5Conduct Probing Buyer Interviews

Situational clichés in magazine cartoons never seem to go out of date. There's the deserted island with the single palm tree, the new arrival greeting St. Peter at the gates of heaven, and the corporate boardroom meeting with the gigantic chart indicating rapidly declining sales.

Then there's the seeker of truth climbing a lofty mountain to obtain enlightenment from a lone ascetic hermit. Underlying that situational cliché is the viewer's acceptance that all wisdom comes from asking the right person the right questions.

Perhaps not as challenging as scaling one of those cartoon mountains, learning the technique of conducting effective buyer persona interviews may be among the most rewarding exercises a marketing professional can master. It is, in fact, all about gaining wisdom through the art and science of asking the right person the right questions. Not only is it a productive exercise in focused inquiry—a type of critical thinking that is a valued professional skill—it is also the door to the essential insights that give marketing a competitive advantage.

With your list of contacts at hand, it's time to learn the basic principles that will allow you to engage buyers in interviews that will provide valuable information—information that buyers have never shared with your sales representatives or the competition.

Who Should Conduct the Interview?

Before we begin, let's take a moment to consider who in your organization is best suited to conduct ...

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