“Talk to people.” is the simple advice I received from my business coach and mentor, Reina Pomeroy of Reina and Co.
When I attended the Creative at Heart Conference this August, I heard those words once again. Tiffany Tolliver, the brand designer, and stylist behind The EmmaRose Agency shared the importance of taking the time to speak to your ideal clients.
Taking the time to conduct ideal client interviews when starting a business or developing a new product or service is an invaluable tool because you receive straightforward feedback from the people who you want to buy your offering.
What Are ideal client interviewS?
An ideal client interview is a meeting or phone call with a dream client where you ask open-ended questions and receive feedback on a product or service you provide or plan to provide. A client interview typically lasts 20 to 30 minutes and allows you to have a conversation with an ideal customer that will help you understand your audience and offer the products and services they are looking to purchase.
You can use the information from your interviews to design products and services specifically for your ideal clients!
Before you start your interviews, put together a list of potential interviewees. Review past clients/customers and add anyone to the list that you enjoyed working with or would like to work with again.
Once you have determined what 8-10 people you want to reach out to, create a short and personal email requesting their time to answer a few questions. Make the process as easy as possible for the interviewees and include a scheduling link (I love Acuity) so they can quickly and easily schedule the call.
What Should I Ask?
Before you get on the phone, brainstorm a list of questions you want to ask. Ask about what pain points and challenges they are experiencing around your zone of genius, questions specific to your product/service and what might make their life easier.
After putting my list of interviewees together, I realized many on the list had key things in common. The majority of people on my list had been in business 2-5 years, so they were not new biz owners. You may find some parallels in your interviewees that can help you formulate your questions.
I put a handy list of questions together to get you started! Grab them below!
During the actual interview process, I recommend recording the interview so you can be present throughout the whole conversation. You can use Skype, Zoom or iPhone to record. Just make sure you let your interviewees know they are being recorded.
Recording your conversation will allow you to listen, assess and spend time reviewing what interviewees had to say.
After the Interview
After the interviews, send follow up emails thanking the interviewees and if applicable, pitch your product or service if you feel it is is a good fit. If you want to go the extra mile, write a handwritten thank you note. Everyone loves to receive snail mail and it adds an extra level of thoughtfulness.
Once all of your interviews are complete, take the time to listen or have them transcribed via a service like Rev. Pick out keywords and phrases you can use in your website copy and create a swipe file with your favorites. Be sure to note any suggestions or ideas the interviewees had for your business.
The information you gain from ideal client interviews is invaluable. You can improve your service or product and learn how to speak your client’s language. When you take the time to do client interviews, you will be able to create products and services your dream clients are looking to purchase. When you offer people what they want, you will be more successful and make more money!