Selling ≠ Feedback

One of the biggest mistakes you can make while testing your product in the market is to switch into “sales mode”. What we are looking for with a user or market test is honest and direct feedback. Now, imagine you have worked on an idea and the corresponding prototype for several days or even months. You have arranged to test your prototype with several people that fit your intended user profile. Filled with pride and a sense of accomplishment for all the hard work you have put in, you hand over your prototype to one of the test users. After playing with your prototype for a minute they hand it back to you and say: “Nope, this is *#$%. I don’t need this and I certainly wouldn’t spend money on it.” Your first reaction will probably be disappointment. It is at this point when innovators might fall into the trap of turning on their “sales mode” and respond: “Maybe you don’t get it. Look at all the awesome features I built. This is exactly what you need. You should give it another try…”. Now, this reaction is somewhat understandable, because you are likely already somewhat invested in your idea. However, you will not gather any valid feedback from this person with the response above. What you should ask is: “Ok, why do you think this is *#$%. If you don’t need this, what would you do/use instead? How would this need to be different for you to use it? etc.”.