If you want to grow your company, you may want to have a little bit of a discovery session with yourself or some trusted confidants, relatives, or employees. These discovery sessions have one goal and that is to have a conversation and see if you can extract an idea that resonates with everybody. A lot of companies do this with 50 to 100 people at a time. Learn what questions to ask your confidants to have an effective growth discovery session, and what questions to ask your customers after you’ve had those conversations with your confidants.
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Growth Discovery Session
This is the podcast where myself or my wife and I, Kerri Courtright, sit down and reflect for a minute. We live life about a week at a time. Travel a little bit here and there. Over the last 25 years, we have been able to accumulate some data from consulting 3,100 companies and growing what is now somewhere in the area of thousands of revenue generating websites. What we do for this podcast is if we are in a conversation or a setting where we can tell that we have said something that registered with an entrepreneur, business owner, manager, anybody, we write it down. We carry notebooks with us everywhere and we make sure to podcast on that. If it impacted that one person and helped them grow their business, then there is a statistical chance it can help somebody else. I want to cover something here on episode 328. It was actually a couple months ago that this happened. I just have not had the time to write it out, script it out, and do a podcast on it. This is called a Growth Discovery Session.
You want to grow your company, you want to have a little bit of a discovery session with yourself or maybe some trusted confidants, relatives, or employees. These discovery sessions have one goal. That is to have a conversation and see if you can extract an idea that resonates with everybody. The way this one works, I recommend you grab three people that are very close to you. I would prefer that one of them be in somewhat of a leadership capacity. I would like one of them do the meaningful work. They’re not a manager, they’re not an entrepreneur, they’re not a boss, but they’re a hard worker, they work. I would like one of the people to be a millennial, somebody 18 to 25.
I’m looking for maybe somebody with salt and pepper hair, maybe somebody right in the middle of their work years, and then somebody that is an up and comer. A lot of companies do this with actually 50 to 100 people at a time, but you need at least three. Here’s what you ask. You say, “If you guys could get a piece of paper,” or if you’re doing this on Skype you say, “Can you get a Word document out?”The first question is, “What ads do you respond to?” The 58 year old person is probably going to respond to very different types of ads than the 22 year old. I know that the last time I did this discovery session, somebody said, “I rip out a lot of the ads in Robb Report, Hemisphere Magazine,” that’s American Airlines or United Airlines magazine in the back of the seat. This person rips out a lot of magazine ads. On a monthly basis when they get some time, they pull out a chair on a Saturday morning with a coffee and then they go through these ads and see if anything strikes them.
It was neat because they do this to distance an impulse purchase. I never knew people would think that way and sure enough I found myself now at airports, I’ll get a boating magazine and I’ll rip out the ad and set it aside. The first question is, “What ads do you respond to?” It doesn’t say, “What ads do you rip out and set aside?” The question is, to these three different people, “What ads do you personally respond to?” You’re looking for things like radio, TV, print, text blasts, Facebook Ads, Pandora. You want to hear for things like, “Come to think of it, I did just click on a Pandora text ad. That one came up a couple months ago and I ended up buying something.”
The question is, “What ads grab people in this little group? What do they respond to?” That’s number one. Number two, you want to have them start another fresh sheet of paper, a fresh Word Doc, or just make some space. Number two, “What is the last thing you paid for?” Was it a restaurant? Was it clothes? Was it tickets to a play? Give them a minute and see if they can come up with the last five things they bought. Not ongoing monthly rent on auto pay. “What is the last five things they can recommend buying?”
Was it McDonald’s that morning? Was it clothes the night before for back to school? Give them some time. This is an important piece of this. “What did you buy? What was the last thing you paid for?” You want at least five answers, then you ask, “Why did you buy it? What was the reason? What was it you’re looking for? Was it an impulse purchase?” Did you see the sign for McDonald’s and go, “I’m hungry.” Why did you come in? We’re extracting marketing techniques that grab people’s attention. We’re looking for the psychological signals of why people buy. You want to ask them, “Why did you choose that restaurant, that movie theater? What did you buy?” Then, “Why did you buy it?”
Here’s the thing. Many of the people are going to say, “I’ve been using these guys forever. I’ve been buying there forever. I’ve been shopping there.” “Do you happen to remember the first time you used them?” and you’re going to be surprised how many people do. “How did that happen?” Was it a word of mouth referral? Was it a coupon? Was it a direct streaming ad? Was it on the radio, that ad drove you nuts until you finally shopped there? What was it?
Another sheet of paper, make some space, and then you ask these people a direct question, “What three marketing methods do you think would best work for my company?” I want you to sit back and shock as you get some of the craziest ideas. You’ll definitely get different ideas from the senior person than the millennial and you need to let them speak one at a time. Say the senior gets to say three things. They don’t get to each start yelling and screaming over the Skype of what they recommend. Each person goes one at a time, but here’s the key. This is the key to this exercise for this part. You pause here and you say, “I need you to write them down first because if everybody starts vocalizing them, it’s going to sway other people’s opinion.” The first thing you do is, “What three marketing methods do you think would work best for my company?” They must write these down, at least three, if they can do five or ten, great. Only after they’re all done with three do you then ask them to speak up.
You’re probably going to get out of three people, seven if not ten or more, different marketing methods that they think will work, and then you have to ask that the single most important Simon Sinek question, why? “Why do you think those will work?” What they’re saying is, “I think you’re missing an opportunity by not marketing in this way.” The why may be just as important as the method or the platform because you may know of a better platform. I want to throw a quick story. Kerri took our family to see the play Mary Stewart at the Shakespeare Theater. We had never been to the Shakespeare Theater and I was thinking of this podcast. I said, “Kerri, why are we here and not at the Goodman where we’re members of?” She goes, “Yes, that’s interesting. I got a Groupon sent to my email about a discounted group rate for the Shakespeare Theater.” Kerri and I knew instantly that it looks like the Goodman Theatre sold their list to Groupon for marketing. What does that mean for everybody reading this podcast? That’s huge.
Here’s a question for you, “What methodologies are there platforms out there that you’re already using for marketing that may be selling your list to other people?” and then, “Why not you go direct to those other people?” Let me try to phrase this differently. Shakespeare Theater used Groupon, but they fed Groupon with the list they bought from Goodman Theater. If you’re Goodman Theater, wouldn’t you go, “It might not be a bad idea for us and go to the other 22 theaters in Chicago and go buy their lists and put it into Groupon,” so it’s just a little bit of a reversal.
This next little piece is physical gold. You’ve done your three confidants. Now you’re going to flip it to something that’s done way more often. You’re going to call your last ten customers and you’re just simply going to say, “How did you hear of us? What led you to us? Once you heard of us, do you mind if I ask, ‘Why did you choose us?’ You didn’t have to use us. The marketing got you here, word of mouth or whatever.” Here’s the real bomb. “If you were us, how would you market us to you?” You’re talking to your client saying, “You might have heard us on radio, you might’ve got us on Groupon, but if you were me, how would you market our company to you?” Are there other platforms you frequent more often? Was it random happenstance that you found us? You want to go direct to your people and ask them outright, “If you were me, how would you market to you?” For episode 328, this is Ken Courtright. I hope this helps. Take care.