How to conduct a Preference interview
  2. Preference Interviews (Step 3)
  3. How to conduct a Preference interview

4. Multiple companies in one Preference interview

Conducting a Preference interviews with more than one company represented.

What do you do in most Preference interviews when the customers disagree? You let them debate for a while… but then you try to have them agree on a common 1-to-10 importance or satisfaction rating. Why? Because these participants work for the same company, and their views and ultimate decision are focused on a shared job to be done. In other words, their company will generally make a single decision later to purchase your new product or service… or not.

But in some cases, your Preference interview will include people from multiple companies. This would never happen if your customers are in fierce competition with each other. But you can imagine interviewing nurses from different hospitals, construction workers from different building sites, etc. They’d have no problem sharing their independent views in a group setting. The opportunity to interview multiple companies at once is especially attractive at trade shows and conferences, where so many interview candidates are available.

If you have this situation, make up paper sheets for each person to record their 1-to-10 ratings, which you’ll collect at the end of the interview. You can still encourage some group discussion on each outcome. But let them know it's fine if they disagree with others, because every company might have different needs. After discussing each outcome, ask them to privately record their own 1-to-10 ratings on their paper sheets.

After the interview, collect each person’s sheet and enter their data as a separate Preference interview: This is a great way to capture lots of data quickly.

This scenario sometimes plays out within a single company. Imagine you’re conducting Preference interviews concerning forklift trucks. It could be that warehouse managers from different facilities within the same company have very different needs, and are free to purchase different forklift trucks. Since their jobs-to-be-done are different, it’s a good idea to treat the responses from each warehouse manager as a separate interview… and not force a common response. If you collect this data, you can often endear yourself to high-level corporate decision-makers… by showing them commonalities and differences within their own operations.

For more on Preference interviews, see e-Learning Modules 23 and 24 (Preference Interviews A & B), both at > e-Learning. 


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