5 Steps to Study Your Customer

Market research is a big part of online business. It’s the biggest cog in making products and offers.

Unfortunately, when you research your audience, you ask them what their problem is and the answers you get won’t necessarily be true all the time. It’s not like they mean to lie to you, but in most cases, people are not able to clearly articulate their problems and end up giving inaccurate answers.

And that could send you months back on your projects.

So to avoid all the extra work, and hassle and save you months of work, I’ll show you how you can get some real answers out of people without having to talk to a lot of people.

Syntax of your Question

I could give you some long answer as to “why most people don’t do good market research” but all you need to know is this.

The type of questions you ask matter more than you think.

Research or study is a game of psychology and syntax. Questions are a way of directing attention to a subject matter.

To put things into perspective, what would you answer if I asked you: “

  1. What are you doing to achieve your goals?” vs
  2. “What are you doing so you fail less than yesterday?”

You get 2 wildly different responses.

Similarly, the way you frame your questions will define the answers you get from people and or the internet.

The simplest, most effective form of questioning is the Socratic Question with 6 types of questions you can ask someone to get the answer you need

  1. Clarification
  2. Challenge Assumptions
  3. Search for Evidence
  4. POV
  5. Find Tradeoffs
  6. Questioning your Question

But instead of telling you, I’ll show you how I applied this principle to help KYLE ADAMS ideate his product.

(I don’t get these types of responses by being off the cuff and unintentional)

Here’s how you can do it

Step 1: Set your intentions

The only way you are getting the answers you want from people is to be clear about what you are trying to find. You won’t be able to separate a normal comment from a valuable insight if you don’t know what you are fishing for.

Plus, the human brain is wired to be direct in most cases, so when you ask someone what their goals are for the business, they’ll say something generic like “grow it to $10K”. The answer isn’t really wrong here, it’s the question that was wrong.

So be clear on your intentions

For Example: I want to learn the pressing problems faced by someone with a service business, which makes them want to diversify their sources of income into info products or digital products.

Step 2: Draw out questions centered around the intention

Having set a specific intention in the previous steps, you must think backward. You can go from every possible type of questioning mentioned in the earlier section.​

  1. Clarification – Why do you want to diversify your business? What do you think is the main issue?
  2. Challenge Assumptions – Why do you think this will solve your problem? What else have you considered?
  3. Searching for evidence – What made you think this is the problem? Why do you think your user will benefit from this? Would this tie into your brand?
  4. POV – What might someone who knows you expect from your solution? Are you trying to teach or get results? Can this really be what your user finds to be the best thing about your business?
  5. Find Trade-Offs – If we do this, what are we potentially giving up on? How would it affect your workflow or ecosystem? Would this fare well with what we have learned so far?
  6. Questioning the Question – What is the main thing we are trying to do here? What was the point of your solution?

You don’t need to have the questions in a linear order, nor do you need them to be word for word.

The point of this is to get you as much clarity from your people as possible.

Not that you will get perfect answers, but with each passing question you should be able to get rid of unneeded variables and generalized assumptions/responses from your user.

The best part, you don’t need a long list of questions either, you just need a select 8-10 that will get you the most important insights for your project.

Step 3: Find people to talk to

There are many ways you can find people to talk to, but the best way is to do it with organic content and conversations.

This can be done easily by posting content around your projects

  1. Progress updates
  2. Philosophy of the product
  3. Benefits of doing it your way

And hop on the DMs with the people who engage with this content.

Or Do what I did and look for signals.

There’s people on social media who are actively building something and hit a wall. Although you need to be a little proactive in this, you’ll find that these people are more willing to talk to you because they want help anyway.

I helped a newsletter operator find ideas for his product so he can monetize his list, I even gave out ideas to already established creators on how they can leverage their existing audience and material to build something for their audience.

You can talk to these people in chats or on calls, but since most people are busy and can’t bother to get on a call for your convenience I’d say go for the DMs.

Step 4: Ask a question

You’ve got people willing to talk to you, great, but don’t make things sales, and don’t make them feel like they are under scrutiny.

Nobody wants to feel like they are being attacked. Nobody wants to know what they’ve done wrong until they ask you to do so. So when the pleasantries are out of the way, don’t go attacking them, just ask what they need help with.

AND WAIT.

If you have chosen and framed your question correctly, it’ll make them think, and if they are serious they will tell you to wait as they are giving the question some thought.

You don’t want to interrupt them in their thought process… EVER. All that does is get you half answers, which is no good to you or them.

You want the interaction to be enlightening for both sides.

Step 5: Listen, Reflect, Explain & Summarize

Once they answer, Read it. Listen to it. Study it. Too many people lose a huge chunk of insight just because they take audience answers as they are.

Taking a response on its word value isn’t enough at this point. You must reflect on their responses and find triggers… repeat their responses more clearly and concisely back to them, and ask them if “this is what you meant when you said this?”

If the response you got isn’t clear enough, or if they didn’t get the question clear enough, explain the question and its significance so they can give you a better response.

And when they do, with all their reasoning and circumstances summarize your question and their answer back to them again so you get a confirmation to their answers and intentions.

In this first sentence, motivate the reader by telling them of the light at the end of the funnel.

Explain what this step & others before it all ladders up to. Be specific & give the reader hope as to what they can expect as a result of taking these steps.

Step 6: Repeat to collect data

You are pretty much through with the process. Now all you must do is repeat this same 5-step cycle for the rest of your questions.

The advantage of doing things this way is you don’t suffer from the “wisdom of the crowd” dilemma. You don’t need to collect a whole lot of responses to make your product or offer.

You can get a better result with just 10 right people, with much less stress and trouble, and give enough time to understand the people you would be building your project for.

If you can spot the same reasoning and response in more than 6 people of the same ideal user, you’ve got yourself responses that are pretty much common for the same type of psychographic.

You can use this data to

  • build your product
  • write your copy
  • craft your offer
  • add elements to give you an edge

But all this relies on you crafting the questions that will give you the answer you want. This can’t be done fast, so be prepared to spend some time on your question.

If you do, collection and interpretation becomes way faster and easier.

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Final Words

This mode of questioning is not only great for research, but for communication and consultation as well. The most amazing part is, that you don’t need to do a lot of setup for this to work, you can literally begin anytime.

All you have to do is

  1. Set intentions
  2. Draw out questions
  3. Find a participant
  4. Ask the questions
  5. Listen, Reflet, Explain, and summarize
  6. Ask better questions
  7. Keep going until you have enough information

The best way to do this would be in 60-minute sprints. Spending 10-15 minutes on each question and response.

I hope that makes things lean and simple without having to use expensive market research tactics.

And if you need help with your info products, you can always find me on Twitter.

If you want to cut to the chase and all the pressure of figuring everything out the complex details and roadmap, check out the INFO PRODUCT BUILDER KIT. A complete plug-and-play pack of roadmaps, worksheets, and templates to help you build your first or signature info product in a matter of weeks

Whenever you are ready, there are 2 ways I can help you

  • Book a 1:1 Clarity Call. I’ll help you find & plan the best info-product for your business.
  • The Info Product Builder Kit: A plug-and-play roadmap, templates, and checklists to help you build your signature info products in a matter of weeks. (Join the Waitlist and get a Free 1:1 clarity Call for your next info product)