Step 4: Conducting the interview (facts, time & money)

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So at this point you’ve got your questions and you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and have the conversation. And there’s one more quick trick I want to tell you about which we call the framework of “facts, time and money”.

Facts, Time & Money

As your question funnel narrows, you’ll notice the example questions we talked about fit into one of three key categories: facts, time or money. If you can remember to explore all three of these areas, you’re more likely to emerge with a more complete picture of that current state.

Fact-based questions, such as our anchor question and follow up questions like “can you tell me more?”, encourage the customer to keep talking so you’re less likely to miss details. Examples:

  • Your anchor question
  • Followup questions like “can you tell me more?” and “how did that feel?”

Time-based questions serve two purposes: you’ll learn the amount of time a problem has existed, which gives you insight into the level of frustration a customer feels. You’ll also see how frequently, or not very frequently, your problem crops up for a customer. Examples:

  • “How long have you been dealing with X?”
  • “When was the last time that happened?”

Money-based questions will help you understand how motivated customers are to actually do something about this. If the answers are anything like “no”, “none” or “zero”, you’ll want to evaluate how motivated customers really are about this problem. Examples:

  • “Have you tried anything in order to solve the problem?”
  • “Have you spent money on this before?”

Aside from picking up great nuggets of research to use later, customer conversations are helping you accomplish some other things as well. First, you’ve already gotten this person to vocalize and admit the truth about her problem, which makes her a great potential early adopter of your concept later down the road.

You’re also learning exactly what it feels like to be in the shoes of your customers, so when it’s time to craft your marketing copy you’ll be miles ahead of the game.

The psychology behind buying decisions tells us that most people buy based on emotion and later justify with reason to avoid buyer’s remorse. Using the “facts, time and money” framework helps us cover both intuitive and logical ground.

Okay, you now have everything you need to start talking with real people! In the last step we’ll talk about how to debrief the conversations and draw some conclusions.