Not only can market visits change your perspective, they can also change the focus of your product and your company. However, until you actually start doing them, there’s no way you can internalize the impact they will make on your life. While many of us are accustomed to sharing information that our clients want, market visits require us to come in and do the opposite of that, which can create some discomfort. The best way to overcome that discomfort is simply to dive in and do one. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Be clear about the types of people that you want to connect with and think about where you can find them. Do they attend the same conferences that you do? Do they post on the blogs that you read?
Initially, it may be easier to reach out to potentials rather than current customers. These are people in the market who aren’t yet leads in your system, but they are representative of the segment that you’re trying to reach. They look like your buyers or users but don’t have any preconceived ideas attached to your product or company.
Although you will want to spend some time preparing for your market visit, you really want to focus on being curious. Ask yourself, “What are the things that I don’t know?” The one question I like most is, why? Ask people why they do something a specific way. How is that working for them?
With potentials, you want to understand why they are not buying your product—and if they haven’t bought your product or a competitor’s product, what are they doing instead? Imagine the beauty of discovering this information early on. For example, if you learn that potentials want your product once you tell them about it, you can avoid doing any additional, expensive product development work and bring product marketing into the mix instead. Position your market visit as a conversation between somebody who knows a lot and somebody who’s really curious and wants to learn more. Once you conduct multiple market visits, you’ll begin to identify trends and find the things that are most important to focus on.