Manufacturing companies usually conduct thorough evaluation by means of a focus group to assess the market potential of an idea before moving onto the next step in new product development. All companies are advised to go through this process if they want to fine-tune the features of a product or determine what other changes could be done to improve its sales performance.

This is the first opportunity that companies can present the product to consumers before its actual release into the market. Hence, it will also give a product development company lots of insight into how they can improve the product. Sadly, there are a few common mistakes committed during this process. It therefore limits a company’s ability to achieve the purpose of conducting a focus group discussion in the first place. To learn how you can maximize this activity, you must also do away with these common mistakes.

The first and most common mistake committed by companies when evaluating new product concepts is to have pre-biases on the consumer response. A typical focus group will start with the presentation of the new product concept’s category, usage, and other features. The major flaw with this approach is that the presentation is solely focused on the highlights of the product and is often discussed in line with the category from which it belonged to. Oftentimes, it is also presented to address the consumers’ problems so they are naturally compelled to “like” the product.

To prevent this from happening, avoid focusing on the product itself as if it were finalized. You have to keep in mind that this is concept exploration and trying to assess the feasibility of the concept as a product. You need to get the audience to provide you with the response, not feed it to them or influence it in some way.

Another mistake often committed by a product development company through concept evaluation is to generalize consumer votes. You should refrain from asking a close-ended question because there is a huge gap between a “yes” and a “no”. Instead of asking consumers if they’d be interested to purchase a given product, you should rather ask assess the degree of purchase interest.

You can take cues from their body language to assess their interest in the concept you have offered them. When you ask them if they’d be willing to buy the product, check if they were slow in raising their hand. If so, this means lack of commitment to the concept and some are even compelled to raise their hand because the others did so. What you are looking for is a firm and fast hand because it signifies more than just a positive response. It is also an indicator that the participant believes in the concept, which explains their enthusiastic response.

Even when you produced a positive reaction from consumers about the new product development concept, you have to probe deeper. Do not take yes for an answer. Instead, examine the why and how about their decision to purchase the product. You should also generate ideas from them when in comparison to other similar products in the market. This will provide you insight on how you can further improve your current concepts.