3 Stumbling Blocks To Avoid When You Ask For Customers’ Needs

 1. You have your company’s logo tattooed (figuratively) on your forehead.

To you, the logo is invisible. Prospective customers act as if it were in plain sight.

Every so often, customers hold back on highlighting what are key long-term benefits to them of your new product idea. They respect your company’s technology competence and suspect you already know the importance of these needs.
You may recognize these needs. However, the priority the customers’ decision-makers place on them may escape you unless you ask “Why?”, as a Pupil might ask a Professor.

2. Being aware of your company’s technology prowess, a major customer wants to work with you in developing a new product idea for an emerging market

Usually this can be a good route to increased revenue. However, be prudent and gather independent knowledge of the importance of the product idea to end-users in the emerging market. Otherwise going ahead with product development, more often than not, won’t return the value of the resources you use.

3. As you shape the idea’s value proposition, use only customer surveys and interviews to ask for customers’ needs.

Employ the craft of elicitation to surface latent needs. Elicitation, “a conversation with an agenda”,  goes beyond surveys and interviews to draw forth previously unarticulated needs.

Digging deep, the elicitor understands what benefit customers gain if your product idea is modified to solve customers’ unmet needs. Then the product can outpace competitive products in both revenue growth and improved margins.