Why it’s Important to « Close » Prospects in B2B Customer Development

I want you on my advisory board so I can learn how to build a product you will buy. We both fail if I can’t. – Steve Blank, The Four Steps to the Epiphany Author

In B2B customer development, the goal of every customer interaction is to move the relationship forward.

With problem interviews, you need to close the customer on another meeting to validate problems, show prototypes or to get them to join a pilot.

Unless you try to close someone, it’s hard to really know if the meeting went well.

At that stage, you should try to close:

  1. A new meeting to explore the problem further or to show the outcome of your series of meetings;
  2. Referrals to confirm the existence of the market and have more discussions with prospects.

People need to perceive trust or value to refer near strangers to good contacts. If your prospects are willing to refer you to people in their networks, it’s a clear sign that they feel that you understand their reality and can add value.

On the other hand, if no one is willing to refer you to contacts, you might have to make adjustments to your script; there might be something wrong with your presentation or the way you ask your customer development questions.

As you move forward, you should keep your interviewees in the loop; they can become customers or advocates for your business.

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