You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 72.
Welcome to My Freedom Grove podcast. The all inclusive podcast that teaches mindset and business tools. We'll help you rise as your authentic self. Be unshakable with your emotional freedom and unstoppable in achieving any goal and living your purpose. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. If you want to put your mental health first in life, relationships and business, you've come to the right place.
Hi my strong friends. I am trying something new with my podcast. I am going to do some batch recording. As your business starts taking off and you have a lot more opportunities popping up, a lot more experiments that you're trying, you're going to try to find ways that you can streamline your processes. So over the last year and a half, I've documented what a one-piece flow of doing podcast is like.
For anyone that doesn't know, one piece flow...that means that you have one thing that goes from step one, to step two, to step three, to step four, to step five. All the way until it's done. It doesn't have any waiting time. It's quite possible that as it's going through step one, two and three, tha you might have the next thing going through the same process. So if it's a podcast episode, the next episode might be at step one. But you never have any one piece in that same step at the same time.
Now batching is different. Batching is where you're going to do a whole bunch in one step. Then you're going to take the whole collection and you're going to move it to the next step and then move it to the next step. Now it's quite possible you could do a hybrid between the two. Which is what I'm going to do. I'm going to record several on one day. Then I'm going to allow that to go through one piece flow because one piece flow tends to work a lot better as far as getting things done and out the door. Just speaking from all of my years working in biotech and seeing how batch processing worked versus one piece. It's quite possible that you can get overloaded.
When you do batch processing at every single step, you're never getting anything out the door. You're creating all of these storage spaces for work. It just sits there. It's wasting some of your mental bandwidth as well as creating extra time in your processing. Now, why would I want to do some batch processing as far as recording of them all?
When you are a solopreneur, you gotta try to figure out how you're going to create flexibility in your schedule so that you can do these types of things.
So anyway, that's not what the point of today's podcast is. I wanted to go over customer research with you guys.
How much time have you spent with researching your customers? I know a lot of us just want to jump out there and start meeting potential customers as soon as possible. We're willing to work with anyone. When we first start out...doing some customer research and tracking it, recording down, what you're learning, is going to help you so much as you're figuring out your exact business model and also the different products and services that you're going to offer.
Customer research can happen every day. It doesn't mean that you have to set aside hours and hours to do this. It doesn't mean that you have to set aside a whole week to just sit down and research every time that you interact with a person. Even if it's a five minute interaction, you're going to learn something about them. You're going to learn something about your interaction with them. All of that. It's going to give you some of those data points for your research. You can record that down at any time.
Establishing some type of a record keeping system for yourself for this research is going to be something you want to do. If you're a journal writer, do you want to have one journal that is just specific for your customer research? Or do you like to use spreadsheets? I personally love to use spreadsheets because I keep it all in one place. It's online.
Then I can use it as part of a Traceability Matrix when I'm designing. The pieces of information can be incorporated into my next course. Where does that piece of information go? So it's like, I'm drawing the line from whatever that piece of data was, to exactly where I'm going to put it. It also helps me to have the backward/ forward traceability.
Scoping your project - If I'm doing a product, I'm doing a course or some type of a workshop or retreat or something. Why on earth am I doing this one feature? If you might find yourself questioning that... Because sometimes you've got a lot that you're throwing into your products and services and sometimes you want to scale back a bit. Because you've overdone it.
Having that backward traceability is super helpful because if you go back and you look and you find only one person asked for that one thing. Yet, you're putting in this huge amount of effort and that one person isn't even showing up, that would be a good thing that you could cut. If you are doing the backwards traceability and you find out 20 people asked for that, you'll probably want to keep it in there. Having some quantification might also be something you want to do. You don't have to, but it's helpful in cases like that.
So customer research. We're going to go over some of the things that you'll want to learn from your customer research. We'll go into depth. And then we're also going to talk about the different ways that you can go about doing that customer research.
First let's just think about what are some of the things that you would like to learn about a potential customer?
Who are they?
In the very beginning, you're still trying to figure out exactly who your ideal customer avatar is. You'll probably hear me refer to this as an ICA ideal customer avatar. Now I learned this from Amy Porterfield. If you have listened to any of her Online Marketing Made Easy podcast, you'll hear her talk about an ICA a lot. It's easier to use acronyms. Basically it's your ideal customer. Who is it that you want to work with? That's going to light you up.
You need to understand what is the pain point that they actually have. What are their dreams? And how is it, that you're a good match for them? And that they're a good match for you.
Remember you didn't get into business so that you could be drained by the people that you work with, doing work that really doesn't light you up, or working on problems that add to your stress level.
You're trying to find that sweet spot. What is the thing that you like to help people with the most? That you're really good at? That they also really want the help on? Because you can go and create all sorts of solutions, but if nobody actually wants help on it, then you just wasted a bunch of your time.
So your customer research. Yeah, it's going to be very, very important. One other thing that I want to share, because it was one of those aha moments for me. When you are trying to sell your stuff to people, when you're in the online world, a lot of times you're going to use your website and specifically sales pages to be able to sell to people. There's a certain formula that gets used on sales pages that is very effective. All of those pieces come directly from your log of all of the data that you've collected from your customer research.
If you have not done the customer research at all, or if you haven't kept a log of all of the stuff, when it's time for you to go and write sales pages, you're going to find yourself having a block. It's like, you know what it is that they need, but you're going to have a really hard time saying it. When you have their exact words and all of the data that you're going to collect, you can almost just copy and paste it directly into your sales page.
Now, when I went through Marie Forleo's B-School, I loved taking it. It was the only thing I could find that would show me the full end to end on business. Everybody else was just going into a niche or a micro niche on business. I wanted to learn all of the online business stuff. Customer research is where they start off in any of these types of courses. They're going to spend a ton of time in there. It's like pulling teeth because you're like, I just want to get out there and get clients, make sales.
In Marie's whole B-School experience, it wasn't until the very last section of her last module in her full course that made that connection between a sales page and your customer research.
It's like bookends. But if they don't tell you that upfront, this customer research part feels awful. You're like, oh my gosh, I'm just going to spend all of my time in research phase. And I'm never going to be able to get to this sales part.
Well, if you're at the sales part, if you're just trying to start there, you're going to get it all wrong. If you haven't done any of your customer research. So yeah, it's not just about designing your products and services. It's not just about your marketing. It's also about being able to actually make a sale at the end. So do your customer research.
Alright, so we're going to get into it. What are some of the things that you need to do? What are you looking for? What do you want to learn about these people? Now, remember you love your customers. Keeping that in mind is going to help you. These are the most interesting people on the planet. You love them like crazy. And you really, really want to know all of the details about them.
You want to know what they're struggling with. You want to know what their dreams are. So those two things, what are their struggles? What are their dreams?
The struggles could also just be pain points. What is it that they're struggling with? What is their pain? What are their dreams? Two biggest things. These will be your longest lists. So just keep them running. When you're talking to them, get them to complain as much as possible. Let them just vent, tell you all of their stuff. And then you're there writing it all down. What is it exactly? If you can get their exact words, even better. This is all really important because this is all the stuff that you can help them with. Their dreams are also important. They need help to be able to achieve their dreams.
Then you need to figure out, what do they actually want help on? It's so easy to hear someone share all of their struggles and you just want to jump in and help them with every single thing. What you're going to find is that some people, they didn't actually want help with any of it. They just needed to vent. And the venting itself was enough to resolve the discomfort that they were in.
People are not going to put in effort to resolve something, unless they're in a huge amount of pain. If they're in a huge amount of pain, they want to try to get away from that pain. They're either going to try to escape it with some unhealthy thing or distraction, or they're going to be willing to do some type of self-growth and try to resolve the pain.
What you're trying to find out from them is out of all of this stuff that they've listed, what are the things that they actually want to do work on?
Not the stuff that they want to escape. You know that they're willing to escape. Like they're just like, Nope, I'm just going to go watch a movie. And then I don't have to worry about that. I'm just going to go take a nap and I'm not going to have to worry about that. They already have a solution that works for them. That isn't a problem.
Now, if they're saying I have a problem that I take too many naps and that's costing me my relationship, or it's costing me being able to go out to work, then the naps can become one of the pain points. Eventually you'll find out what is the real thing. Their real challenge that was causing them to go take a nap, and then you'll be able to help them with that.
But what is it? What are all of those challenges? And what is it that is so important that they'd be willing to do the work on? That they actually want help with?
The other thing to try to figure out is, are there things that they're willing to spend money on to get help?
It's quite possible that they want help, but it's not that important. If they found out that they had to spend some money on it to get some help, they might be like, eh, no, that's okay. I can just live with this. Think about any repairs in your house. How many repairs do you allow to just go unrepaired? Because you can just live with it. Cause you don't want to part with the money. There's going to be all sorts of those types of pain points that people will share with you.
What type of questions would you use to be able to tell, is this something they actually want help with? That they'd be willing to pay for help with their dreams? Same thing. What are the dreams that are super, super important to them?
Now, of course, people will always say they want to win the lottery. That's probably not something that you can help them with. Like, that would be fun if you could, but yeah, no. So what really are all of their dreams? Don't be surprised if some of the dreams seem really small to someone else. It might seem like an impossible dream where when you're looking at it, you might be like, oh, well that's easy enough.
Like for me, buying a house to me is easy. I've done it five times and I've done it with $0 down multiple times. So to me, buying a house is easy, but it's not to a lot of other people.
So listen carefully to their dreams. What is it? And is it something that they would actually want help on trying to achieve that dream? Because there are some where the dream seems so impossible. They don't believe in themselves. And they really don't want to invest any time to try to get there. Of course, we know that we can help them to get to those dreams because anything is possible. All you have to do is resolve the obstacles that get in the way between the person and their dream. They're going to get it.
But what is IT that they're willing to put the effort into?
All right, you'll also want to find out what have they already tried. Either for their pain or for their dream. What's everything that they've tried in order to get to where they want to be? Write that down. That's going to be super helpful.
I use the word modality a lot. So a mode- it's just one way of doing something versus another way of doing something. So let's say stress relief. Some people might've tried aroma therapy as a modality. Some people might've tried massage. There could have been yoga. They could have been Pilates. Could've been doing inner child work. There could have been going to one of those places where you smash things. They actually have businesses like that. You can go in with a sledgehammer and smash things. It could be doing mindset work. It could be working on relationships. Like there's all sorts of different modalities. Reiki healing, meditation, there's all sorts of ways that you can work on stress. Those are all different modalities. You want to find out what have they already tried?
Do they already have an idea of what they want to try next?
Have they tried the modality that you offer?
Maybe they don't even know that your modality exists. But if there is another modality that they're like, oh no, this is the next thing that I wanted to try. First, don't get discouraged by that. It just means that they want to go and try that. And it may or may not work for them. And if it doesn't, you're up on deck next. Okay. So finding out what have they already tried.
Do they even know about your modality? Have they tried it before? Because it's quite possible that they might have tried your modality, but they tried it from a different service provider and your service might be a lot different. You might have a different approach to the same modality. So you'll want to find that out too.
If they're telling you the names of the other companies or the other coaches or service providers that they've tried, write that down too. You might want to use that for some benchmarking. We'll get into benchmarking in another episode. It's just learning about the other businesses and what they offer.
You'll also want to learn about what kind of books they like to read or podcasts. What thought leaders have they been listening to? Which ones resonated with them and which ones didn't? There's some that they're absolutely going to love. If those happen to be the ones that you love too, you're going to be able to use a same language, a shared language, of what that thought leader taught. You might even be able to help to reinforce some of those lessons, which is helping the person.
If they happen to like other thought leaders that you've never heard of, write those ones down too. You'll be able to use that in the future to see how you're different than those thought leaders. How does that work in your favor?
You can also look at...is there something else that you'd like to learn from these other people that you never even knew existed?
If the person likes to take online courses, find out what type of online courses. There are some (courses) that tend to go together. There might be different service providers that are providing these online courses, but they might run in the same circle. There might be something similar about them. And they're all complimentary to each other.
Knowing all of those different circles of online courses is also helpful because that helps as you're evolving your products and services. If there's a circle that's pretty popular, and you like the stuff that they're doing, you can offer a piece of that circle that nobody else does. That gives you an opportunity to position yourself within that circle. You can work up towards it. It doesn't happen overnight. But learning what those different circles are, is going to be helpful.
You'll also want to learn about their learning style. As you're coming up with your business model, your business model includes how you do your marketing. It includes the products and services that you offer. It involves how you do your sales process. There's a lot of different pieces to it. Knowing your ideal customer's learning style is going to help you to create the right type of material for them. So learning styles include.
Now think about how you like to deliver things. Do you have a preference for how you deliver things? Do you prefer to deliver just an audio recording? If so, that's okay. You don't have to change your whole style. Just know that your customer segment needs to include those with the learning style of just all of the auditory stuff.
If you're someone that likes to get really creative and blend in the different things, you might be able to appeal to a larger audience base. But keep that in mind with all of your products and services, which style are you going to use? Like will blogs work better for your people? It's quite possible.
I decided to do podcasts. I really enjoy podcasts. When I was still working in corporate, during my commute back and forth, that was the only "Me Time" that I had. It was the only time just for me, where I could do something. I could learn something. And obviously I can't read while I'm driving. As much as I'd like to try it. It's just not safe. I could listen to podcasts. So that worked for me.
But I'm a visual learner. I like to have pictures. So oftentimes I would listen to an audio book. I'd still go out and buy the book so that I could find the exact pages that resonated with me. I could see what pictures they had included. Stick figure pictures are perfectly fine with me. Even boxes and circles are fine. Just having something to anchor onto visually helped me.
When I was leading workshops in corporate, some of the courses involved Legos. We would have the students build things out of Legos. Even that single piece flow that I talked about... We did exercises with Legos and building things out of Legos to demonstrate the single piece flow and the different spots where it could get stuck in an assembly line. Having toys to play with can help to drive home the lesson you're trying to teach.
You'll also want to think about their personality types. Are they an introvert? Are they an extrovert? That will help you as you're designing your different products and services or some of your marketing. For example, I have a bunch of clients that tend to be more introvert, but they want some help with their social skills. They want to be able to socialize with people, but it's not totally comfortable. I have a couple online groups that I run. We do zoom groups and people get an opportunity to come. They know that I create a safe environment for them and that they only have to talk for a small amount and they can sit back and watch the rest.
They get that opportunity to work on their social skills, as well as getting some support for any of the stuff that they're going through. There's some extroverts that come into the group too. They love getting a chance to interact with everybody because you know, when COVID time locked down, we didn't have a whole lot of opportunities to get outside of the house. So this was a way that they could get a lot of their energy refilled by being with other people.
There's a couple of different personality tests out there. There's Myers-Briggs. You can always ask if they've ever done that so that you could learn what it is. If they've done human design, that's another one that you could look into. There's also enneagrams and archetypes. When I first started doing my branding, my brand coach has a whole quiz on archetypes.
It helped me to figure out what my archetype was. It's all my personality stuff. Also it had questions so that I could say, who do I like to work with the most? And it would tell me what their archetypes were. So then when I go out into the world, it's like, ah, those ones are standing out because they're all this particular type of archetype.
These are all things that you can put into your research.
Some of it will help you with your products and services.
Some of it's going to help you when you're writing up sales pages.
All of it is going to help you to help them the best.
All right. Those are just some of the things that you can learn. You're going to learn a lot more as you go through and you're talking with people.
There might even be some things around timing. Some people want something that only lasts five minutes. Some people want something that lasts three or four hours. Those will be important things to learn. You'll figure that out as you go.
Every time that you interact with someone, whatever you learn about them, write it down because somehow it's going to play into your whole business and it's going to help you design it the right way and evolve it over time.
What are all of the ways that you can do your customer research in the very beginning? You might not even know anybody yet. You might not have any opportunities to interact with people. The best way to do that is to ask for interviews. Just throw it out there into social media. Say "Hey, I am designing my business, or I'm trying to create products and services to help people. Here's the type of person that I'm looking for, or the type of problem that I want to help with, or the type of dream I want to help with.
Ask them if they would be willing to spend 30 minutes with you, or maybe even 60 minutes with you to answer some questions. Try to be respectful of their time. Create some questions like your own standard set of questions. When I first started this, I only used nine questions. What would be the most important things for me to ask?
If I only got 30 minutes with this person, some people will volunteer to do that for free. Especially if you go into any Facebook group that has other entrepreneurs, they're more than willing to help you because they might also need customer research and you might be their ideal customer avatar.
Try to make sure that whoever it is that you're interviewing is somewhere close to the type of person that you want to help. Otherwise it can really skew your data.
If you can't find anybody that is willing to do it for free, sometimes offering a gift card is helpful incentive. It could be a gift card to Starbucks or to target or Amazon or something. And then people will be like, yeah, because they're getting paid for their time.
You can also do it just by talking with strangers. When I first started this, I went down to the professional business women's conference of California. You hear me talk about this all the time. At the time, it was in-person 6,000 women, professional women and 200 men. I wanted to help the guys. So I went up and I started talking to the guys there and just asking them questions. These were just like five minute conversations. So I might just decide one question off of my customer research list that I wanted to find out. Then go and try to find as many guys that were willing to talk to me in five minutes as possible. Just so that I could get a lot of answers to that one question.
You can also offer to do some free services. So I know it sucks. Everybody wants to try to make some money when they first start their business. We all have bills that we need to pay, but you're at the very beginning. You haven't established yourself yet. You have to learn a lot. So you'll be doing some of your services for free in the very beginning. That gives you the opportunity to get reimbursed with all of that information. You get to ask them those types of questions in exchange for your service. So you're both trading value. It's equally valuable to you.
Being in support groups is helpful. Figure out what support group would have any of these topics. If you want to know about the struggles someone has with weight loss, you're probably not going to go to a gardening support group. It's going to be a completely different topic. It's possible that you could start up a conversation with someone after the support group, where they talk about weight loss. But most of the time they're going to be talking about gardening.
See if you can find any kind of support groups or social groups that would be talking on the topics that interest you the most for your business. That's a great place to just be a fly on the wall. Just record down answers to all of your different questions. This is where having a spreadsheet is really helpful. You can have a column for each of those different questions. Then you can fill in those answers. If you try to do it as one page in a journal with all of your questions, all on one page, your journal is going to get really full of a whole bunch of unneeded stuff of you writing those questions over and over again. And only a couple of questions being answered here, there, or otherwise. But if you have a spreadsheet, you can keep all of the answers to the same questions in the same place, regardless of where you were at when you collected that piece of information.
Facebook has a lot of groups these days. I'm sure you're in a bunch of them. Go into the ones where people are talking about this or that people are more willing to be vulnerable. I know there's some Brene Brown book club groups that people are being very vulnerable. I love me some Brene Brown. You know, that courageously vulnerable. When we can be courageous with our vulnerability, it establishes that connection with other people so much faster. So in these groups, these Brene Brown book club groups, they're sharing a lot of their stuff. A lot of their struggles, a lot of their dreams.
If you're going in there just to do research, you don't even have to interact with any of the posts. You're just going in there to see what are the things that they're talking about. You have your list of questions and you're filling that stuff in.
One caveat that I want to share with you before I go any further. When you're doing your customer research, this is not the time to try to sell people on your services. This is you just going in very humbly and researching. You're just collecting data. I've encountered some people that will take a customer research interview and try to turn it into a sales call at the end. That's just not coolm you guys, so don't do that. I know it can be really tempting, Especially if, as you're talking with someone, you're feeling that connection, they're feeling that connection. They might even start asking you about what it is that you do. They might be expressing that they want to work with you. Honor that space as being just for research purposes.
If they express an interest to work with you, offer to do a separate call for that. That makes the purpose of the call very clear. You're staying in integrity with yourself. You're honoring your word that this was really just for research. Nobody wants to go through a bait and switch. It's going to make them feel really uncomfortable with you. It can tarnish your reputation, just don't do it. Be kind to you, be kind to them. All right, I'm going to get off my soap box now.
All right. So another place where you can go and do your research is while you are learning. So if you're already in a learning environment, in an online course, or you're out in the community, learning something, you might be in a workshop or something, people are going to be sharing. What they're struggling with. That might be some of the information that is pertinent to your research. It's okay to write that down.
Now, remember you're there to learn. So make sure to allow yourself that time for development. Don't use it all as secret spy time to collect information. Just know there's some pretty good gold coming up and it's okay for you to write that down. It's not for you to try to sell the people in your classes. If they're interested in your services, they'll reach out to you. They'll ask you for your help. Just be there and support each other. Stay in learning and just collect those extra data points. It's perfectly okay.
Another part of customer research that you're going to want to record for yourself is what was it about those people that you enjoyed? So you want to work with the people that light you up. After every encounter with people, write down what you really enjoyed about being with that person. What was it that you didn't. And what would you want to look for for your potential clients?
This can happen after any interaction. It doesn't even have to be your clients. You might be going to the gas station and you encounter someone and it might be someone that just really, really lights you up. Write down what are the characteristics about that person that lit you up? If they didn't, if they were very draining, what was it about that person that was totally draining? Write down the details. If you have client interactions, some client sessions afterwards, write down the same details. What was it that you really enjoyed about them? What was it that you really didn't? And then what would you want to see in potential clients?
As you are doing your marketing later on, if you have your list of all of your favorite parts about people. Then you can speak to those parts so that you are attracting those folks. There might even be ways that you're conveying your message so that people that have all of those undesirable characteristics that they're not drawn to. You can filter them out.
That's a lot of great places for where you can collect your customer research. If you are still having a really hard time, finding your customers to be able to research, it's always okay to ask other people if they know of anyone. So your other friends or your acquaintances, they might be connectors for you. And you just say, Hey, I am trying to do research on this, that or the other thing, do you know of anyone? And they might go, oh yeah, I've got a sister that does that. Or, I've got someone that I met at a networking event that does that.
Ask. I mean, the worst that they can say is, no, I don't know anyone. Or they might say, yeah, I know someone, but I don't feel comfortable introducing you. That's okay, too. You know, you don't have to force people to introduce you to other people. Just know that that's available. That you can ask other people to connect you. And you might be surprised. People that you think are least likely to know someone, or that you wouldn't even believe they'd want to help you to connect you. They just might.
It's quite possible that you go to Starbucks someday and you're getting a cup of coffee. Strike up a conversation with the barista. The barista knows a ton of people that come in every single day. He or she might know exactly someone to connect you with. Be creative, keep your mind open. You're going to be able to find all of the people that have all of the answers you need so that you can design your whole business and create your great products and services and know how to sell it to people.
All right. Lots of information. Hopefully it's super helpful. Get your research hat on and get ready to go!
All right, my friends. Remember... You love those customers. You care about them. You really want to know this stuff about them. They're super interesting to you. If you see it as a chore, you're going to show up really funky, in bad energy, and you're not going to get the information you need. So just remember you love them. They're the most important people in the world. When you truly believe that, then you're ready to go do your research.
All righty, have a wonderful week. And I will talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove podcast. I can't wait to work with you directly. I'll help you to be your authentic self, to have amazing relationships and to live your purpose. I invite you to check out Unshakable Men and Unshakable Women. The Unshakable programs will give you all of the tools, the coaching and the community to help you rise in life, relationships, and business. To learn more, go to my freedom grove.com/workwithme. I can't wait to see you there.
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