I am currently pursing a new project, and I learned that the best way to know what your product needs to be is by asking you customers what "pain" they are suffering from.
How does one structure his questions so that you are not giving away/forcing you potential customers to say what you think is right. So in layman terms how do you avoid forcing your opinion on the person you are questioning and do you structure a question to be most effective.
The people we are planning to talk to may not have a long time to talk so we wan to get the most out of our research as possible.
First, open ended questions are a must.
Second, if they feel like you're trying to make their life easier, they'll give you more time than you think. Tell them you need "a couple of minutes" and let them tell you when they need to stop. Ask for a second time to continue if needed. Customer research is vital.
Third, you want to know about their experience on either side of the problem you're solving. If you're creating shopping cart functionality, you want to know about why they put things in the shopping car and purchase. Call that 1 degree away from the problem you're solving. Start with some probing closed-ended questions to qualify people (Do you shop online?), then once they're qualified, switch to the 3 degrees of open ended questions. This will give you a more holistic perspective of their experience. Who knows, maybe they have a problem with purchasing you can solve in the shopping cart...
I've been suffering the same problem as you so I'll give you the best suggestion that I was given; don't ask, listen.
What do I mean by this? Talk to your potential customers and ask them what their daily routine is involving the good or service you are trying to offer. If you're building a new product or service to help someone do something more easily then they are already doing it, ask them what is their present process for doing what they are doing. For example, if you are building a new product to ease the process of baking bread and you want to sell it to bakers; ask them what their daily routine is when making bread.
Don't go trying to tell what it is you are offering or asking them "what if" scenarios like would you buy this. Your not in sales mode; your doing research. Find what they are presently doing and if they have a pain that they are willing to pay to go away.
As entrepreneurs we often find ourselves coming up with ideas that we think are great and amazing. Unfortunately or fortunately, we also fall in love with our ideas as well. That can be a dangerous thing since the idea we have may not be a solution the market is looking for. Our idea may require some changes or be completely wrong. And you know what, that's ok. Just don't be that person that is so stubborn that you are unwilling to change what ever it is you doing. Remember, it doesn't matter what you want as a solution, it's what your potential customers are willing to pay for that sells. So listen to them.
"What is the thing you find yourself suffering from the most in your business:
Hi Sapir. The simplest tip I can give is to be really curious. Be amazed by the persona in front of you. By being genuinely curious you will be amazed with the findings.