The world has lost one of our greatest women this week, Maya Angelou. She has impacted my life with her statements, particularly this one. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thank you Dr. Maya Angelou
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.
AIIP holds its annual conference from April 2 – 6 this year in Baltimore, Maryland at the Hyatt Regency in the Inner Harbor. I will be giving a half day workshop from 8 am – Noon on April 2. The topic is elicitation skills with my corporate spin rather than the military intelligence angle. The talk is entitled, “How to Use Conversation to Optimize Data Collection.”
A week ago I delivered an IntelCollab webinar on win loss analysis, and have now posted my win loss analysis slides on my Slideshare account. At the conclusion we had time for a goodly number of questions, which I have recapped below. For those who are unfamiliar with win loss analysis, it is the process of interviewing customers and non customers, usually over the telephone, as to why they chose to do business with you or another service provider. You tally up the results of these telephone interviews, and provide quantitative and qualitative analysis based on what you learned from the interviews. It is my favorite tactical competitive intelligence practice since you learn so much from these short interviews, much of which you can take action on almost immediately.
I have been using elicitation techniques for many years, but not quite in the military intelligence way, which seems like using the other person in a more negative way. These techniques take advantage of human tendencies to complain, gossip, correct and inform, which certainly works. However, I like to capture the human desire to be happy.
I recently gave a webinar on “How to improve your collection skills through interviewing and elicitation.” I particularly enjoyed the Q&A and will share my 2 favorites: What are some tips to get the interview in the first place? Reaching people live, referrals or customized email requests leading up to a phone call? How do you differentiate yourself from a telemarketer? Do you say what you’re doing?
Remember it’s not just what you say, but how you say it that makes you a successful interviewer.
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.
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.
Many competitive intelligence, marketing, research and product developers complain about poor communication from their sales force, who has a direct conduit to your customers—one of the best sources of knowledge about what your company is doing right and wrong as well as ideas for new products, services and tweaks to your existing products that can be revenue generating!
So how do you encourage cooperative communication from Sales?