Blunder #1: Asking customers what they want.
As Steve Jobs famously said, “It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.”
The main reason you can’t just ask customers what they want is that they aren’t always attuned to what they really need. Typically, it is easier for people to review and comment on something that is placed in front of them rather than ask them to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist. This can mean anything from developing a fully functioning prototype to a clickable presentation or even simple, hand-drawn “screens” to help customers get a sense of the experience.
Customers are experts in problems—not solutions. Start by understanding what people do today and where they struggle, then work backward to find a solution.
Blunder #2: Asking prospective customers about future behavior.
Humans are lousy at predicting how we’ll behave in the future.
If you ask a human being a question like: “Would you use this?”, “How much would you pay?”.
They’ll try to answer honestly, but their answers can lead you to the ocean. Don’t ask people what they think they might do. Explore what they’ve recently done in real life. You, as a researcher, will get much more reliable answers this way.
Blunder #3: Relying too much on opinions.
We share this planet with seven billion other souls. That is a literally incomprehensible number of other people, and I mean “literally” literally; our brains are woefully unable to grasp a number that high. That is a huge number of people.
No matter who you are, what you do, how great your accomplishments or how disastrous your failures are, what you believe, what you stand for, some of those people will like your product or idea, some of those people will hate your product or idea, and the vast, overwhelming majority will never care right now.
Take others’ opinions with a grain of salt.
Blunder #4: Talking to the wrong people.
Before you attempt to work with a buyer or seller customer, find out his or her needs and wants. Find out the story. Find out about beliefs and thought processes. Just because someone matches your ICP doesn’t mean they have the answers you need.
Blunder #5: Talking to people at the wrong time.
Who you talk to matters, but
When you talk to them, it can matter even more.
Why you are talking to them matters and affects the information you will receive
The most helpful answers will come from talking to people who have paid—or want to pay—to solve the problem you are solving.
Remember, whoever gets closer to the customer wins.
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