How to be a Competition Detective: Eliciting Conversation

People often ask me how I engage people so readily in conversation over the telephone. “Who do you say you are? Why do you say you’re calling?” With all calls, you want to give the person a good reason to talk with you, and not waste their time with small talk and listen very closely to how and what they share with you. The bottom line is I consider who I am talking to and try to think of all the ways the person might answer my questions to be prepared for the unexpected. Calls seldom go just as planned. Don’t take yourself too seriously and keep that smile on your face.

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Find out how innovative ideas spread like the flu

Here’s another vote to have strong #networks! http://ow.ly/h4r5Q #connection @FastCompany Harvard Professor, Nicholas Christakis tells us how network science reveals that innovation–much like the dreaded flu bug–is contagious. Here’s where you need to position yourself to catch one (and maybe avoid the other). “Individuals located centrally within a network will be at both an increased risk for the acquisition of a pathogen,” Christakis …

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How to be a Competition Detective: Motivation

This is the first in a series of blogs to improve your collection skills. Figuring out how others are motivated is a great start. Even if you’re cold calling, you can get a hint of how they might be motivated by learning more about their profession. People like that you appreciate their occupation, and I have found this to be a prime motivator to get people to open up to me regardless of their profession. It also pays to be polite regardless of which profession you are targeting. So many people are rude these days, especially to trades people, who feel they are taken for granted.

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Improve your Primary Collection through Relational Voice

In competitive intelligence and other forms of primary research we so often just concentrate on techniques to extract information. We often forget to get ourselves grounded and in the right frame of mind to conduct these interviews. Yesterday I was reading Lee Glickman’s relational presence description, and it spoke to me. In relational voice, you start with deep, relaxed breathing and use your voice to almost do inner calisthenics. This exercise will strengthen you by getting you in the right frame of mind to do primary research of any type whether it’s cold calling, win loss analysis calls or trade show collection.

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How to become an expert in primary intelligence: Interviewing

The first step in primary collection regardless of whether it’s a standard interview, elicitation or some combination is preparation. Do not skimp on this upfront time. Often conversations and interviews don’t go as planned. If you have done your preparation, you can more easily be flexible. Lay aside your preconceived notions. Many of us listen for what we think is the ‘right’ answer or for what we want to hear. We don’t listen to the full story that the other person is telling us. Listen and put your ego aside if you want to be good in primary collection.

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Maximize Your ROI through Competitive Intelligence

This blog focuses on maximizing your ROI (return on investment) while providing competitive analysis.Competitive intelligence is a support role. You need to shelf your ego. I learned that I portrayed a cooperative attitude aka "cooperative intelligence”, which opened up the floodgates of sharing from Sales in particular. I was fortunate in that I came from field Sales, so I knew I could improve our company’s ROI by helping Sales win more deals. I could connect individuals who were combating the same competitor, and let them strategize together, then share their success story.

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Competitive Intelligence in 1985

This is the first in a series about how I evolved in my career in competitive intelligence, and what I have learned over time. Overall I am glad I had a start back in 1985 for the critical thinking and deeper relationships I developed. I am glad to still be in this field today where I can reach out to sources quickly that I would never have dreamed even existed in 1985, thanks to social networking.

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Independence or Not?

How many times have you heard people say, “I am too busy. I am soooo busy.” Are most of us really busier than we used to be? Or are we imposing busyness by all the distractions of everyday 21st century life? Do people really need to know what you’re doing all the time and where you ate and what airline you’re flying? Knowing when to connect on social media is a competitive advantage for individuals and for companies. Knowing when not to connect gives you more independence.

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Timing is Everything in Win/Loss Interviews

In a recent webinar I learned a few new things about the psychology behind conducting win/loss interviews. I have always told clients to makes sure that the sale is complete and implemented before handing them off to me to interview. Win/loss learning is often more about the failure of the selling process rather than selling the product. if you just have one time to conduct win/loss interviews, wait until after implementation or a rule of thumb is wait 2-3 months after the sale closes. If you wait too long, they’ll forget the details around the sales event that you are trying to collect and analyze.

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How Intuition Can Guide Your Research & Research Business

Critical thinking and intuition are two skills that are often overlooked in this information explosion. We often jump to conclusions with more certainty without testing our conclusions by standing back and questioning our assumptions in a broader context. Likewise, many have lost touch with our intuition, which I consider the barometer of veracity. I have been in business for almost 20 years, and still make mistakes when I don’t listen to or trust my intuition. Listening to your intuition saves you time in the research and competitive intelligence processes, and can help you qualify your sales prospects and deal with people authentically.

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