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Truth Talking for
Business Ideas
Getting true feedback from
potential customers about
your business idea
HOW TO BUILD SOMETHING
THAT PEOPLE WILL BUY
2
A successful Business Idea
contains at least:
On top of that, you also need
■ to reach the customers via a
marketing chann...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
Your Business Idea is:
Sell solution S to customer segment C, so that they can solve their
pro...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
How To Talk to People
■ Decide on customer segment
■ Make cold contact
■ Talk to 5 people
 As...
CUSTOMER SEGMENT
A group of people or companies with the same problem,
and often other similarities, too.
6
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
Customer Segment
■ Choose a customer segment for your idea
 Start with a very small segment a...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
How To
Your Customer Segment
■ Where can we find our demographic groups?
■ Explore your existi...
Getting too many
different results?
Go back and
choose a smaller
customer
segment.
Warm Intros
Cold Contact
Find your cust...
RELEVANT PROBLEM
• Relevant = Happens often, costs a lot of money, causes lot of
frustration.
• The problem can also be a ...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
The Mom Test – What people say
■ You: Mom, I have a business idea. Do you have 5
minutes?
■ Mo...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
The Mom Test – What people think
■ You: Mom, I have a business idea. Do you have 5
minutes?
■ ...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
The Mom Test – How to do it right
You:
■ Mom, when have you last time used the iPad?
■ For wha...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
How Structure Your Conversation
■ Problem & Solution
 First, learn all about the problem – Th...
How To Talk About Problems
Good Data
■ Ask about specifics in the
past
 When did the problem
happened last time?
 Can yo...
ACCEPTED SOLUTION
From the customers point of view
16
How To Demo Your Solution
You show your “demo”
■ Anything that let’s the
customer imagine how the
solution would change hi...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
Get Commitments
Ask for commitment
■ Especially in B2B settings, ask for some commitment to fi...
USE YOUR DATA
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
How To Takes Notes
What to write down?
■ emotions (!)
 No selling without emotions. Where doe...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
Use your Data
■ Check your assumptions
 Which turned out to be true/validated and
which are r...
“EXAM”
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
Good meeting or bad meeting?
■ “That’s so cool. I love it!”
■ “Looks great. Let me know when i...
COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015
Literature
■ The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
 momtestbook.com and
foundercentric.com
 Versio...
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Truth Talking for Business Ideas

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Getting true feedback from potential customers about your business idea.

Talking to people is the key to find out about your ideas. But this key must be used correctly, otherwise it will make your life worse, not better.

Truth Talking for Business Ideas

  1. 1. Truth Talking for Business Ideas Getting true feedback from potential customers about your business idea
  2. 2. HOW TO BUILD SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WILL BUY 2
  3. 3. A successful Business Idea contains at least: On top of that, you also need ■ to reach the customers via a marketing channel (direct sales, online marketing, physical store, …) ■ get paid enough to run the business Always check customer-problem- solution first. These slides teach you how. 3) Accepted Solution • From the customers point of view 2) Relevant Problem • Relevant = Happens often, costs a lot of money, causes lot of frustration. • The problem can also be a desire. 1) Customer Segment • A group of people or companies with the same problem, and often other similarities, too. Talk to people!
  4. 4. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 Your Business Idea is: Sell solution S to customer segment C, so that they can solve their problem P. ■  Assumptions  C is a large enough customer segment  C has problem P  Problem P is relevant (costly, frustrating, time consuming)  C has enough money to pay for P  S solves problem P Your business idea is a list of assumptions, of how to make money You need to find out as soon as possible, a cheap as possible, which assumptions are true and where you need to tweak and adapt your business idea. Luckily, that’s possible by talking to people in the right way.
  5. 5. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 How To Talk to People ■ Decide on customer segment ■ Make cold contact ■ Talk to 5 people  Ask about problem  Show your “demo”, ask for feedback  Take notes • Good: One person talks, one takes notes ■ Talk to more (10+) people, until answers become predictable  Use your notes (=cold, hard data) to decide where to tweak/adapt your business idea 5 “If it sounds weird to unexpectedly interview people, then that's only the case because you're thinking of it as an interview instead of a conversation. The only thing people love talking about more than themselves is their problems. Source: The Mom Test Book
  6. 6. CUSTOMER SEGMENT A group of people or companies with the same problem, and often other similarities, too. 6
  7. 7. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 Customer Segment ■ Choose a customer segment for your idea  Start with a very small segment and get to know it well • It’s much better to have a few enthusiastic, must-have paying customers than many nice-to-have non-paying non-customers.  If people give you different answers, make your segment smaller • Within this group, which type of this person would want it most? ■ Make contact  If you cannot find and talk to potential customers, you will never sell them anything. Choose a different segment.
  8. 8. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 How To Your Customer Segment ■ Where can we find our demographic groups? ■ Explore your existing social contacts well  Good candidates are likely present, you just don't know that yet ■ Go to where your customers are already  Physically: fairs, conferences, the café next to the office, …  Digitally: Social media, blogs, …  What are these people already doing to achieve their goal or survive their problem? Where can we find people doing these workaround behaviors? ■ Create a new contact place and invite potential customers  Physically: meet-ups, lecturing, speeches  Digitally: build a landing page, advertise it, harvest email addresses, make contact by phone ■ Cold Contact  Fact: ca. 2 out of 100 people react to cold calls on the phone. Just keep going. ■ Anything that works  8
  9. 9. Getting too many different results? Go back and choose a smaller customer segment. Warm Intros Cold Contact Find your customers Choose your customers To Whom To Talk?
  10. 10. RELEVANT PROBLEM • Relevant = Happens often, costs a lot of money, causes lot of frustration. • The problem can also be a desire. 10
  11. 11. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 The Mom Test – What people say ■ You: Mom, I have a business idea. Do you have 5 minutes? ■ Mom: Of course, dear  … ■ You: You like your iPad and use it a lot? ■ Mom: Sure, it’s great.  … ■ You: Would you buy a cookbook app? ■ Mom: I love cookbooks, sounds nice. Does it come with vegan recipes? Or something special for Xmas?  … Sounds good? But does your mum really think? 11Source: The Mom Test Book
  12. 12. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 The Mom Test – What people think ■ You: Mom, I have a business idea. Do you have 5 minutes? ■ Mom: Of course, dear  I’m proud of you and I don’t want to hurt your feelings ■ You: You like your iPad and use it a lot? ■ Mom: Sure, it’s great.  I use it to check email on the sofa. ■ You: Would you buy a cookbook app? ■ Mom: I love cookbooks, sounds nice. Does it come with vegan recipes? Or something special for Xmas? Well, I have plenty of cookbooks. I don’t need a computer in my kitchen – it might get dirty! But hey, if my kid made it, I’ll try. App? I never bought an app. Don’t you need to enter your credit card for that? Let me try to change the subject. 12Source: The Mom Test Book
  13. 13. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 The Mom Test – How to do it right You: ■ Mom, when have you last time used the iPad? ■ For what? ■ Have you ever used it in the kitchen? ■ Have you ever bought an app? Which? Why? For how much? ■ Do you use your cookbooks? ■ Is there anything you dislike about them? ■ What was the last cookbook you bought? When? Why?  Next slides: The patterns/techniques for doing it right 13Source: The Mom Test Book
  14. 14. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 How Structure Your Conversation ■ Problem & Solution  First, learn all about the problem – Then mention your solution idea for the first time • You own the solution, the customer owns the problem. Or as Rob Fitzpatrick said: you aren’t allowed to tell them what their problem is – they aren’t allowed to tell you what to build ■ Ask questions, make the customer talk ■ If possible: Keep it casual/informal to get more honest answers ■ Ask questions, for which you are afraid of the answer ■ Ask: “What else should I have asked?”  Sometimes this unlocks a lot of domain expertise ■ Ask: “To whom else should I talk to?”  Less cold contacts to make  If people refer you, that is a sign of interest/trust. ■ Typical conversation takes maybe 5-15 minutes
  15. 15. How To Talk About Problems Good Data ■ Ask about specifics in the past  When did the problem happened last time?  Can you walk me through each step?  How did you solve it?  How much time/money/frustration did it cost?  What have you tried to avoid/solve the problem?  Who pays for solutions to such a problem? ■ Ask what happened (= true data), not what the customer believes will happen (= fiction). Bad Data When the customer says: ■ I always/never …  Simply not true ■ I would/will …  Customer has a rosy picture of him/herself ■ I might/could …  You also might not. This is simply not data, but fiction. ■ When the customer has product ideas …  ask, what problem that would solve 15Source: The Mom Test Book
  16. 16. ACCEPTED SOLUTION From the customers point of view 16
  17. 17. How To Demo Your Solution You show your “demo” ■ Anything that let’s the customer imagine how the solution would change his life ■ But not more detailed than necessary! Example for an app: ■ Good demo: Scribble on paper card  People say: “I don’t need the third view, ever”. ■ Bad demo: Looks like a real app  People only say: “Make this button a little smaller”. You obviously spent a lot of work on the demo, so they criticize less.
  18. 18. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 Get Commitments Ask for commitment ■ Especially in B2B settings, ask for some commitment to find out, how much the customer loves your idea Commitments ■ Can you introduce me to your boss?  customer pays with time, reputation ■ Can you pay a first rate for the solution?  customer pays with money ■ Result: Data  You make a step forward – or –  You stop with this customer ■ Both is better than “it looks good, but nothing moves”
  19. 19. USE YOUR DATA
  20. 20. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 How To Takes Notes What to write down? ■ emotions (!)  No selling without emotions. Where does the customer get excited or angry? ■ problems  Maybe you discover many other related problems. ■ goals  Surprisingly weird goals can be found in reality ■ workarounds  Study the workarounds. How well do they work? What do they cost? Are you better? ■ obstacles (“We are not allowed to use smartphones here”)  You need to know the constraints. ■ ideas/feature requests  Just write them down and move back to the problem side of things. ■ budgets/buying process  Very important! Who has the money? What are their goals? ■ follow-up tasks  To not forget anything you promides ■ referenced persons/companies  Surely not loose this data. 20
  21. 21. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 Use your Data ■ Check your assumptions  Which turned out to be true/validated and which are rather false/invalidated?  Adapt your idea to your changed perception of reality. 21
  22. 22. “EXAM”
  23. 23. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 Good meeting or bad meeting? ■ “That’s so cool. I love it!” ■ “Looks great. Let me know when it launches.” ■ “There are a couple people I can intro you to when you’re ready.” ■ “What are the next steps?” ■ “I would definitely buy that.” ■ “When can we start the trial?” ■ “Can I buy the prototype?” ■ “When can you come back to talk to the rest of the team?” fail, no commitment fail, no commitment mostly fail, customer decides you’re not ready success fail, no commitment success in DE, failure in US  success! success 23
  24. 24. COPYRIGHTDR.MAXVÖLKEL.,2015 Literature ■ The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick  momtestbook.com and foundercentric.com  Version 1.0 from August 1, 2013  Most content comes from this book ■ Running Lean by Ash Maurya  This is a good book for app/web- entrepreneurs ■ More references: http://bit.ly/entrep-links 24

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