GET OUT THERE: Using your free time to talk to customers
It’s summer, which means you are free from school, have time to hang out, and can get moving on your business. This time is particularly great for going out and talking with potential customers about your concept since more people are out and about. Engaging with potential customers is an involved and personal activity, so use this window where you have freedom to schedule time and put in that extra effort to reach out them.
The ability to introduce yourself and steal a few minutes of someone’s time is daunting but necessary. Approaching random person and asking them for an opinion on your concept can be awkward, but if they can provide you with actionable feedback, the exercise could be the most valuable thing you do. Here are some things to consider:
- Realize that they are people, too. We interact with people every day, this time it’s just with someone you don’t have a previous connection to, and that’s okay.
- There is always something to gain (more often than not). Meeting new people and talking to potential customers can provide insight, opinions from different background, and a new contact.
- No harm, no fowl. Sometimes the conversation may get lead down a different path or you receive criticism. Still, these things are important to -- but not let bring you down. if anything, you’ve improved your communication skills.
Now when going through this exercise, there are three types of people you need to be concerned about:
- Potential customers that do not yet know about your company (the vast majority of people)
- People that know about your company, but are not currently customers
- People that are already purchasing your product (if you are this far in the startup journey)
Consider these questions for each category. These will help you identify potential trends where you can make an immediate change to your concept:
- Why is this person unaware of my company? What are the best ways to reach them?
- Why are they not customers if I know I can help them and my product is better than what is currently available?
- Why do they continue to come back? What could make the product better?
Again, try not to get discouraged if the first couple people you approach ignore you, it will make the feedback you do get more valuable in the end, guaranteed.
A challenge to you: introduce yourself to five people you think could fit into your target customer profile and sell them on your concept and share your experience here. *
*This should be an exercise you are constantly practicing since things change so quickly. Having a pulse check on your customers will make the difference in being proactive with making decisions rather than reacting to an unexpected event.