What if I don’t learn anything useful? What if this feels like a bad first date with long, awkward silences? What if my interviewee feels like I’m wasting her time? Thousands of interviews later, I’ve learned that you control the tone of the conversation. When you speak confidently, set expectations appropriately, and express genuine curiosity, people talk. When you close with heartfelt appreciation, you build a relationship and people are happy to talk with you again in the future.
I still keep in touch with a couple dozen people I met through customer development interviews. This chapter gives you the tools to create comfortable and constructive interviews. As we walk through the interview process play-by-play, we’ll cover effective tactics and explain why they work. Every interview after the first is easier. For that reason, I recommend doing a practice interview with someone you know who is not one of your target customers.
A practice interview won’t validate your hypotheses, but it will give you the opportunity to test the process and improve your interview techniques before moving on to real subjects.