Hello, I just got back from Texas and two weekends at my husband, Rodgers’ art shows in Houston. This is short notice, but tomorrow–April 8–the spotlight will be on me, well just a little. From Noon – 1:00 p.m. Eastern USA time, I’ll be giving a webinar and answering questions from my talk, “Capture Precious Competitor & Market Intelligence through Elicitation.”
What is elicitation? Simply put, it’s a conversational way to learn information from another person, and it can be used with anybody. The technique works across all cultures since it’s based on human nature. It is a valuable communication skill in comparison to interviewing, which relies on questions to get answers, which is more direct. When you interview people, they might wonder why you are asking certain questions, and over time they might even become a suspicious of your motives. Whereas a skilled elicitor will entice the other person to talk and share information almost without the other person realizing that they’re sharing.
One valuable way to use elicitation: learn about the competition, market trends or new technology from customers using sales people, customer service, installation or maintenance people as the conduit. It’s also a very useful skill when going to trade shows, and finding out all that juicy marketing and product development information from your competitors, industry experts and the like.
The key to successful elicitation, aside from practice, is to prepare how you would like the conversation to flow, to be ready for any detours that the customer may present, which will take you off course. Some detours render you even more information than you can imagine, so you need to think about these so you can be flexible. You also need to be prepared to answer questions the customer might ask you. That’s a faux pas of many people who start elicitation programs: they forget about cooperative intelligence. People usually will share if you give. Know what it is “safe” to talk about with your customers before starting your elicitation program. Sales and other customer facing people are a natural at elicitation, although they often don’t think they are since elicitation is not part of sales training. It should be, since elicitation skills also help sales close more deals. Who is more spontaneous than Sales when things don’t quite go as planned?
The webinar is part of an ongoing series of talks that are sponsored by Ryma Technology Solutions and Ready Talk. These webinars are given most weeks on Wednesday at Noon Eastern USA time, and last for one hour. See you tomorrow if you have the time! This webinar will also be followed by Twitter under #pmv, so you can check out the Tweets. You can also check out this article, “Enable Sales to Elicit Market Intelligence: The Cooperative Angle.”