An Hour With Sean Ellis: Improve Conversions with Questions that Confirm Intent and Uncover Objections

I spent an hour with Sean last week, and he was all about asking questions that fix problems. That makes sense, given that his product, Qualaroo, is all about asking questions inside your app to better understand your users and remove friction app.

When we at first used Qualaroo on, we asked broad questions to better understand what our audience was like (“Have you bought ads before?”), but the answers didn’t lead to direct action to improve our product or processes.

Sean was nice enough to spend time showing us a better way, including showing us how Qualaroo’s newest features line up with what we ought to be doing instead.

This won’t solve every problem with your product: If you’re wildly misfit to your market, or just aren’t close to a product people want, then you’ve got to get back out of the building. But if things are turning, and you want them to spin faster, this is a great tactic.

A Repeatable Process for Question-Driven Product Development:

1. Identify poorly converting areas of your product.

You already know how to do this. Peep your conversion funnel for steps with strong drop-offs, areas where you know what you want people to do but too few of them are doing it. These aren’t problem areas, so much as the areas where the most potential for growth reside.

2. Ask users open ended questions to learn their objections while they’re experiencing those holes.

At BuyAds, we have a lot of traffic sent to our catalog pages from specific publishers. These are people who self-select themselves as shoppers, should have been Product Qualified Leads, but actually convert less than our average leads.

We don’t know why. We have suspicions, maybe the users were just curious what’s available and never intended to buy, but guessing and asking users to confirm is shooting in the dark (which is what we did on our first survey). Better to ask open ended questions and listen to what your users have to say.

Compare shooting in the dark to the following survey made using Qualaroo’s branched survey tool:

Qualaroo branched survey soliciting user intentions and objections

Click for full size

The user drives the discussion, and tells us exactly what we want to know.

3. Collect and deal with common responses.

If everyone complains about the same thing, you know exactly what to fix, with confidence that you’ll see an uptick when you ship it.


Try Qualaroo. Talk to your users. Go nuts, and share what you find.


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Jordan is a freelance engineer with full-stack chops, and an eye for analytics and growth.