Some tips for your customer development interviews

These are just some common sense tips to help you get started:

  1. Schedule a time for the interview in advance.  Let the person know that you only need 15-20 minutes if it is over the phone, 20 or so if in person.  If the interview goes well, you can always run over, but you don’t want to put people off from the start.
  2. Make it clear why you are doing this.  If you are a student, play that card. Explain briefly the area you are trying to learn about and why?
  3. Do not call a potential “competitor” and be deceitful about your purpose.
  4. Prepare a “line of questioning” in advance.  You don’t need to stick exactly to it, but it can serve as a good framework.
  5. Ask “open-ended” questions.  Follow-up with “why,” or “tell me more about that,” etc.
  6. Don’t guide people into the answer you hope to get.  Give them freedom to give their opinion and use their expertise.
  7. Whenever possible, do this in teams of two – one to lead the discussion and the other to take notes and to insure in the end that you have covered what you set out to learn.
  8. Write out your notes immediately after the interview – don’t let it get stale.
  9. If you are a member, post your interview notes to LeanLaunchLab right away as well.
  10. Ask if they would mind if you followed up in case there are soother questions or to share the “results” of the process in the form of your product offering or whatever.
  11. Also, ask if there is anyone else they think you should talk to that they feel would be helpful.