Ever had a BIG business idea that you want to bring to life? Or want to launch something you *know* you’re called to, and *know* that it can help a lot of people? But you have questions, wondering, “Do people really need/want this? Will they buy it? How can I clearly communicate the VALUE of it?”
You’re searching for clarity on whether or not creating this service will be worth your time, energy, and expertise. The best way to find out the answers to your questions is to ASK! In order words, when you ask your audience about their needs, challenges, and feedback on your proposed solution, you get more data, feedback, and confirmation on whether or not your idea will serve them (and therefore lead to more clients and more money in the bank).
The pre-validation process is probably one of the most POWERFUL yet under talked about tools for your sales process. So it’s time to let the “secret” out so you can get more clarity on your business ideas.
This week, I’ll share with you my process of pre-validating my ideas and my favorite go-to questions to ask so you you’re equipped with creating a method that works for you.
The reason why most people skip right over this step is because they get an inspired idea and want to implement it, like yesterday. Or, they have a vague idea of what they’d like to create and it feels scary to ask people for feedback before it's fully formalized.
Remember: the purpose of pre-validation is not to sell (yet), but it’s to get super curious about your prospect’s world and to confirm whether or not creating this service is worth pursuing.
A “real world” example of pre-validation would be figuring out what to give my husband for Christmas. When I assume I know what he wants or have an idea of what I think he needs, my gifts tend to flop (despite the amount of time, money, and energy I spent creating it). But when I take the time to find out what he wants, what would be helpful, and even asking for a wish list, my gifts truly meets his needs and ultimately serves him (which makes me a happy wife).
So where do you even start?
A simple and effective way is to create a survey through Google Forms or Typeform, or to conduct market research calls. For my 1:1 services, I prefer to conduct market research calls so I can ask people follow-up questions on the spot.
Keep in mind: DO NOT ASK friends and family. You may be tempted because it feels like scary, but unless they are your target demographic, they will either tell you it’s a good idea because they want to be nice (when they don’t fully understand what you’re doing), or tell you why it’ll flop (when they don’t fully understand what you’re doing). Neither is helpful at this point.
Instead, you could review questionnaires from your past clients, or you could post it in Facebook groups of people with your ideal clients, ask friend/family for referrals, or attend meet ups to build relationships with people who you could talk to. Starting with people you know and building out from there would be a great place to start.
1. Ask to Understand Your Client’s Needs and Challenges
To kick off, it’s important to understand what your prospect’s biggest needs and challenges are when it comes to your area of expertise. Sometimes we’re too close to what we do, or get stuck speaking industry language. These questions allow you to truly empathize with where they are by understanding what they’re dealing with.
Here are some of my favorites questions:
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to [your area of expertise here]?
What do you *wish* you knew about [your area of expertise here]?
What is your biggest [your area of expertise] goal? Why is that important to you?
I like to keep it conversational and my questions open-ended to let my prospects share what’s on their minds.
2. Asking to Understand Past Experiences
Sometimes it’s hard for people to clearly articulate what they want (…too many choices!), but it’s easy for people to talk about their past experiences and what they liked and didn’t like.
So these types of questions help uncover their thoughts on services and products they’ve used in the past. This information is valuable because they can key in on what’s important to them, and perhaps if there’s a gap or differentiator that you could potentially create.
Here’s some of my favorite questions to ask:
What have you tried in the past to help solve your [area of expertise] challenge?
What did you like about it?
If you were to do it again, what would you like to do differently?
I just like to get super curious (and non-judgmental) so I can understand where they are coming from.
3. Asking to Validate YOUR proposed solution
Sometimes ideas sound good in our heads, but when we ask people want their specific feedback is on it, their outside perspective is super valuable.
Here are some of my go-to questions around validating my idea:
After hearing what I’d like to create, what are you thoughts around [this feature]?
What are questions/concerns/feedback you have about [this solution]?
Would you buy this? How much would you pay for something like this?
Being straightforward that I value their opinion and want to create something that *truly* meets their needs, I open up the conversation to allow them to share their thoughts.
After going through the pre-validation process, you’re better equipped to make more informed decision on how to proceed with your business idea. I love to stay in touch with the people I talk to (and even offer them bonus incentives like a free coaching session, or discounts on the service I end up creating), because I couldn’t do it without their input. At the end of the day, my business exists to serve them so I want to make sure that my services and products are things that will ultimately help them build a business and life they desire.
If you would like a more deep dive resource for the pre-validation process, I recommend the resource, “Ask” by Ryan Levesque. He has a thorough and step-by-step process of helping you ask the right questions and what to do with it.
As always, feel free to reach out to let me know what your biggest takeaway is!