This episode features guest Darshan Mehta, the founder of iResearch.com, a platform that allows users to quickly extract insights from consumers throughout the world, and ConnectQik.com, an app that allows users to make instant connections and take part in engaging interactions.
Discover what insights regarding customers that Darshan believe to be important for a business to know and why it is the key to gaining an edge over your competitors.
Learn why Darshan believes that insights are the key to innovation and differentiation and how he has made running a market group possible for about the costs for a dinner for two.
No matter what you are going to get feedback from your customers. Do you want to get it sooner or later? Revealing insights is how you can identify your customers pain points and is a key to your company's growth.
Episode Action Items:
You can find more information regarding Darshan Media at https://www.iresearch.com or check out his book, Getting to Aha available on Amazon.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count Podcast. This is your host Andy Splichal, we are happy to welcome this week's guest to discuss today's topic, which is understanding your customers in order to grow your business. Today's guest is the founder of iResearch.com. A platform that allows users to quickly extract insights from customers throughout the world. And ConnectQik.com is an app that allows users to make instant connections and take part in engaging interaction. So big hello to Darshan Mehta. Hi, Darshan.
Darshan Mehta 1:20
Hey, Andy, nice to talk to you.
Andy Splichal 1:22
We're glad you could join us. Now we're to start, let's start here. What insights regarding customers? Do you consider to be important for a business to know?
Darshan Mehta 1:34
Well, actually, a lot have been. I would say that insights are the key to innovation, differentiation. And really, if you think about it, today's marketplace is a hyper competitive environment, you know, competing with the person next to you, but possibly the next state or even most likely around the world. So you know, the way to those, the advantage to get ahead is really getting insights from your customers. And the thing is, nowadays, you're gonna get insights, whether you seek them or not, because of social media, you know, people are buying your products, talking about it, and saying, you know, things that they like and don't like about it. So you're gonna get insights. But I would advocate that it's to your advantage, if you can listen sooner, and seek out your own insights, it's going to help you tremendously.
Andy Splichal 2:22
So what are some examples of insights for somebody who may not know?
Darshan Mehta 2:27
Sure, I can give you two examples. Let's even take Airbnb, for example, when they first started out, you know, they weren't doing so well, in a lot of markets. In the one market, they were doing pretty good when was New York, but they kind of plateaued. And then they were told, you know, just go talk to your customers. So they actually went, you know, from the West Coast, they went to New York and started talking to customers, and they gained an insight, talking to them that a lot of their customers really didn't know how to take good pictures of the properties. And so they took better pictures and helped them take good pictures gave instructions. And within a week, they saw their sales double for properties in New York. And that was just a simple insight. But that was something that made a huge difference in their growth directory and everything and success.
Andy Splichal 3:20
So next, I guess I have a two part question. And these are for listeners who might be in different stages of their business first, how can a start up using sites, especially if they have no or very few customers? And second, how can an established business be able to use insights to improve?
Darshan Mehta 3:40
Sure I'm adding both types of businesses can definitely use insights, startups, particularly, to get to product market fit, which is one of the first things they really need to get to, and gathering insights from your customers, having conversations with them. Conducting possibly some focus groups and things would definitely get you closer to the product market fit. I mean, here's the real truth, one way or another, you're gonna get feedback from your customers, right? Your choice is really not are you going to get feedback, your choice is do you want to listen sooner or later? And that's the same thing with established businesses. You know, one of the best ways to be innovative and stay ahead of the marketplace is to talk to your customers and find out what are some needs that are undeveloped or unmet or not being addressed properly. And, you know, they will tell you, they may not tell you exactly what their needs, but they'll tell you their pain points, right? They'll tell you what they like or don't like, or what are things that you know, they wish they could solve. And if whatever knowledge you have your business or your service, that's when you're going to come in and see if there's an opportunity here. That's an insight that I think maybe I can take advantage of maybe provide a solution for somebody.
Andy Splichal 4:56
So what your company iResearch is done as you've done, yes, you're gonna be able to explain it much better than I am. But you've gone out and done a bunch of research on different verticals or areas tell us about iResearch.
Darshan Mehta 5:10
Sure. I've been actually doing iResearch for about 20 some years. And I'm doing as a consultancy, and basically, I've been helping brands and marketers and companies to get insights and get closer to their customers. And what I've noticed is a certain pattern over the years. And basically, there's two ways to get insights, whether you do surveys, or you talk to people. And most people gravitate towards surveys, because they're familiar with surveys, and they cost less. But doing focus groups or conversations are really the heart of what most people want. Because that gets at the why that gets into the triggers the motivations and things that actually get people to act. And that's always been a very expensive, endeavor to engage in, is time consuming, costly, but I'm changing that with iresearch.com, where the costs are coming down tremendously. I mean, basically the cost of a lunch for two, you can be doing a focus groups. And I think as a result of that, now, even the smaller companies can actually do research that the big companies have always enjoyed and taken advantage of. But now I'm trying to get more of an equal playing field that allows you to do that. And I would actually encourage people to actually do some qualitative or conversations or focus groups first, even with when they do a survey, because they'll end up with better survey questions and answer choices as a result of it.
Andy Splichal 6:36
Interesting. Now, when you're doing these market groups, is it what is it a customer base of specific businesses? Is it groups you've put together? What are the attendees of those focus groups?
Darshan Mehta 6:56
Yeah, I think having the right people in the group is always a key. And it can vary, it can be existing customers, you know, that are, let's say, buy a lot of your product, and you want to understand their decision making process. Or it could be completely new customers that you're targeting, to find out what they're thinking and feeling, and maybe give their feelings and perceptions on existing products or services that they're using. So but the key to focus groups is really talking to like-minded people. For example, if you talk to people that use a product and don't use a product, I would recommend that in a focus group, unlike surveys, where you want to talk to a broader population, with focus, you want to be more focused auto extra say, have one group with people that are existing customers, and another group that might be other people that are not existing, don't mix them, but talk to them separately, because the whole point of the conversation is to do a deep dive. And if the more similarities the participants have, the deeper the dive you can make. And that's the key to get into those triggers in those insights. And to get it the why. And once you know the why that's when you can do surveys, to get to the how and how many.
Andy Splichal 8:05
Now, what would you say to the business owner who says I don't need to spend all this time understanding the customer, what I need to do is spend my time selling to the customer?
Darshan Mehta 8:17
I mean, that's that's a common I think approach. But I think nowadays things are changed, I think the days of selling a customer have changed tremendously. In fact, I would say nowadays, people aren't even buying products, they're buying experiences. And I think you need to really understand all that's evolved to enhance the total customer experience, from the time they learn about you to the time they get your product or service, open it and then even interact with it afterwards. So I think the days of just selling the customer, are really changed quite a bit. Because nowadays, you're talking with an informed consumer in many ways, because they can get reviews on you without even talking to you, they can find out all types of stuff about your product and service, because of the power of the digital economy. And so it's no longer just selling in fact, it's more about helping and meeting a need, and that will itself translate into sales and loyalty.
Andy Splichal 9:13
Now, I see where you had said that you believe that market strategy is always changing. What What do you mean by this?
Darshan Mehta 9:23
Yeah, I mean, we the strategy is always influenced by many different things one consumer needs and wants, but also technological changes and advances and also societal changes advances, for example, the last two years who would have predicted two years ago that we would have been dealing with a pandemic like this, where that's worldwide. And that's totally changed almost everything and if anything, it's expedited everybody's rapid movement to doing things digital and online. And even now as things are starting to normalize, attitudes and beliefs has changed and marketing strategies that were, I think, developed before COVID, and that post COVID, you really have to reevaluate them and revisit as to what's really going to work again.
Andy Splichal 10:08
So how should a business change to address marketing strategies that have changed?
Darshan Mehta 10:14
So that's where you basically have two options. One, you can just take a guess and say, Hey, I think I really have a good pulse on what's going on, and take a guess and put money and investment towards that. Or you can say, you know, I have a good feeling. But let me test it. First, let me talk to some people in the target market, before I spent a lot of time and a lot of money and go down, you know, the left avenue of the path, the crossroad or versus the right, you know, whichever one left to right to go at the white crossing, right. And so I think what I would advocate is that if you can talk to your customers, sooner than later, you're more likely to make better informed business decisions, as opposed to just stabbing in the dark.
Andy Splichal 10:55
Now, do you have a favorite success story of one of your clients that you would be able to share?
Darshan Mehta 11:00
Sure, it's actually a simple one. But it was quite powerful. There was a retailer in the Washington area, and wanted to do some focus groups. And, you know, their store opened at 10 o'clock in the morning. And in doing the focus, they realized that a lot of the shoppers in the morning were women that had just dropped off their children at school. But these women were actually in a time dilemma, because they'd be done and they go to the bagel shop that was nearby around nine o'clock or so can be done by 9:15 9:30. But didn't really want to wait that extra time. And so just from that insight of opening up a half an hour earlier, the retail was able to more than make up for the cost of the research within a week. And it tremendously increased sales throughout from that point forward.
Andy Splichal 11:49
Yeah, no, that's that's a great story. What about a online?
Darshan Mehta 11:55
Sure I think Airbnb was was certainly one example of it's true. Yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, that was a tremendous insight that they had not done until they actually talked to their customers. And I think now, the experience that people are having with the website, and also, you know, the digital, but also in person experience, like if they're going to Airbnb, or using Uber or any of these digital products and services, it makes a tremendous difference. And those insights can be gleaned by doing focus groups. And even if your customers are geographically dispersed, doing it online, it's not a problem.
Andy Splichal 12:32
How do you convince customers to participate in a focus group? I know that for some of my private clients, I, I use surveys through through a company called Hotjar, as far as training anyone that you know, it's just a pop up in the corner, but it's, you know, very low response rate, maybe two or 3%. How do you do you bribe them? How do you get them to? How do you get them to participate in a focus group send a gift cards, but what are doing?
Darshan Mehta 13:05
Well, there's no doubt that incentives do help people to, to participate and to show up. And quite honestly, I would advocate doing that there's nothing wrong with that. It's not really, I wouldn't say it's a bribe. It's really, you know, telling people you value their time and their effort. And when you take the time to set up a group, whatever you want to make sure people show up, I'll be honest with you, I get some to show up. But people love to talk about products and services. And they really actually do want to help and try to make things better, especially if this is something that they're interested in. Because they then become very loyal. Don't forget, there's the last 10 General benefits of doing focus groups to is that, like I said, customers love to talk about product and service and what they can do to try to make them better. And if they feel that the focus group went, well, the discussion went well. And they're in there, you're actually going to, you know, change something with that what they said was going to make a difference. You're also going to get a lot of loyalty, not to mention them willing, their willingness to even talk about this to other people.
Andy Splichal 14:03
Advocate business out. Yeah, yeah. Now, you personally, have there been any business books out there that that you attribute to your journey as an entrepreneur?
Darshan Mehta 14:14
Yeah, in fact, I'm actually working on a book I've been inspired. So my book is coming out in November 2. It's called
Andy Splichal 14:20
Darshan Mehta 14:22
Thanks. It's calledGetting to Aha! Why Today's Insights Are Tomorrow's Facts. And in and I talked about really, you know, how do you get to an aha moment? Because that's what we're looking for. You know, a lot of times people think of insights, and I think there's a misunderstanding what an insight is. An insight is not just a fact or an observation. It's really a combination of that and other things, as we talked about societal trends, technological trends, that basically it's summed up into one insight that makes you say, oh, my God, that's so true. And that's very interesting. I'll give you an example. I think one of the best people that do insights comedians, right? If you listen to a really good comedian, that's very, you know, let's say just using language to make it funny, but out, you're given examples of human nature and what happens in life and it makes you say, oh my god, I'd never thought of that. That's so funny and so true. Now, that is an insight. And if you can get to those insights related to your product and service, you're gonna, I think, have a distinct advantage among your competitors.
Andy Splichal 15:28
So I'm sorry, you said the book is coming out in November?
Darshan Mehta 15:31
November 2. Yeah, it's called Getting to Aha! Why Today's Insights Are Tomorrow's Facts. But to other another book, I'd recommend actually, as well, is called The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank. And that's a book I would recommend. It's not just for startups, it's also for established businesses. And the premise that Steve has talked about, it's basically the facts are outside the building. In other words, the facts are not in the boardroom, or the meeting room, they're actually outside the building good talk to your customers, and you know, learn, iterate and keep changing, and you'll get to that perfect fit of product market fit, so that they want to buy your product or service.
Andy Splichal 16:14
Great. Now, your your book, it will be available on Amazon, I'm assuming?
Darshan Mehta 16:18
It will, yeah.
Andy Splichal 16:19
Okay. Now, what problems? Do you believe that you are solving for clients? And? And how does your service help a company grow their business?
Darshan Mehta 16:30
Sure. You know, businesses are looking for ways to differentiate and be successful. And one of the ways to do that is to be innovative. And innovation requires getting information about your customers, what they think what they want, triggers, what motivates them. And I think if you start on this path of getting insights, you will soon realize that one of the best ways to be competitive is to become your own best competitor. In other words, you can't really control what other competitors are doing in the marketplace, you can observe them, you can watch them, that's fine. But you have very little control over what they do. But what you do control is what you can do with your product and service to innovate. And that can be based on the direction you're getting from the insights from your customers.
Andy Splichal 17:17
I like that phrase, be your own, what was it own best competitor?
Darshan Mehta 17:21
Yeah. You are best competitor, because that's the one thing you control, you have no control over your competitors.
Andy Splichal 17:29
So we've been talking quite a bit about iResearch and and some of the insights that you can gain by using it. But we haven't touched yet on your other company, which is connectqik.com, QI K, can you tell us about ConnectQuick?
Darshan Mehta 17:45
Sure. This actually started with a call a pebble in my shoe, something that was irritating me, when I go to conferences, and that was I would meet people and I'd get walk away from the conference with like 30 or 50 cards. And it's like, what am I going to do with all these cards now, you know, take the time and put them all in or scan them. And I just found that that whole process really kind of cumbersome and annoying. So I said there's got to be a better way with today's technology and digital world. So ConnectQik is really about connecting quickly, you can basically hold up your phone, somebody else holds it up, and you get your own personal QR code that instantly puts all their contact information right into your phone. So no more typing, no more scanning. And it goes even beyond that. The app allows you to actually create three different profiles, a personal profile for things you do in your personal life, and a business profile, as well as a custom profile. And each profile, you can actually attach your own profile picture, but also a little video. Because think about me today. I mean, I'm sure Andy, you wear more than one hat, right? We all wear multiple hats. But one business card just doesn't do it anymore.
Andy Splichal 18:55
Sure, sure. Now do both people have to have the app installed for to transfer the information? Or how does
Darshan Mehta 19:01
You don't have to mean, you'll get more benefits if they have the app to be able to do more things in? Because there's actually some things in the what I call it a conversation starters. For example, you can also include in the app, there's a feature called wonder less, we can actually put in places you've been would like to go to in your favorites. But you can also use the same map in the business profile for maybe where you sell your products or services around the country around the world. So you don't have to have the app, but you will benefit from the app once you use it with other things that aren't and here's the good news. The app is free. There's no cost to the app. So it's it's available right now in the App Store. It's ConnectQik. Again, as you said Qi K, it's all one word connect Qi K, and it's free. So give it a try.
Andy Splichal 19:49
But that seems like that'd be great for trade shows.
Darshan Mehta 19:52
Andy Splichal 19:53
Now back to iResearch when a new client comes in and they say, Hey, I want more, you know, I'm trying to increase my conversion rates I'm, I'm getting ready for the holidays coming up. Where Where do you typically start? How's that procedure?
Darshan Mehta 20:13
Well, we want to know, what do they currently know about their customers know what? What would be the one question they really like to have solved, right? And then from there, we would develop a strategy to actually ask the right questions, and to then go out actually get the right people to talk with, and then have those conversations with those people, and do deep dives, to get at the ultimate question that the person who wants answer. And so iResearch, we actually were in educating people to do this, if they want to do this on their own, or they can hire us to do it. So there's flexibility, depending on people's needs, because one of the things I really believe in, it's not just, you know, what's your ladders, right, you can teach someone how to fish, you can give them a fish, right? And so we're trying to really give it so that we can empower you to do focus groups on your own eventually, and learn how to do it so that you can learn how to get these insights on a regular basis. But we're always there to help you at any level that you need as well.
Andy Splichal 21:14
Okay, so you're offering both to do it with you services and do it for you?
Darshan Mehta 21:18
Andy Splichal 21:19
And how is the fee structure you had mentioned that you're bringing the cost down compared to what it used to be for, for large organizations? How does it? I mean, I'm assuming it's gonna depend on which one of those options you choose. But how is it a flat fee? Is it I mean, how does that work?
Darshan Mehta 21:39
Yeah, it's very similar to like surveys that you do. Now we have a monthly subscription to do focus groups. And depending on how many sessions you want to do per month, the subscription plan varies based on that. We've tried to keep it really simple and easy. And so, you know, you can start with just one session a month if you want, or you can get additional subscription plans for more sessions per month. And then each additional session, the price comes down with your subscription plan. And then if you want us to do the other services that we have other tiers, for consulting, that we know we can customize and give you. But in terms of the platform itself, it's really designed to you can do it on your do by yourself anytime, anywhere, in any language. And then we also have training tools available for you. They range from free to paid training as well.
Andy Splichal 22:28
So who is your guy's perfect avatar? If that person is out there listening now and be like, Hey, you should really use our service, give it a try. Because I think we can, we can really help you.
Darshan Mehta 22:42
I think Startups really benefit a lot, especially those that are looking to get to product market fit. Because they need to do that quickly. And they often have to do it with a small budget. But to be honest with you, this is the kind of tool that I've used for years for all types of different needs. For example, product design, web design, also, message testing, we've done a lot of testing for magazines, and advertisements. You know, you're spending a lot of money to produce and launch these ads. But do you really know what how they're resonating with your audience. And this is something you can do in focus groups in advance very quickly and easily before you spend a huge media budget on launching the ad. So there's a variety of things you can use this for. The main thing is that you have these focused discussions with your target audience to get to those insights.
Andy Splichal 23:38
Now, how can an interested listener, learn more about working with you and iResearch?
Darshan Mehta 23:45
Probably the best way is to come to the website, iresearch.com. Or send me an email directly at DM. Just my initial DM at iresearch.com
Andy Splichal 23:54
Great. Well, thank you for joining us. Is there anything that I would be amiss that forgetting to ask you before we wrap it up today?
Darshan Mehta 24:03
No, this is great talking to you and really appreciate the opportunity.
Andy Splichal 24:06
Great. Well, thank you again for for joining us today. For listeners, remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave an honest review. And if you're looking for more information regarding iResearch or connecting with or Darshan, you will find the links in the show notes below. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out our all new Podcasts Resource Center available at www.makeeachclickcount.com. We have compiled all of our past guests by show topic and included their contact information in case you would like more information on any of their services that have been covered during previous episodes. Again, to access you can go to www.makeeachclickcount.com and click on the link for the podcast Resource Center found in the top navigation menu. Again that is it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.