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How Do I Get Real Market Input?

CaptainAmerica

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Hey all!

I'm trying to a slingshot into a new, better, more CENTS-ible market (selling shovels to gold miners). I want to reach out to my potential customers and see what they really need (as opposed to what I think they need).

HOW?

This is what stops me, stumps me, and gets my panties in a twist. I call people up, and they a) hang up on me, b) give vague answers to specific questions, or c) make rude comments and *then* hang up on me. Obviously, I'm going at this all wrong.

Granted, I have let initial failure derail me. But I have a new list of business owners in a semi-regulated industry, and actually want to hear from them. What has worked for you in doing market research? I've learned that saying I'm doing market research gets more aggressive 'never call me again' responses than anything else.

I need a softer approach that still gets results. People say 'it's like dating' - which doesn't actually help me, as I haven't done that successfully either.

TIA!
 

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broswoodwork

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Hey all!

I'm trying to a slingshot into a new, better, more CENTS-ible market (selling shovels to gold miners). I want to reach out to my potential customers and see what they really need (as opposed to what I think they need).

HOW?

This is what stops me, stumps me, and gets my panties in a twist. I call people up, and they a) hang up on me, b) give vague answers to specific questions, or c) make rude comments and *then* hang up on me. Obviously, I'm going at this all wrong.

Granted, I have let initial failure derail me. But I have a new list of business owners in a semi-regulated industry, and actually want to hear from them. What has worked for you in doing market research? I've learned that saying I'm doing market research gets more aggressive 'never call me again' responses than anything else.

I need a softer approach that still gets results. People say 'it's like dating' - which doesn't actually help me, as I haven't done that successfully either.

TIA!
Send them a free fully functioning small taste of what you want to sell them in exchange for some feedback, or skip the feedback all together if they want to just start buying. I think... but i may be remembering wrong... MJ said he used to do this with limo leads to break a new account.
 

ambrosinibello

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Trade shows are pretty good. Network is key. LinkedIn and try to ask “need based questions” to understand customers problem and if they’d be willing to solve it with you’re. That’s what I do for products I sell when I do sales
 

Walter Hay

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Granted, I have let initial failure derail me. But I have a new list of business owners in a semi-regulated industry, and actually want to hear from them. What has worked for you in doing market research? I've learned that saying I'm doing market research gets more aggressive 'never call me again' responses than anything else.
I have used two methods, both DIY, for the simple reason that just as I found that advertising agencies could not comprehend what my products were all about, market researchers couldn't either.

My market research was to assess the market in other countries for the products that I was selling very successfully B2B in Australia.

The first part of my research involved phoning competitors pretending to be a customer. This was during one of my regular visits to New Zealand. I quickly discovered a couldn't care less attitude among "sales" staff. (order takers). They were also ignorant in relation to their own products, often being unable to identify the differences between product types. Knowing their weaknesses was a great help.

Then I traveled to New Zealand again, this time with a well prepared list of potential customers there. I visited them, not cold calling as a sales rep, but acting more like a messenger boy. When I got to see the decision maker, I didn't ask what they thought of the products, but actually acted as salesman, selling the products. I made a good number of sales, which I fulfilled from Australia, bearing the extra freight cost.

The result was that I very quickly knew that I could gain a big market share, not only because of having obtained orders on my first visit, but because they told me of the poor service they received from local suppliers.

I had already set up a company structure in New Zealand, and set about advertising franchises which I was able to sell easily because I already had customers. I adopted the same research methods in the other countries where I also set up a franchise network.

The two keys were:
1. Not asking to see the buyer, but simply asking the receptionists to pass on my little package to the person responsible for such purchases. The package contained an irresistible pitch. It often led to a call within minutes on my mobile inviting me to return, sometimes immediately.
2. Having a product that could be demonstrated. You might not have a physical product to demonstrate but a competent sales person, knowing every aspect of a service or product could "demonstrate" it.

Walter
 

NursingTn

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Step 1) create the cheapest, simplest, functioning version of your service/product, e.g. if I am starting a power washing service, I'll get the cheapest power washer OR rent a power washer at the cheapest price

Step 2) start marketing the service/product, e.g. door to door, direct mail postcards/flyers, social media ads like FB, search engine ads like Google, etc.

The secret with step 2 is set a tiny budget for each marketing strategy to see what gives you the most info if people do or do not like your service/product and other feedback. This way, you wont blow all of your money away to test out ideas.

For example, I spent 80 bucks on Google ad to advertise a chiropractic service. Guess what? I find it isn't the best strategy to find patients, but i gained a lot of valuable data, e.g. people do in fact associate chiropractor with back pain treatment, so that's a "feature" we need to capitalize on.

Step 3) once you find a service/product with a marketing strategy that seems promising and is getting you actual clients, it's time to flesh out the business and become an expert in that marketing strategy. End result: profit.

That's what has been working for me. You can ask people all you want, but at the end of it, if they're willing to throw money at you even if the quality of your business service/product isn't the best, then you probably have a very promising venture to undertake.
 

NMdad

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If you have no product or service but are doing very preliminary mining for needs you can meet, then phone & in-person conversations can work well. But, it sounds like you need to tweak & test your intro script.

Instead of "I'm doing some market research...", you can experiment with phrases like:
  • I'm an entrepreneur
  • talking with other [prospect types--e.g., CEOs of industrial lubricant companies]
  • about [general topic area--e.g., sourcing raw materials]
  • I'm NOT selling anything. [This is key--it diffuses most suspicions]
  • Your name keeps popping up in [industry circle], and I wanted to get your opinion on [topic area].
  • Would it be OK if I asked you 1-2 questions about [topic area]?
  • [After you talk with them] Thanks--your input has been super helpful! Who else do you think might be good for me to talk to about [topic area]?
Also, a 2-step process can work better, where you send a very short email (which is your intro script in writing) & then immediately call to ask "did you get my email"; then you can launch into your script.

At this stage, your goal is simply to experiment so you can find out how to get industry insiders to talk to you. Once you've had even 1 conversation, you'll acquire industry details that you can use on the next call--for example, you'll be able to say things like "I was talking to another [prospect type], and they mentioned [specific problem/need/frustration]--what's your experience been with that?"
 

Nils Löwe

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I regularly research 100-200 potential customers on xing or LinkedIn and send them a very short message.

Headline : would you help me Mr xyz?
Content : I'm trying to understand the problems of the xzy industry and your name appeared. Could you do me a great favor and answer on one quick sentence, which problem causes you the biggest pain in your day to day work?

I usually have response rates above 30% and many offer me to call them.
 
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CaptainAmerica

CaptainAmerica

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Thank you all for your help! I'm going to do all these things, and for sure something's going to stick!
 

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