Typical customer discovery involves speaking with current and potential customers. Often to determine whether their stated and unstated needs marry up with your current products, services and capabilities. And then decide whether opportunities exist for new product development and innovation.
However, often the customer discovery process falls short of delivering on client needs and expectations. Solutions are not as nimble, flexible and robust as clients need. Instead of creating a terrific customer experience, clients are turned off and become former customers.
Consider this typical customer discovery scenario. Sound familiar?
Especially when founders, salespeople and engineers cut off discussion flow prematurely. Mostly because they’ve received a cue from that client. That cue? When customers identify a need which matches your current product and service features and benefits.
Then, those partners, suppliers and vendors are off to the races! They start pitching and selling whatever they already have. Or the current innovation on the drawing board, even if it is a minimum viable concept. Versus continuing the discovery conversation to determine the complete set of needs that customer has yet to articulate.
Customer discovery outcomes are always better when the discovery process becomes a two-way dialogue, not a one-sided customer interrogation.
Are you really interested in understanding customer needs in the first place?
I’ve seen this happen over and over again, not only coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs. But also conducting Voice of the Customer research in the automotive, finance, pharmaceutical, telecom and healthcare arenas.
Once you cut the customer off short, just as they become comfortable with the customer discovery process, you will not reengage them. Instead, the customer understands the real purpose of the discovery session: meeting your own needs, making your own numbers, fulfilling your own KPIs.
Because you never take the time to connect your story to theirs. Beyond your own need to sell products or engineer solutions. Rather than create an enduring, trust-based, purpose-driven relationship with that client that lasts over time. Not just over the sales cycle or the duration of the project.
Revisit your own typical customer discovery behavior patterns.
Do you have a seat at the table with clients, stakeholders and partners? If so, do you watch over-eager salespeople, pre-sales engineers and engineers transform? Usually becoming customer discovery predators instead of customer discovery questioners and listeners? Is this you?
Root causes usually have really big contexts. Especially if you extend the customer discovery questioning pattern one millimeter beyond the typical limitations of the methodology. Yes, this takes patience on your part. Then again, when current and potential clients experience that you are making time for them to really state their unmet needs, you build greater credibility.
Because you never really are fooling your clients with the intent of your customer discovery conversations.
They understand you are there to pitch, and sell, and design, and engineer. However, making them a co-creator in your process involves your becoming an innovator. Rather than a customer discovery order-taker. What do you choose?
Ready to turn your discovery conversations into the prelude for creating trust-based client relationships? Then contact me here. Let’s set up a complementary 15-minute discovery conversation. Nothing to sell. Just a conversation.
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Engage me to present one of my One Millimeter Mindset ™ speaking programs, workshops or mastermind groups. Contact me here. My programs translate across strategic communication and collaboration disconnects between people and professional disciplines. Build trust. Retain employees and clients. Optimize strategic business and human capital value in your organizations. Get everyone to where they need to go. Together. One millimeter at a time. My playbook of communication tools and methods, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Image source: Getty images.