How To Conduct Customer Conversations

Talking with customers, a thread ๐Ÿงต:

1/ Firstly, as a founder, you should *always* be engaging the end customer.

It doesn't matter how: Zoom, Slack, Email, Calls, Coffee, Smoke Signal.

2/ Now here's the brutal truth. As a founder, there is always some <company ending> fire that need to be put out.

As a result, it can *feel* like talking to someone paying you $9, $19 or $49 per month is small fry. I've been guilty of this.

3/ In reality, it's the highest leverage decision you can make as a founder. Particularly if you're pre-PMF and really trying to get things to hum.

That's the truth.

~~ Here Are Some Ways I Approach Customer Conversations: ~~

4/ Shut Up And Listen

Don't pitch your product.
Don't talk about future features.
Don't talk about your ideas.

You only ask questions that reveal more information about The Problem.

5/ Only Talk About The Past

Talk about specific problems that have occurred *in the past* in the users life.

Past behaviour is the *only* indicator of future behaviour, in this context.

6/ Choose A Problem and Ask: "What is the hardest thing about [the problem you're trying to solve]?"

If you don't have a hypothesis for the problem, ask them why they signed up for your product in the first place. What did they *expect* it to do before signing up?

7/ Create Context and Ask: "Tell me about the last time you encountered [that problem]?"

Who. What. When. Where. Why. Lean into these types of questions are create context about the problem and their mindset as it occurred.

8/ Determine Severity and Ask: "Why was [the problem] hard to solve?"

Some problems have quick and easy fixes. Others are tougher to solve. You need to frame the severity of the problem you're dealing with as a precursor to your technical diligence.

9/ Analyse Motivation and Ask: "What, if anything, have you done to try to solve the problem?"

How big is a problem (really) if a user *never* even tried to find a workaround?

If they tried to stitch together a workaround or spend lots of money to solve it, perfect.

10/ Scope The Market and Ask: "What don't you love about the solutions you've tried?"

Welcome to your new feature set.

Follow me @lucamonk for more threads on startups, product building, and entrepreneurship.

I also release new episodes of my podcast MVP every Monday where I try to learn from world-class operators.