Today we’re talking about the importance of having storytelling patience when conducting customer discovery interviews.
Customer discovery is a methodology used for building startups, new corporate ventures / intrapreneurial activities, design and engineering projects, and sales. Actually, in my storytelling for STEM professionals and left-brain thinkers playbook, you and I are never quite finished with customer discovery. Because our existing and potential customers’ stories are never-ending.
Consequently, our storytelling patience plays out big. Initially, with client engagement and acquisition. Subsequently, in relation to client success and retention.
There are two versions of a customer discovery conversation and both require storytelling patience.
The first version is a completely painful experience, for folks on both sides of the conversation. Because the business entrepreneur, seller or engineer is completely uncomfortable having an open-ended conversation with a potential client. As a result, the questions asked are stilted-sounding, hesitant and limited to yes-no responses. Both parties cannot wait to end the interview. Sometimes the participants perceive the experience as a complete and total waste of time.
And this outcome is so very unfortunate. Because the people cooperating in that conversation have the potential to be early-adopters, influencers and loyal supporters. If only a little bit more storytelling patience is involved (and some storytelling coaching).
Then again, many times we stop our engaging and successful customer discovery conversations prematurely. Once we receive some form of validation of our business plan, product concept, or whatever it is that we are selling or designing, we are elated! (Or depressed. 😉) Either way, we end the conversation.
Except, when you have storytelling patience, you develop the habit of telling yourself: “Wait. There’s more to discover, and it’s all about the customer. It’s not all about my product, service, program or business model.”
Once you continue the conversation past the point of self-validation, you uncover client needs leading to more robust and flexible design outcomes. Also, you discover the customers’ stories behind those needs which, in turn, can lead to spin-offs and line extensions.
After all, do you really want to be a one-hit wonder? Or, acquire a client only to have them defect upon renewal?
How would you rate your current storytelling patience skills?
Your own experiences with clients, during the early phases of selling, designing and starting up, become a critical part of the stories you continue to tell. About how you and potential clients engage and collaborate. Together.
Consider the client experience and enduring impact of leveraging customer discovery as more than a means of validating you. Instead, incorporate storytelling patience. Create the relationships and buy-in which contribute to success: yours and theirs. Over the long haul. Together. One millimeter at a time.
My One Millimeter Mindset™ Speaking Programs & Consulting leverage design-driven storytelling for STEM professionals and left-brain thinkers. Translate across communication disconnects between people and professional disciplines. Build Trust. Optimize the strategic business and human capital value of your people and your organization to current and future clients. One millimeter at a time.
- Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Engage me to present one of my speaking programs, workshops or mastermind groups. Contact me here. Get to where you need to go. Together. One millimeter at a time.
- I have some great tools in my book, Do YOU Mean Business? to help you discover the untold stories living somewhere in your and your clients’ organizations.
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