Each of the customer discovery questions I teach has a "hook" and a "twist," designed to disarm customers and get them to open up. Typically they will talk at least 80% of the time, so you'll have lots of opportunity to listen and learn.
Here are 3 examples:
1. If a COMPETITOR (hook) CONTACTED YOU TOMORROW (twist), would you ignore them, or want to learn more?
Hook the customer by mentioning "competitor," which most other vendors wouldn't dare ask about. They fear it's a Pandora's Box, when in reality, our customers are exposed to our competitors every week if not every day! The twist is posing the hypothetical scenario in which that the customer hears from a competitor tomorrow (which also gives the hypothetical a sense of urgency).
2. What's the one thing that absolutely has to be OFF (TWIST) your WHITEBOARD (hook) in the next 90 days?
The whiteboard is a hook. Everyone either has one or knows what it refers to. The twist is to ask what needs to be *off* their whiteboard. Two other ingredients make this question disruptive: Asking about *one thing* helps the customer prioritize, as there is often one challenge or priority that rises above the others in importance. And *next 90 days* gives the question a relatively near-term focus. You can also use "next 12 months."
3. What’s one thing that SURPRISED YOU (twist) since you signed the CONTRACT (hook)?
Signing the contract is the hook. It's a great reference point, not only because it reminds the customer of what they signed up to receive, but also because it represents a specific point in time. The twist is asking what *surprised* them. This helps you uncover the delta between their original expectations and the reality they are experiencing. Interesting fact: In the course of my nearly 2,600 customer discovery conversations, customers mention positive surprises a bit more than half the time.