So much about life revolves around effective communication. As a primary research expert, I am always looking to for ways to motivate others to share. You need to understand what makes them comfortable to share. I recently read Traci Brown’s book, Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence. While the book focuses on closing …
I am most fascinated by what motivates people to share, and how to figure this out quickly, especially during a telephone conversation where you don’t have the benefit of body language. Contrary to what I have been taught: “Do not treat others like you would want to be treated.” Treat them the way THEY want to be treated.
I have applied Johari’s model to classifying those we talk to in the collection process. It’s helpful to be aware of their pre-disposition towards sharing versus what they know. My classifications are: Egocentric; Deeply Knowledgeable; Intellectual and Helpers.
Compelligence recently introduced the Compelligence App which is the only competitive and market intelligence software that integrates seamlessly within Salesforce.com. It builds off the strengths of Salesforce.com in that it helps sales close more deals since it extends the reach of Salesforce.com to include data from the competitive marketplace. Armed with this information at their fingertips, account reps have even more time to sell.
When you rely solely on the Internet and social media as sources of intelligence, you just have your interpretation of what you think is going on. You perpetuate your blind spots, which we all have. That’s why I like to engage in conversation with others when I seek information for important things in my life. It’s a relief to me that leadership in America is stressing the importance of conversation. Perhaps there is some correction from the imbalance and overreliance of digital connections to provide us with the answers we seek in our personal and business lives.
The key to success in communication to and from sales is to understand your company’s sales culture, and what might be fun and engaging for them to be cooperative in sharing what they learn in a timely manner. Go to where sales is to get them to engage. Many sales people travel extensively, so they have time in the car or airplane to write, tape or text about what they’re learning. They also value information from their peers. Maybe you can facilitate more sharing among peers, even informally. In my experience it takes a couple of years to get sales information to flow. You have to earn their trust to build that relationship.
Join us, Arik Johnson and me, Ellen Naylor, for an informative webinar on the how to behind win loss analysis. Win/loss interviews and analysis, are still one of my favorite tactical collection techniques. This is a low cost form of primary collection which always provides a high return for improving your company’s bottom line. Who better than your customers and those who decided on a competitor to tell you what you are doing well and what you need to change?
While competitive intelligence is not a kind business function, it is a necessary one, and we can be kind people when we bring cooperative intelligence practices into our work. Cooperative intelligence is kindness: you give without an expectation of something in return. People realize that you genuinely want to help them in their work. After all, competitive intelligence is a support function. You need to keep giving, and eventually those in your network of contacts will support you by sharing great tidbits on the competitive environment since your giving is infectious, and they just can’t help themselves. People are attracted to you by your good example of producing the goods they need and your giving attitude.
Many are too focused on what they can find from “big data,” the Internet and social media–which anyone can have access to who has time and money. If you want to learn what’s really happening, you need to talk to human beings on a regular basis, not just for competitive intelligence, but for anything in life that you care about.
Small talk is an appetizer to any relationship. People like to do business with their friends. When you forget someone’s name, for example, be open and ask them graciously. This psychology of assuming the burden of someone else’s comfort is similar when you are on the telephone doing research or competitive intelligence. Make the other person feel you care, but also keep in mind that you might be catching them at a busy time.
Short, shallow, frequent bursts of communication via Twitter, Facebook or texting do not develop deep and emotional relationships, whether among friends, parent to child or between business colleagues. I fear that people are losing their ability to hold a conversation in our infected society of social networks, which favors many forms of digital connection with numerous people who are practically strangers, rather than really getting to know fewer people a whole lot better.