Do you know who your customer is?... I mean really know!
It is easy to say that your customer is a “20-35-year-old female,” but what makes the ones who will buy different than the ones who won’t. Certainly not everyone in this category will purchase your product. If you think that you have narrowed your target market down enough, make it your goal to figure out what makes part of the target market want to buy and what makes the other part want to run.
Make sure that you don’t get pulled into the secondary research trap. Let me be clear, this information is great and helps understand the macro environment that you are looking to operate in, but there is no substitution for talking to customers. If you haven’t talked to customers yet, you still don’t know who they really are. It is that important! When you talk to customers you find out how much you didn’t know and the nuances of selling to this group.
So, what can you do to make sure you are getting the most out of market validation? Read the 3 tips to proper market validation below.
Ditch the Assumptions
Everything we think we know is based on some sort of assumption. We see the world through our own filters. This is why two people can experience the same thing and have completely different reactions. It is because their internal filters are different. Don’t assume that others will see your product like you do. It is actually very valuable to have other perspectives because you will be able to see where you can adjust your product after enough feedback.
Think of that episode of Silicon Valley where they test Pied Piper with only technical people. They assumed the audience was a legit test group - but it didn't represent target customers.
Ask Why, a lot.
Move beyond someone liking your idea to asking - why. Get deeper and deeper, until all the whys are answered. It is very easy for us to get the answer that we want. You may not even know that you are favouring your product. I mean obviously you like it…or I hope that you do. If you get 100% positive feedback, there is probably something going wrong. You may want to try convincing people that have said they liked it into not liking it. This will really make them think about whether they like it or not because it is a lot easier to agree with someone than to say you don’t like the idea. You want to make sure that there is a need for your product or service so start by asking questions. If they say that they like it, then ask why they like it?
Get an External Perspective
Someone outside of the immediate company offers a unique perspective because they have less assumptions and knowledge of your idea. It is really good to have someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of the idea take a critical look. When we are always thinking about our idea, we often miss major things that will prevent others from buying our idea. One time I tried to start a business without talking to anyone else about it – it was a way to better organize business cards – or so I thought! When I began trying to sell it, people told me that my solution actually made it harder for them. I thought everyone would keep business cards like I did, but since I didn’t ask…I didn’t know! One suggestion that we often give is to go have coffee with 100 people and talk about your idea. And one last point, make sure that you talk to people who are not extremely close to you, because they will often just want to support you.
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