4 reasons why interviewing customers to see what they REALLY want doesn’t have to be torture + SCRIPT

When you see the words “market research,” what comes to mind?

  • digging the Yellow Pages out of the neighbor’s recycle bin and making 1,000 random cold calls over a 2-hour period?
  • scouting the streets for people who fit your target market’s demographic in hopes of interviewing them–on camera?
  • purchasing a premium software license for some survey thingamabob that you have to create the questions for yourself?

In the words of Scotland’s anti-independence slogan last year, “No thanks.”

If market research, interviewing customers, blah blah blah has the potential to be so, well, sucky…why do guys like Seth Godin, Ramit Sethi, and Noah Kagan say it’s SO critical to success in business?

Before we jump into the non-icky, zero-hassle market research campaign I conducted last spring that got more than a 75% response rate (and how easy it can be for you too), let’s start with why–why is market research a big-ass deal?

  1. getting inside your market’s head allows you to know what they want to buy before you even market your programs and services
  2. knowing what your market’s burning pains, hand-wringing obstacles, and fist-meets-wall frustrations are allows you to position your services and programs as the ultimate solution they will do anything to get their hands on
  3. discovering what your market is currently buying allows you to one-up the commodity crap they’re using right now so you get to compete on quality not price (i.e., never get haggled on your rates again)
  4. hearing your market’s hopes, dreams, and desires kicks the guesswork out of marketing and selling once and for all (never allow *crickets chirping* to be the response to your marketing)

Imagine being able to offer your services to an ideal prospect whom you know is a perfect fit for what you do. You don’t have to “sell” them, you simply need to show them how X service resolves Y problem using Z process.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about getting inside your customers’ heads. The types of questions we sampled were:

  • Have you guys bought courses that teach X?
  • How much have you guys paid for programs that show you how to do Y?
  • What problems have you guys had in Z area of your businesses?

The theme was past tense. Future tense questions (“Would you sign up for a service that does A, B, or C?”) are misleading because they’re based on assumptions–yours and the interviewees’.

You might be reading this and thinking, “Yeah, well that’s cool… How am I supposed to get out and meet potential clients to interview without being totally scammy or seem like I’m trying to ‘game’ them?

As I alluded to earlier, last spring I went on a market research tear. I created and tested an email script to reach out to peeps in my target market and got more than a 75% response rate (no, it wasn’t 3 out of 4 people; nearly 3 dozen in total, actually). And these were all influencers, experts, and movers-and-shakers I’d never met before. That may sound scary, so stay with me…

To give you some context, my mission was to either validate or invalidate an idea for a group coaching program for writers and authors. A major aspect of my “solo pro” work is in the ghostwriting, editing, and publishing realm. I’d been working one-on-one with authors since 2011, so why not go big or go home with a group program, right?

As a footnote, I landed conversations with multiple bestselling authors who made their sole living off writing. I tell you what, that was more than a little nerve-wracking. But I trusted the system I’d built rather than go with whatever my gut would tell me to say in the moment.

So here she is–your peek into my formula (privacy protected, of course). There’s a LOT going on here. I recommend reading each comment one at a time AFTER you’ve read the email once through.


There you have it. Feel free to use this as a template for your own market research/customer interview script. Since you’ve now got the scoop on the type of questions you should ask potential customers (see excerpt from last week’s article above), you’re ready to go.

Yes, you’ll want to customize what’s here to suit your needs. That’s the fun part. It’s like I’ve said before–I’m not asking you to believe/hope/pretend/wish this will work for you, I’m asking you to test it and find out how well it works for you.

So moving forward, I’d like to know how you envision using a script just like this. The key is to depend upon a formula, NOT on your own willpower, determination, patience, or intuition. That’s the realm where nerves kick in big time.

If you’ve got any questions about this customer interview script, market research in general, or would like support crafting your own email script to reach out to potential interviewees, shoot a message to Joshua@BeyondFreelance.com. I read every single e-mail.

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