Hacking the customer discovery process – part 1

I’m the type of person that needs to understand things in a very methodical way.  Must be due to my engineering background, but I like things explained very clearly, so when it comes to customer development, it’s not enough that I hear, “talk to customer to find their pain points”, I need to know how to find potential customers who are willing to talk to me and I need to know how to talk to them… details!  So, I’m going to try to find as detailed a process as I can.  Here’s what I have so far from a podcast at Mixergy.


My break down of Dane’s call with Pool Guy.  What are your contributions?  What do you see/hear differently?


1.  Start by asking what a typical work day looks like

a. What is the most important area of your business

I. Ask for a “step by step” explanation – “What steps do you go through when doing that?”

II. Write down every step so you can recall it easily later

2.  When you hear a step in the process that could do with more explanation or a break down into smaller tasks

a.  Repeat the previous steps you heard in the process up to the step you want details for confirmation and to show them you’re listening

b.  At the step you want more detail, you repeat what he said and ask a question about that step to probe for more detail

c.  Ask follow up questions to get more details about the sub-steps

3.         At any point that the person complains about something in the process try one of the following

a.  Say, “that sounds really painful”

I.  This can lead to the person agreeing and going into more detail about the pain points

b.  Ask them how much it costs them when that painful problem occurs

4.         Continue repeating the steps you hear to confirm and to assure the person you’re listening

5.  Repeat step 2 & 3 until you hear an issue during step 3 that is clearly something the person finds very painful and demonstrates it has a high cost to them

a.  If the person offers their own software solution, make notes of this


Posted in customer development, lead generation
One comment on “Hacking the customer discovery process – part 1
  1. Great post! Thanks for mentioning Mixergy

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