out to the only people who could help them figure out what to do: their existing customers.
Surveying existing customers helps you get a genuine feel for who your target audience really is and what they need from you. These people have already bought your product/service, and therefore are the type of people you want to get more of.
#1: Who are you and what do you do?
It might sound like too basic a question to start with, but this one is crucial if you want to truly understand who your most profitable customers are. We’re talking things like job titles, responsibilities, level of expertise and knowledge, purchasing power, etc.
Sometimes it’s as simple as this: there isn’t a problem with your product. The problem is you’re talking to the wrong audience. Take Brian Dean for example. He developed and marketed an $1,000 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) course to a beginner crowd, while his real customers were SEO professionals who wanted to scale their businesses and/or take their SEO efforts to the next level.
#2: What does your day look like?
Once you know a bit more about your customers, this question helps you put yourself more firmly in their shoes. When you ask ‘what does your day look like?,’ what you’re really asking is: where does my product/service fit into your life?
You use this question to find out what your customers do on a daily basis, what processes they follow, what tools they use—so you can understand where there is (or isn’t) space for your product/service. Brian used it to learn how his customers use SEO:
#3: What made you buy our product? What challenges were you trying to solve?
This one helps you uncover the real reason(s) customers are buying your product; their response(s) will tell how to craft your messaging and improve your product accordingly.
At some point in her career, Sarah Doody lost a $5,000/month client, which is a significant blow for any freelancer. In the aftermath, she decided to leverage her expertise by delivering paid training to UX designers, and her initial idea blossomed into a full-fledged course. As people started to sign up, she wanted to understand what exactly had led them to her—so she asked them.
#4: What did you like most about the product? What did you dislike the most?
These questions are vital for product development, and the more honest the feedback, the better. Thorough answers will help you understand what works and doesn’t, so you can improve the experience for your customers; in turn, this knowledge will help you create promoters who will keep recommending your product/service to their friends and colleagues.
#5: What nearly stopped you from buying?
Ok, this one doesn’t come from SHLOMI or GILBI, but it’s still an important question to ask when your business is in trouble.
It’s extremely powerful to understand what your customers had in mind—their fears, their concerns, their objections—after they went through the full experience, rather than trying to infer this information from random visitors on your website who might not fit your buyer persona or who might not have wanted to buy in the first place.
There are dozens of points in a buyer’s journey where they may be tempted to back out. Maybe they are afraid of wasting their money, or the order form was confusing, or the messaging rubbed them the wrong way—nevertheless, they made it through. By asking customers to identify any point at which they had second thoughts, you’ll be able to uncover the fears and concerns that linger in the minds of other potential buyers.
tips: asking the questions
When your product isn’t selling, time is of the essence. You don’t need to go overboard and send a massive survey with these questions to everyone who ever bought from you—it’s enough to start really small, with 3-4 customers. You won’t get overwhelmed, and you will get enough insight to make a bunch of changes and forge ahead.
And yes: it might feel weird to contact people or even have a Skype/Hangout call with a complete stranger—but some customers might even feel flattered that you want to hear from them. And you really need their help.
Go for it.