Ask the right people

Yesterday I had a meeting to do some market research for a new project. I was meeting with a couple of people who use a program that we are looking at competing with. I wanted to hear the pros and cons of the program so found a small company that uses a competitor and they agreed to meet.

The meeting was with the owner of the company and his office manager. The owner did most of the talking initially and he kept talking about how great the program they currently use was. The thing he liked the most was the reports function that gave him exactly what he needed. He mentioned that it would be a big surprise for him to be willing to switch because the program they currently use is so good.

When the owner stepped out of the meeting the office manager confided that the owner didn’t actually use the program and only saw the final reports and these reports were being created by hand from the raw data in the program. He wasn’t trying to mislead us but rather simply didn’t know how things were being done. All he cared about were the final reports and as far as he was concerned they were perfect. After asking a few more questions we found out these reports were taking over 30 hours per week to generate. If he knew the real cost of these reports he might be shocked.

The key is, not only do you need to ask the right questions but you also have to ask the right people.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

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