• Ariana Friedlander

What you need is a resounding "YES!"

I had a client, Trixy, who was opening a cheese shop. As part of her customer discovery process, Trixy stood outside of World Market and asked, "Do you like cheese?"

People either emphatically said "YES!" or walked to their cars with indigestion.


Trixy conducted a brief interview with the people that offered a resounding "YES!" She gained valuable insights from those conversations that shaped her business model before she even opened the store.


Before this experience, I usually advised clients to ask open-ended questions instead of yes or no ones. Typically, open-ended questions allow for greater insight as we glean from other people's perspectives. Whereas yes or no questions do not provide us with a deeper understanding of what people are thinking and why.

Had my client stood out front of World Market and said, "What's your favorite cheese?" she would have received less quality feedback. I know, I've made this mistake in my own customer discovery efforts.


The more niche businesses become, the more important it is to focus on the people you strive to serve. One simple way to qualify potential clients you speak with is by looking for a resounding "YES!" To identify a simple yes or no question you may ask, which will cause people to self-select in for a deeper conversation or out.


Not everyone is a potential fit for your business. Identifying whom you seek to serve and what they are like as people is essential to focusing your efforts. To do this, you might reflect on the one unifying aspect your ideal clients share. Are they committed to eating healthy foods? Are they driving innovation for the greater good? Do they strive to join the seven-figure club?


Try to be as specific as possible while also connecting with something evocative. It is their passion, their sense of commitment that makes it a resounding "YES!" or a definite no.


Ten months after opening, the cheese shop produced more revenue than they forecasted for the entire year (and they hadn't even entered the busy season yet). Trixy attributed their success to what she learned from customer discovery. In addition to the interviews she completed before opening, Trixy trained her team to engage in customer discovery conversations with customers. Their ongoing efforts enabled them to successfully tweak their offerings and grow a wildly successful, values-aligned business.


What question are you asking to find the people who answer with a resounding "YES!"?

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