Live Video: Dig Deep to Find the MOST Painful Problem

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Last week I showed you the first steps to how you can pull a business out of thin air.

Today, I’ve got something super exciting for you.

I’m going to tell you the biggest thing mistake people make during idea extraction…

That mistake is failure to dig deep enough and find the source of the problem.

Without digging deeper and finding the single most painful problem, you end up dealing with people asking for something that is very big. Like a system that handles all their needs. Or a system that handles an entire portion of their business.

Unless you have a lot of experience building software, this is something you want to stay away from because the problem will be too big and expensive to solve.

Don’t worry because today, I have a live video example of how you can solve that problem and dig deeper so you can find the real root of the issue and build a product that wont cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build.

In this video, my good friend Josh Isaak is going to perform idea extraction on me and he does an excellent job, of digging to find the real issue.

As a bonus you’ll also get to hear a lot about my business and some of the challenges I’m having.

Josh and I created this because we want it to help you uncover problems and start businesses.

Have to apologize for the video quality… The internet sucked when we did this so there are a lot of funny “pause faces” throughout. But the audio is solid and that’s what matters for this.

Watch it now!

Leave a comment – Win a Coaching Call:

We REALLY want to encourage that so post some of the things you notice in the comments below and we’ll setup a free coaching call with whoever shares the best comment on how this video helped them out.

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  • Josh Isaak

    Looking forward to hearing all your comments!

  • Lee Darke

    Hey Guys,

    Nice video, It is good to see the process in action. I came across a product called infusionsoft that may solve some of Carl’s pain with email and automating marketing campaigns.

    I am working on a product in the developmental service arena and it may tie over to the home healthcare industry. I know home health was one of the markets that you considered, Carl. I’d love some advice on the process of defining and working with this market.

    Thanks,

    Lee

    • Carl

      Awesome Lee! Homehealth is a great market!

  • Brian Lewis

    Great video! It really helps solidify my understanding of idea extraction. I’ve made a number of calls already, and this gives me a good idea about what I’m doing right, and where I need to dig a little deeper.

    Thanks for putting this out for everyone to learn from!

    • Carl

      Thanks Brian! Can’t wait to see if this helps your future calls.

  • Patricia O’Sullivan

    Thanks guys – that was great.

    When you have done a couple of idea extraction calls of that breadth do you then switch to more focused calls to make them shorter?

    You mentioend price anchoring and closing. Would you usually try to do that in an initial idea extraction call or would that come later once you have had a few communications and have built some rapport?

    • Carl

      It depends on the vibe of the call. Usually if I get to a root problem like in this example, I’d go for at least some price anchoring. Not with the intention of selling them… Just to feel out what a product like that could be worth.

  • Patricia O’Sullivan

    I am currently reviewing some email marketing tools right now and just assumed that email automation was standard – thanks for th timely information that it is not. I went back to my short-list of products and reviewed again and I think HubSpot does what you want. Has anyone used it?

    • Josh Isaak

      I believe customer.io does too. I will be looking into this for my own business. It looks sickkkkk!

      • Patricia O’Sullivan

        The pricing of customer.io looks better too. When I saw the pricing for HubSpot I felt sickkkk!!!!

        • Carl

          I’ll have to check out Hubspot and customer.io. The closest I’ve seen is buzzbuilder.

      • http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/ Colin Nederkoorn

        Hey Josh, thanks for the interest in checking out Customer.io. I’d love to help you get started. Let me know if you want to talk through the emails you want to send. Im just colin @ customer io

        Cheers!

        • Josh Isaak

          Hey thanks Colin! Don’t need it quite yet, but will need to be checking it out soon: josh @ getmysky . com

  • dollybelle

    I am not in software creation, but I think drilling down is a huge problem for any kind of content creator. Thanks for the video! And keep up the great work! xo

    • Carl

      Thanks!

  • Stephanie W

    Great video, thank you. This video showed a good structure for getting the most from an initial interview. I noticed that even though Josh focused on the CRM aspect I found myself lobbing onto an idea that wasn’t talked about which is managing VA’s. You mentioned that there are processes that seem too complicated to hand off to a VA. I’ve had similar problems handing things off to someone whether onsite or offsite because it feels more complicated to hand it off then to do it myself. So I stress out trying to complete the task knowing that it’s not the best use of my time or my human resources. This brings me to my question… how do you stay focused on a call when your mind starts churning with solutions before you’ve engaged the interviewee enough to really get to the root of their pain. Honestly, I had to replay part of the video because I was distracted with developing a solution to the VA problem. I do this sort of thing constantly… my mind works too fast and sometimes I’m listening but not hearing. If that makes sense? How do you stay focused and quiet your mind enough to be a good listener so you don’t go off in the wrong direction or worse miss out on a great opportunity to provide a service that can help because you didn’t really hear the problem.

    • Carl

      Hey Stephanie – Listening is super important. I have a friend who has his assistant time how long he is talking during his important meetings on the phone so he can get better at talking less. Crazy right? I practice by not saying anything at all and seeing how many times I can get a person to say “Hello, are you still there?”… Then you know you are doing a good job.

      If you have trouble and your mind wonders, it helps me to try to picture what they are saying. Visualize what they are talking about. Like Josh could be picturing me sitting at my desk, making calls etc…

      I have to replay videos a lot too, but I do better when it’s live ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dave

    Take a look at hatchbuck.com.
    Thanks for the mention of customer.io. I have not heard of this previously. We find ourselves building this triggering logic into our apps so this is definitely something to check out.

    • Carl

      Thanks Dave! Will do!

  • Nate

    This was great! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Y’all stopped right at the point I was waiting for: the price anchoring. Y’all know how to keep us coming back for more!

    Two words I learned: “Keep digging.”

    Thanks again, can’t wait for part 2.

    • Carl

      Glad you liked it Nate!

  • Steve

    Carl-

    Intriguing post. Very thankful to see an example call to help me analyze how I conduct my calls. I really enjoyed looking at Josh’s questioning as he seems to dive into it a bit differently than you (shout out for his blog page on this topic: http://joshuaisaak.com/how-to-pick-an-industry-for-idea-extraction/). Very much looking forward seeing the last two points in the call in action in a future post. Keep up the great work.

    EDIT: Quick question: my calls have been a bit shorter than this. Do you typically get call lengths this long, or was this a “perfect” example?

    Also, I took notes on the questions Josh asked during the call and included a quick transcript of them for anyone who wants to check it out: http://bit.ly/1dKznp8

    • Stephanie W

      Thank you for the transcript Steve. Very helpful!

    • Niall Doherty

      Awesome. Thanks for that question list, Steve.

  • Gary S. Best

    Hey Carl!

    How many interviews should I make before deciding on a product? I’ve done 3 interviews with people in 3 different industries and have come up with 4 potential software products. How much of the interview process is idea extraction and how much is market research?
    Thanx man. Much appreciated!

    • http://joshuaisaak.com/ Josh Isaak

      Hey Gary,

      That’s a really great question so I wanted to give you my two cents on it.

      Idea Extraction is the life blood of the process. This is a step of the process that you typically won’t just breeze through. Time spent here is well worth it. Your ability to presell your idea relies on how deep of a pain you’ve found and your ability to create an amazing product relies on how much you understand the pain you are solving.

      I’d encourage you to find the biggest pain in one market. You’re gonna know it’s a big pain when multiple companies are experiencing it.

      When have you found it? You’ll know when people purchase it from you before you create it (Carl and I will be doing posts on this in the future.) I’d aim to get 5 different companies willing to pay for the product and then those 5 actually giving you money before you decide on moving ahead with your idea. Hope that helps! Let’s see what Carl’s input is.

      • Marcus Twitchett

        Josh, I get the whole thing about trying to validate your idea and value prop by asking for pre-payment. My issue is this, without fully looking into the development side of the project and engaging with a engineer, how do you know these features will be readily available in your product? It is one thing for a programmer or engineer who knows what he needs to spec out the product to ask for pre-payment, but this is dangerous for a non-tech founder who has no idea how complex, expensive and time consuming his “promised” features are? What are your thoughts on this..

        • Josh Isaak

          Hey Marcus,

          For sure, that’s a good point. The worst thing to do is over promise on a solution.

          I’d say in between IE and pre-selling clients, you should be creating your infopack and at that point looking into what it would cost to create the product. It should be quite easy to find out if the problem you found is something easily solved through software and at what price by asking people in the Foundation. There will be lots of software developers in the group.

          • Marcus Twitchett

            Thanks for reply Josh, I am building a low fidelity prototype based on minimum feature set that my target customer wanted (this IE came through customer interviews) I also operate in the industry I am targeting so well aware of the problems and pain points current solutions offer. I am now going to engage a well respected design company to do a consultancy on the my idea. This is basically a 60 page report that will outline product specs, build time, costs of development and they will also collaborate on the features and UI. This will cost me around $4k but it will give me a clear document I can give to any investor. Between this doc and all the customer dev evidence I should be golden. Anything you would do different?

  • Nick Berard

    Carl,

    This is really exciting that you posted this idea extraction call. I have I noticed that Josh kept repeating back to you to make sure he was tracking & understanding what you were saying. I’ve made 1 call thus far and it was very surface level (I do have a follow up call setup because we were rushed for time). But honestly I’ve been afraid that I’ll mess up my calls, have the other person feel I just wasted their time, and people will think less of me if I do poorly…So as a partial procrastination I’ve e-mailed 15 people I know in one niche this week & already have buy-in (via e-mail) for me contacting at least 10 of them. But I have not followed up yet.

    How do you deal with anxiety before making a call? I’m putting off the actual calls because of fearing I’ll mess up or feel like I just wanted their time if I don’t come up with a solution from my call.

    Once issue I have seen with myself is getting too excited & interrupt finishing others sentences. Josh seemed to do a great job listening & didn’t interupt…do you have any tactics to fight the urge to finish people’s sentences?

    For everyone else looking for a question framework I’ve put a quick reference list of questions from Carl, Josh Issak, Geordie Wardman, & Myself (based off this call) for anyone who is looking for ideas on a question framework for their idea extraction calls. I’ve made yellow highlights for common questions between the 4 & green highlights for questions I like for digging deeper.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzuElA7mNea4VWZxbDk1dlBIalk/edit?usp=sharing

    Thanks again for the baller idea extraction call!

    • Carl

      Holy crap dude. What a great comment. Anxiety is normal. You have to acknowledge that your body is just sending you a signal and ultimately trying to keep you safe. But sometimes these signals don’t serve us. At some point Ill do a post on this.

      That said here’s something that helped me when I had anxiety…

      1) First visualize yourself in a place doing something that relaxes you and makes you feel happy. For me its surfing, or playing with my dog.
      2) Then visualize some things you’ve been successful at in the past.
      3) Then visualize your call and everything going the way you want it to. The person smiling and happy to hear you. Answering your questions and being engaged…

      Eventually you will get used to it and not need that at all, but that helps me…

      Carl

      • Josh Isaak

        Hey Nick,

        I’m with Carl: amazing comment man.

        I wanted to let you know that I was nervous before that call. “What if I screw up?” “What if I am too nervous and it shows?”. I hope it helps to know that many people deal with this, and I’m no exception.

        One important internal mindset to hold is this: “There is no success or failure… only progress.”

        One awesome thing to do to fight the urge to interrupt is write down your thoughts/questions so you don’t need to interrupt. “Parking lot” them for when your interviewee is finished what they are saying. You won’t forget them then and you can receive the full value of everything the business owner is telling you.

        • Nick Berard

          Josh I love that quote…”There is no success or failure…only progress.” It’s a beautiful statement. I repeated that 3 times to my wife last night, and I felt lighter & a sense of relief each I said it. Powerful stuff, and I think you just helped me reverse a limiting belief I’ve had about anything I do that isn’t a success is a failure. It’s only progress and I don’t need to beat myself up either way.

          Like in my comment above to Carl, this past week I made 2 solid idea extraction calls. I dealt with my anxiety & dialed the phone.

          Thank you for the “parking lot” idea too. I ended up writing down everything I could on those calls (3 full pages of notes on each one). It helped me fight the constant urge to give my input. Instead I was able to really focus on what they were saying. Then I was able to repeat back their comments to make sure I understood them. On each call, every time I recited the comments back it really engaged the guys I was talking to. That let them know I was really listening and I cared about their business.

          • Josh Isaak

            This is great Nick. Thanks so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

          • http://www.pukkacrush.com JackMSVaughan

            Totally great quote.

            Wanted to quote it & so was searching around to see who said it, turns out it’s you!

      • Nick Berard

        Thanks for the feedback Carl! I never thought of anxiety as a natural response like that. And your advice to help with anxiety really helped.

        Since I posted last, I’ve made 2 awesome idea extraction calls. Which I was super anxious before. And I was able to calm down & visualize playtime with my son to get in a happy mood. I got in the mindset of seeing myself being successful, and started dialing while I visualized the person on the other end of the phone happy to hear from me.

        Both calls turned out great, I’ve found some common problems, and 1 solution/product idea thus far…just scratched the surface. I have many more calls to make & questions to ask.

        • Carl

          Awesome! Super pumped for you. Keep going!

      • Patrick Bukala

        “1) First visualize yourself in a place doing something that relaxes you and makes you feel happy. For me its surfing, or playing with my dog.
        2) Then visualize some things you’ve been successful at in the past.
        3) Then visualize your call and everything going the way you want it to. The person smiling and happy to hear you. Answering your questions and being engaged…”

        Carl. My name is Patrick Bukala and I am currently in The Foundation. Would you be able to point me in the right direction to where I can get more information on exactly this type of ‘visualization’ you spoke about in your comment.
        I recently came back from Europe. I felt more alive, more happy, and more free than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I don’t feel like this here back home. This has to do with the way I have been living my life here over the past few years. Although every time I close my eyes and visualize being back there and traveling again it brings back these great emotions.
        The most amazing thing happened the other day. I was riding the bus and I closed my eyes. I imagined I was riding the city bus in Germany. Instantly I lit up with excitement and became really giddy. It was pretty strange but awesome at the same time.
        This is why I would like to learn more about it so I can become better at bringing back all these great emotions from my trip.

        Thank You Carl!

  • Terry

    Have you looked at the “If-Then Rule System” in OfficeAutopilot (http://officeautopilot.com/if-then-rule-system)? It’s a tad pricey for my small shop, but it may help.

    Good luck!

    • Carl

      Thanks Terry! I will def. check it out! Know Dane and Andy love office autopilot!

  • Chris Thorne

    Thanks guys – this was brilliant. Perfect timing. Just finished my first idea extraction call and I’m buzzing.

    Question relating to your process thought Carl – you’re obviously in sales mode now, and so follow up e-mails make complete sense. But can I ask when you were sending out e-mails for idea extraction leads, did you re-email those that didn’t reply?

    Thanks again!

    Chris

    • Carl

      Hey Chris, I followed up with people that opened, but did not reply. I should have done more with it, but didn’t need to because I was getting plenty calls through my emails and then asking for referrals (I got LOTS of referrals).

      Good question!

      Carl

  • Chris Koteles

    Carl,
    Thanks to you and Josh for the video, very helpful.
    Sorry for the off topic comment/question but I couldn’t find an appropriate blog entry to post this.
    When did you form a legal business entity for Clinic Metrics? I see that you have this blog registered to your LLC, is that where you handle all your business or do you have something different for the software? This is the type of stuff that freaks me out, I have this fear of something going wrong and then getting personally sued because I’m not properly protected. I should probably just consult a lawyer but would certainly appreciate if you shared how you handled this.
    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Carl

      Dude – Do not worry about things that don’t matter for you yet. I built my entire product and launched it, collected money, and more without forming an entity. I didn’t think about it till someone said, hey Carl it’s probably time to do this… Focus on you’re next step, then focus on the next one, then the next… If you don’t, you will never get anywhere…

      Sorry to get preachy by I get questions like this all the time and it hurts me because I can see people are making this mistake.

      For the record, it took me less than an hour to form my LLC and get a tax id. I did it like a month ago.

      • http://www.pukkacrush.com JackMSVaughan

        Gold. It’s so easy to focus on quality problems that we don’t have!

  • gaiapunk

    BTW Carl you can use the Boomerang gmail ext and other tools to solve your follow up issue. I hope that is helpful.

    • Carl

      Thanks! Boomerang doesn’t quite do what I need but it seems like a few others do. Ill post my review on these tools at some point once I get into checking them all out.

  • Dan

    Great post. Josh does so many great things with this call!

    First, a little about my own experiences. I did one Idea Extraction. It was with an acquaintance of the family so it wasn’t a cold call. It lasted a little over an hour.

    As I went through the call, I ran into problems that I didn’t know how to handle. However, I watched Josh handle similar issues (like a pro) and I learned a lot. Here were my problems:

    Problem 1:

    The client (I’ll just call him that for convenience) wanted to change his entire industry. Wanted to set up new model of business. As an entrepreneur and friend, I was intrigued by his ideas and I started acting more as a consultant. The problem is: I was caught between dreaming about helping him revolutionize the industry and trying to do an idea extraction. The more I focused on his big idea, though, the more I realized I didn’t really know enough to help him with a problem that big – at least not on a few phone calls. Which lead to Problem 2:

    Problem 2:

    The more we talked about this ‘big plans’, the more he became frustrated with the roadblocks in his way. I know in sales, it’s good to point out frustrations, but you don’t want to put the client in a negative mood. You need to give hope and I didn’t know how to do that.

    Problem 3:

    By the time we got done talking about his big ideas and trying to drill down to more specific problems, it turned out the problem was.. you guessed it.. CRM. I know from what I’ve learned so far that CRM is probably too big a problem to solve out of the gate (although I did think – “Well, Josh did it…” ^^). But this was roadblock for me because I didn’t know how to drill down further.

    Problem 4:

    Not sure if I’d have this problem on a cold call, but partly because he’s an acquaintance and partly because he just likes to talk, the conversation went all over the place. I felt rude trying to keep him on track so I just let him lead the way. It was great for rapport – maybe not efficient – but I did realize that by the time we got to the real ‘problem’, we’d probably be too tired to go too deep – which was kind of the case.

    The Good:

    – I think I did a good job of building rapport. It helped that he had a very similar entrepreneurial spirit and i enjoyed talking to him. And although we did spend too much time talking about other things, I think it’s good since he can be potential ally to me in my future endeavors. Plus I feel like I gained a friend.

    – I got him to validate an informational pack I put together – Sales Techniques that I gathered from the internet. Unfortunately, the verdict was – Good info.. but might get drowned out in the sea of info they get (What.. I’m not the only trying to deliver value first?? ^^)

    – I got him to talk about $500,000 worth of leads that weren’t converted. Love that he mentioned that number and I did come back to it a couple of times, trying to figure out what was going wrong.

    – He mentioned how he had helped grow sales by 80% in his first year, but then now was completely bogged down by ‘management’ and organization that he didn’t do any sales. An obvious problem that if can be fixed could lead to more revenues. Management problems included things like handing out written out schedules, etc. Very inefficient uses of time.

    What I learned from Josh’s call:

    So much.. where to begin?

    * I think the first thing that struck me was how Josh repeated everything back to the customer. I think that is a great way to build rapport and keep the client focused on the idea extraction. It’s also a great way to help regain some control over the direction of the phone call, which I definitely needed with my talkative client. I repeated back what he said, but not often enough and not specifically enough. (I was kind of nervous though, as another commenter said, worried I’d make a mistake or there’d be a lull in the conversation. I learned from this that’s easy to cover by just saying – I’m taking notes on this so give me a second to catch up. And pauses are okay.)

    * The biggest moment for me though was when Josh said something to the affect of “I don’t know all that much about your industry.. can you tell me about it?”

    It wasn’t so much the question – it was the mindset behind it. Josh’s not trying to be an expert in the field. He’s mentioned this too, I think in his recent Foundation Podcast. As far as mindset, I think my default is feeling like I have to project more than I actually do. If the client mentions something that I’ve heard of, I might act like I actually know something about it when I really don’t.

    Hearing Josh be completely open about not knowing that much and wanting to learn – great mindset tip. It’s honest and he has confidence in what he does know well – idea extraction and solving problems – that even if he doesn’t know the industry, he can still find a way to help. I will adopt this mindset in future calls and it will relieve stress and pressure about feeling like I’m unqualified to talk to anyone in the industry – a feeling I had a few times during my idea extraction. Instead of trying to cover up my lack of knowledge, I’ll just say, “You know what, can you tell me a little more about that?” And I think the key is to say it with genuine interest, confidence, and focus and not with a defensive mentality.

    * Getting past the CRM problem

    Great to hear at the end Josh and Carl both mentioning that CRM is the surface level problem for every business. I learned a lot from watching Josh drill down by asking repeatedly about processes. I have to improve at this. Watching it is like seeing someone open folders on your Harddrive. Each folder leads to more folders. He scans the one he wants, then opens another one, leading to another one, until you finally get to what you want. (confusing analogy? Yeah.. I know.)

    I didn’t know how to get beyond CRM and now I have ideas.

    * Asking the client – what’s your solution?

    Wow… so much more effective than trying to present your own solution. It think it mentions something like that in Spin Selling (great recommendation by Dane) – If you try to sell the Benefits of your product too soon (or offer a solution), people will pick it apart. Now instead, you have the client describe exactly what they want.. How can they pick it apart after that?

    * Finally, the knee kick – I think that’s what Josh called it.

    I loved it when Josh said something to the affect of:

    * Looks like a major frustration that’s costing you money (basically.. this really sucks)
    – and then followed it with
    * But lots of businesses face the same problem (but don’t worry.. you’re not alone)

    I want to try the knee kick with my client, especially the reassuring that others face the same problems. That might be a great way to defuse negative energy. Love that idea.

    Anyways, sorry for the long post. Thanks for putting out great materials. Thanks to the commenters below for the google docs as well. I did something similar and then saw that others had (and did it much better) so it’s a great resource to have.

    Last thing – a few questions:

    1. One worry I have is discovering a problem (like needing software for email follow up) where there’s already a solution. What do you do then? Do you tell people – hey try out XYZ software? Because there are so many solutions now available online, how do you deal with that dilemma? Or.. how do you avoid building a solution that’s already been built? It’s hard to keep track of everything out there.

    2. What do you do with friendly talkers? Do you just let them talk? Do you think, “Okay.. I’ll let him talk and then do more than one idea extraction over a few days?”

    3. I think I have some ideas based on the phone call already, but do you have strategies when you’re dealing with someone who’s a little burnt out with their jobs?

    Thanks again for the great information.

    • Carl

      Wow man! Great recap. If I could upvote it more than once I would.

      Questions:
      1) YOU GIVE THEM THE EXISTING SOLUTION! We’re trying to help people here and not be sneaky. If something exists that meets their needs tell them about it. If they try it and it’s not industry specific enough you have something to solve. It builds trust and delivers value right away. Then move onto the next problem (because everyone has many!). Avoiding what’s been built. Just do some research and ask some friends and forums. If you can’t find it, you will build it and market better.
      2) Definitely be friendly upfront, but then take control of the conversation by telling them the plan. “First I want to understand your business, then I’d like to zero in on pains, then I’d like to zoom into the biggest one.”
      3) I don’t really understand the third question… Can you repeat it?

      • Dan

        Thanks Carl! I appreciate the support and responding so quickly.

        I think for #3 I was just thinking about the very specific case where the person I was talking to seemed a bit burned out and negative about the business in general. He didn’t really want to talk about ‘processes’, not because there weren’t problems, but because he gone through different attempts to improve things and nothing had really worked.

        He knew what was wrong, but just seemed to think that nothing would really help. Sort of like he lacked faith in his organization of people to implement a solution even if there was one available.

        I did a follow up email where I mentioned that any software I created would be something that a company could implement in an hour.

        But… yeah.. I’m not sure how relevant this will be for others. Maybe it’s just an isolated case?

        • Carl

          Yeah… Not everyone will be that way… You can do your best to try to pull him out of it and show him what is possible… But don’t worry cause it’s just one person out of 10K plus in whatever market you chose.

  • Marcus Twitchett

    Carl, Listening to your pain point with email sequences you need infusionsoft. It has rule based protocols that can help with email marketing automation.

    Here’s a link to a great blog resource that will help with your email automation: http://brightideas.co/jermaine-griggs-interview/

    • Carl

      Thanks!

  • Marcus Twitchett

    I posted this down in another thread but will post it here anyway: so…

    I get the whole thing about trying to validate your idea and value prop by asking for pre-payment. My issue is this, without fully looking into the development side of the project and engaging with a engineer, how do you know these features will be readily available in your product? It is one thing for a programmer or engineer who knows what he needs to spec out the product to ask for pre-payment, but this is dangerous for a non-tech founder who has no idea how complex, expensive and time consuming his “promised” features are? What are your thoughts on this.. Would it not be better to just get them to sign a informal “letter of intent to buy” this way you are still getting a commitment but you won’t have the pressure of creating something you promised that may get you in over your head and actually damage a promising relationship you have just built up.

    • Carl

      First – My take is that you are worrying about it too much…

      Unless you have chosen a market, and found a problem, you should not even be thinking about development. You have to trust you can make it happen. Not to say your building everything people think of… But find a way to pivot… Find a way to deliver value and solve the problem… Not all problems are solvable with software, but you can use simple judgement to figure that out and there is nothing wrong with running the idea by an engineer if you are that “worried”… I recommend running ideas by engineers before preselling.

      Re: letter of intent. This is good but not nearly as good. Until someone pays, you dont know if they actually will. Anyone who’s sold anything will agree with that ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope this helps!

      Carl

  • Greg Eisenbeis

    Hey Carl, I just joined the Foundation this year! Thank you for this post it was really informative! This will really help me refine my interview validation process! I think I have found a killer idea (generated by an IE 3 hour session) and I am in validate mode. Is validation the same as IE. I feel like I am in a weird place because the two people I have spoken with so far are basically ready to buy if I had it. I now don’t know if I am idea extracting or honing in on the target solution.

    Also, look at Interspire Email Marketer. I run that on my own Amazon server. I get great deliverability rates/open rates (because they have a good rep) and Interspire has triggers available for you to automate the email process. You can also totally customize anything in it. You don’t have to use them, but there deliverability rates are better than the normal ones (i.e. constant contact, etc.).

    Another automation tool that I cannot live without is called WinAutomation. It is simply badass. You can automate so many things, it is sick!

    Anyway, let me know if you want me to screen share the platform to check it out. Just FB IM me.

    • Carl

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll check it out!

  • Andrew Garrett

    Just want to say you guys rock, you’re helping out the Foundation 2014 community SO. MUCH. Thank you.

    • Carl

      Right on.

  • Heinz Abegglen

    Hi Carl

    thank you for making that video. I’ve just started with the Foundation and find it really helpful.

    About your pain: Try “Active Campaign”, I guess it could solve your problem.

    “Create automations to move subscribers between lists, send specific follow up campaigns, and update details. Define actions to take place when your contact replies to an email or interacts with any campaign in any way.”

  • Erich

    Hey Carl,

    Iยดve found your blog some months ago and was blown away from your great content. Iยดm looking forward to more great posts, when can we expect them ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks again for your great work!

    • Carl

      Glad you like it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alex

    Hi Carl.
    very helpful video, many thanks! I already made 7 idea extraction calls but they don`t seem to get me anywhere. All the people I have talked to said they have no problems, no frustrations and that everything is great in their business. Most of them were happy to answer about what goes well in their business but seemed very uncomfortable speaking about their problems and tried to end the discussion. Did you face similar problems in your idea extraction calls?

    • Carl

      SOrry for the delay. Been so busy I’ve been neglecting this blog.

      Anyways… Yes this happens… People react differently…

      But it usually just means you have not established rapport.

      Once you do, then you can get anyone (even the most stoic) to open up.

      Work on your rapport building skills. There is a good post on this blog about that if you go back to the last IE post.

  • Adam Dreier

    I just watched this video for the second time. There are so many big takeaways here.

    Here is what I got this time:
    1. There are a couple times Josh asks a question and Carl doesn’t directly answer and gives some sort of non-answer. This has happened to me on some IE calls, and it can be scary. Josh calmly asks the question again, in a little different phrasing and then Carl answers.

    2. Josh does a great job of making sure he’s got the biggest pain before digging in. Making sure this is the most frustrating pain that also has the biggest effect on the bottom line. This is key because if you don’t do this you will waste the prospects time and they may lose interest before you get the best pain.

    3. Josh points out the implications of leads slipping through the cracks – lost revenue (kicking the knee) and then adds that he’s sure others have the same problem. Will definitely be using this strategy. It may have been even better for Josh to ask Carl what the implications of it are, instead of pointing it out. This would get Carl talking about the implications of the pain in his own words, which Josh could repeat back later on when asking how much Carl would pay.

    4. Josh didn’t offer a solution. He asked what Carl’s ideal solution is. Offering a solution to soon without asking this sort of question often brings up objections from the prospect.

    This is some extremely valuable and high quality content. Really enjoyed it.

    Thank you Josh and Carl.

    • Carl

      Nice work man.