Preparing your interview team

3. Building your team’s interviewing skills

7 Steps your interview team can take to progressively build its skills and confidence.

With every passing Discovery interview, your team’s skills will increase. Your competency level and confidence will rise especially quickly over the first 3-to-5 interviews. Given this, it’s a good idea to get some solid practice before interviewing your most important customers. Consider this progression:

  1. Workshop practice: During your core Blueprinting workshop, you’ll get a chance to role-play several interviews. Also keep in mind that The AIM Institute offers both Advanced Skills and Blue Belt open workshops to hone your skills.
  2. Industry Experts: You’ll likely pay to interview these experts (see How to engage industry experts), so it’s OK to use this time to improve your skills, with little downside.
  3. Your sales colleagues: Set up a web-conference and ask them to respond “as the customer would.” Beside great practice, you’ll get your sales team much more comfortable with these interviews, so they’ll be more effective in requesting them.
  4. Internal departments: Do you have others in your company with experience in this area, perhaps based on their prior work at another company? They’d make great interview candidates.
  5. Distributors: If you have distributors for your product, interview them before the “real” customers that use your product. It will be good practice for you, let’s you understand how much insight they have, and will make them more willing partners as you move forward.
  6. Smaller, safer customers: If you have smaller customers, start your interviews with them. Also, consider interviewing “friendly” customers who will overlook your lack of “smoothness” until you get comfortable with this interviewing.
  7. Larger, high-stakes customers: By the time you “build up” to these customers with prior practice, you and your team-mates will be one, highly-polished, impressive interviewing team!

For more on building your skills, see AIM training in Advanced Skills and Blue Belt certification


Keywords: Discovery interview, team interview skills, team interview confidence, New Product Blueprinting, Advanced Skills training, Blue Belt certification, sales colleagues, distributors, workshop practice