How To Get Out Of The Building and Talk To Your Market

Market discovery and how to do it

In this episode Rob and I continue our conversation on the things you can do as a product manager even before you have expertise in the product or space.

In the last episode, our topic was common problems that product managers can start addressing on day 1 of a new job. The kinds of things everyone faces, and where there’s always an opportunity to improve.

The most important of these was “visiting customers.” We’ve all heard the message – get out of the building and talk to your market!

But, that message is not usually accompanied by actual guidance on how to do it. So, in this episode we drill down into this often-daunting topic.

How do you “visit” customers? Get them to talk to you?

Logistics and structure

We get into the nitty gritty details about how to actually do that most important of product management activities. We cover both the logistics and the actual conversations.

We talk about some of the obstacles you will likely be facing in instituting a process for talking to customers. And we talk about ways to get around or over those obstacles.

Then we drill into guidance on how to actually structure these conversations. The types of questions to ask, some little known techniques for keeping the customer in “problem space” and a whole lot more.

We also provide a cool bonus freebie that you can download. It gives you even more detail on how to ask questions. And also includes a sample conversation to illustrate many of the points we discuss.

Three things you can do today

  1. Schedule some customer interviews and use our tips for overcoming hurdles to getting that done.
  2. Create a set of questions for doing customer interviews about the topics you need to learn. Practice them so you’re natural when talking to customers.
  3. Practice these techniques in conversations with friends or coworkers. Use the “tell me more”, “what is your pain”, or “what’s an ‘I RULE’ moment” question techniques. It turns out this is a great way to deepen your personal relationships, not just those with customers!

Closing notes

Thanks for listening to this episode.

  • Don’t forget to check out the bonus list of questions.
  • As always, subscribe to the podcast on your favorite service, give us a rating on iTunes, and signup for news and updates at
  • Follow Nils and Rob on Twitter.


The sponsor for this episode is Nils’ new book, The Secret Product Manager Handbook. For more information, and a special offer, check out


  • […] tips so you can create effective status and progress reports quickly, have less meetings, and get out of the building, which is where you need to […]

  • […] Finding market problems through customer discovery. […]

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