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.
Why is it that companies don’t want to disclose who they are in win loss interviews? Is it fear? Many feel if they don’t identify who they are, they’ll get a more objective interview. They are also afraid if they let the customer know who they are—especially when they lost the business—the customer won’t take the interview or if they do, they won’t tell much. A third common reason is they don’t want their sales force to know that they’re conducting these interviews since some of the questions assess the effectiveness and quality of the sales force.
I have found that transparency is a win/win for customers and the company in win loss analysis interviewing. It’s the ultimate in cooperative intelligence and promotes sharing.
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.
Want to get a leg up on your competitors? Here are 10 tips for gathering intel Read more by Tom Searcy on CBS News’ Sales Machine. 1. Educate yourself about Google Scholar 2. Go where the writers go, the Writers Guild of America 3. Get to know university librarians 4. Run a background check https://www.knowx.com/index.jsp …
People often ask me what is the benefit of elicitation versus the standard interview. Actually they share more in common than they differ. Preparation in similar. You want to learn as much about that person as you can before you talk to them. Elicitation is a conversational interview, a planned conversation. Elicitation builds off human tendencies that most people have: a desire for recognition; showing off, curiosity, gossip, complaining, correcting you.
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.
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.
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 &quot;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.
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.
Recently I gave a webinar for SCIP chapters in Mercyhurst and Ohio on how to capture competitive intelligence from Sales by using cooperative intelligence skills. I love serving Sales Reps since I can easily translate what I provide into an ROI benefit, namely more sales. Serve Sales well and you will have job security even in a tough economy since they are the company’s revenue producers!