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How do you win or lose your clients?

Do you know why people choose your product? Or you're just happy it happens? Or they don't choose your product, and you don't know why? Below is a simple way to find out.

Benefits of knowing why they buy

It's crucial to know why your clients choose your product to:
  • Craft a performing value proposition (know your USPs in the eyes of your customers)
  • Invest into the most performing marketing channels (know how your clients get to know your product) 
  • Know your strong characteristics comparing to your competitors (invest more into strengths rather than weaknesses) 
  • Learn how your customers make purchasing decisions (and how you can influence those)

How could I know why clients choose my product?

You ask them. Preferably - in person, but phone would do. When should you ask? Two the most relevant events are:


When a client just bought your product. "Just" might be literally immediately after the purchase or in a reasonable time when client still might remember the purchase process.


When a customer resigned from your product. That might be a direct cancellation or client just stopped using your product, didn't renew the contract and so on. Similarly to purchase - you should talk to your customer in a reasonable timeframe after the cancellation event, so a person has chances to remember the context around the decision.

How should I ask?

In product management, there is a concept of the "Win/Loss" interview. Best applicable for B2B sales, but could be applied with success in various types of business. "Win/Loss" focuses on a purchasing process. It helps you to understand how your target clients think before purchasing a product. You could do "Win/Loss" interviews with both customers who selected your product and those who chosen a different solution. Your competitor's clients are your clients!

"Win" interviews

You do a "win" interview with your active clients. Those who currently use your product. Your goal is to find out:
  • How your customers did learn about you? 
  • Their decision making (purchasing process)?
  • How do you compare to your competitors? 

Examples of a "win" interview questions

  • How did you know, if at all, about our company and product? 
  • Before our engagement, what was your perception of our products and services?
  • What informational tools did you use for your consideration? 
  • What solution were you previously using?
  • As you began the selection of a new solution, what were you originally looking for (your needs, issues, etc.)?
  • What was the final ranking of the solutions considered?
  • Where were we the strongest/weakest during the overall evaluation process?
  • Would you recommend our solution to others?

How do I recruit clients to interview?

Those are your customers, right? They expressed their interest in your product very clearly by purchasing it. Even if your product is free - it still costs your clients time and attention. Those are quite evident indicators of value your clients are getting or expecting to get from your product. You most likely have a way to contact your customers. Do so. Ask them for a 30-45 min. interview.

How about an incentive?

Up to you. With an incentive - you'll recruit interviewees faster. Without - also would do, just may take a bit more time. Types of incentive are plenty: discount on a product price, preferable support or plan upgrade. There are always classics such as gift certificates, free lunches or company merchandise.

How do I know why clients abandoned my product?

"Loss" interview

You do a "loss" interview with clients who just abandoned you. Stopped to use your product, canceled your service. You also can do a "loss" interview with clients who were considering your solution but finally decided to go with another one. Your goal is to find out:
  • Why have they canceled? 
  • What was their experience using your product? 
  • Where did they go? (what solution do they use now?)

Examples of a "loss" interview questions

  • What was the reason to cancel our solution? 
  • When have you made the decision to cancel? 
  • What did/didn't you like about our solution? 
  • How do you solve the problem after canceling our solution? 
  • What do you like the most about your new solution? 

In a case of a "loss" during a solution selection process, your goal is to find out same things as with a "win" interview. You may use the same questions as well.

How do I recruit clients to interview?

This is a little bit more tricky. Those clients just turned their backs on you. For some reasons they no longer get value from using your product. Yet you still have a way to recruit them. The first place to explore is a cancellation page. Try to lure your former clients in the process of resigning from your product or immediately after. Wait long enough, and they might not remember who you are and why they left you.

How about an incentive?

To find out why your clients abandoned your product you need to incentivise them. In this case, product-related incentives would probably not work. So go for standard incentives such as gift cards or other useful, applicable to a concrete person incentives.

How many interviews should I conduct?

10 seems to be the magic number. 10 interviews are enough to spot clear trends or spot issues with interviewees selection and re-define the criteria. You obviously could do more interviews. But be sure to reflect deeper after each 10 interviews and evaluate if additional interviews would bring the value to cover the investment.

Face-to-face or?

As with other types of 1-on-1 interviews, you should aim for face-to-face meetings first. If those are impossible try audio-video conferencing. Your third option is a phone. If that's your first interviews on a topic, you need to do at least a couple face-to-face. Non-verbal information is far too important to be ignored!


It's crucial to know why your clients chose your solution or a competitive one. This knowledge would help you to improve your overall marketing including product, positioning, price and promotion. "Win/Loss" interview is a useful tool to structurally get insights into your clients purchasing process. After only 10 "Win/Loss" interviews you'd get actionable insights into your customer's decision-making process.

Learn more

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