social, and you can embed it on your website.
  3. Face-to-Face – There really is no substitution to face-to-face conversations. The wonderful thing is that with video calling on Skype, Facebook, Facetime, and other services you don’t have to be in person.

I hope this is helpful and please don’t make the mistake I made.

Make it a priority to try these suggestions out this week. Talk to your customers before you decide to launch your business or a new product or service.

Let’s talk about your business!

P.S. If you would like to learn more about our coaching program click here.

Author: Jamie Irvine

Jamie Irvine is the host of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report and a sales consultant that works with manufacturers, distributors, and SaaS companies serving the heavy-duty truck parts industry.

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