I watched a video by Eric Migicovsky (YC Partner) about how to talk to users. My summary:
1\ Good founders maintain a direct connection to their users throughout the lifespan of the entire company. No middleman!
Founders can hire salespeople, they can hire a head of product but at the core, the best companies are the ones where the founders themselves maintain a direct connection to their users.
Write code. Talk to users.
2\ Talk about their life, not your idea.
During a user interview, that's not the time to be pitching the product. The goal of a great user interview – is to extract information from the person that you're talking to. To extract data that will help you improve the product or improve your marketing or improve your positioning.
It is not to sell them on using your product. Listen, don't talk.
3\ Talk specifics, not hypotheticals.
You need to talk about specifics around the problem area that you're trying to solve that the user may be going through.
4\ The best startups are looking for problems that people face on a regular basis. Or that they're painful enough to warrant solving.
5\ Core questions:
– What's the hardest part about [doing this thing that you're trying to solve] ?
– Tell me about the last time you encountered that problem...
– Why was that hard?
– What, if anything, have you done to try to solve the problem?
– What don't you love about the solutions you've already tried?
6\ What else can you find out:
– How much does this problem cost them? How much money is wasted today as they try to solve this problem?
– How frequent is the problem? Hourly basis? Daily basis? Quarterly basis? Yearly basis?
– How large is their budget?
7\ Talking to users is useful at all stages:
– Idea stage: (Got idea?) → find users with problem
– Prototype stage: (Built prototype?) → Identify best first customers
– Launched stage: (Launched?) → Iterate towards product market fit
8\ Why talk to users?
To figure out which features you need to build in order to iterate, in order to improve your product to get to product market fit.
How many users have you talked to in the last week? And what advice can you give about that?