See on Scoop.it – Holistic Nutrition Self publishing: Guy Kawasaki’s latest book APE (author, publisher, entrepreneur) shows you how to go from manuscript to book, without giving up control to a publisher. Of course, when you’re Guy Kawasaki with his cache and name recognition, people want to buy what he publishes since he seems to often …
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.
Be skeptical of the business information you find through digital media and traditional media sources. So much of it comes from press releases and is regurgitated more or less at face value by other news sources. Press releases are carefully crafted to further the interests of the originating organization, whether a company, government organization, trade association or other special interest group. So who is telling the truth? A skeptical, informed person recognizes that news contains some bias, distortion and misinformation. You also know you can’t rely on a single news source, and if the same news is repeated by many sources, it’s good idea to find the original source, so you can check its veracity and the content that JDLR (just don’t look right).
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.
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.
Another great analytical tool is personality profiling. Most often companies study their competitor’s management team or key employees such as the head of R&D. Usually their strengths and weaknesses follow them from job to job. It’s good to understand their predisposition; what mistakes they have made in the past; and what blind spots they might have. Don’t just focus on their professional experience as their personal life is just as important, and often highly influences their professional decision-making.
I am always surprised that more companies don’t have a formal win loss program.
To conduct win/loss, interview your customers or lost customers shortly after the sales event to find out why they chose to do business with you or decided on a competitor. The data gathered combines knowledge from sales, customers, competitors, and your marketplace. Those companies that do win loss claim do improve their win rate by 15-30%. That’s a nice return on investment.
Thanksgiving is a time for sharing, caring and expressing gratitude. In the spirit of cooperative intelligence and sharing, I recently was a panelist in an SLA Competitive Intelligence division (CID) webinar on “Integrating Marketing and Sales to Capture & Deliver Intelligence.” While this is an SLA CID member benefit, all four of us panelists posted our slides on Slideshare, which follow. Likewise we just concluded a series of Colorado Future Ready blogs on SLA’s FR365 site which features a blog a day. This blog contains the list of authors and links to each blog. Don’t forget to read the Thanksgiving poem, “Thanksgiving….More Than a Day by Karl Fuchs.