The 3 Rules to Customer Interviews from The Mom Test

Following these three rules from The Mom Test will help you get to the answers that really matter from your customers.

James Gamble
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March 8, 2023

The most important rules to follow when talking to a customer about your product

I recently dove into The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. The book offers advice on how to conduct effective customer interviews for entrepreneurs and startup founders. The key idea is that entrepreneurs often make the mistake of asking customers the wrong questions, resulting in misleading feedback. Here are the three most important rules to follow when talking to a customer about your product.

Rule 1: Talk about their life instead of your idea

The first rule is to avoid pitching your idea to customers and instead focus on understanding their problems and needs. The goal of the interview should be to learn about the customer's context, how they currently solve their problems, and what challenges they face. If you just pitch your idea, you lock the customer into agreeing politely instead of them telling you what the problem you can fix is.

Rule 2: Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future

The second rule is to ask specific questions about the customer's past experiences instead of hypothetical or future-oriented questions. Customers are more likely to provide accurate feedback based on their past experiences than their opinions about the future.

Rule 3: Talk less and listen more: The third rule is to listen more than you talk

 Active listening is essential as it prevents you from leading customers towards a certain answer (one you may just want to hear). Instead, the goal is to let customers speak and provide their insights and perspectives without interruption or influence from the interviewer.

If you follow these three rules when reaching out and speaking with customers, you’ll be on the right path for success in creating the most successful product that customers will actually pay for.

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