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Be Brave and Do Information Interviews

Information interviews are one of the true secrets of successfully entering a new market.

And fortunately for you, your contemporaries are just too darn afraid to ask for them.

Someone who's experienced in the field you want to get into will know things. They'll have an idea of what the pain points are.

Not every time—occasionally you'll run into a member of that target market who simply doesn't know how to articulate the common problems of the niche...

...but you'll still have a friendly conversation, and I'll bet they introduce you to one or two other people who do know.

What you're looking for are the key words and phrases that declare, "Yes! I am a member here! I know what you're struggling with."

For me, they stand out immediately. As soon as I've heard them, I recognize them.

And after 20+ years in the professional working world, even I have to go back to the drawing board and do some information interviews every few years or so.

I'm not exempt.

information interviews two women chatting discussion

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Information Interviews Help You Learn FAST

All that learning I did to this point means little in the context of the new target market.

I am not my customer.

What I believe is important is not what they believe is important.

You'll see people try to jumpstart this step by using an online survey.

I don't believe that's anywhere near as valuable as a one-on-one conversation. In person if you can, by video or a phone call if you can't. I've used Zoom, Whatsapp and the old fashioned phone.

If you can, record the conversation. Make sure you get the interviewee's permission first.

Now the key thing here is having the guts to ask.

It really does not take much.

Just ask if they'll meet with you for 20 minutes. You want to hear from them about their experience in the field.

I've had people offer to do this without me asking them.

Why?

Because some people enjoy sharing. Others like to show off what they know. Sometimes it's a combination.

Sure, you'll get an individual who's "too busy." I still get that today. But it's one person in a hundred I ask (no kidding.) It's a little shocking for a moment, but then I laugh and look at the 25 other people who've already agreed to meet with me.

You don't need 25.

Four or five would be a great start.

But imagine if you did meet 25 members of that target market. Imagine if you met with them over a week or two. How much would you pick up about that market?

And really, really fast.

So be brave. Have the guts to ask. You only need to be brave for a minute.

The payoff is amazing.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist. To book a consultation with Jason, click here. <<

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Information Interviews [How To]

Information InterviewsInformation interviews are the key when you're confused about...

...what job to pursue, at what companies...

...when you want to know what your target market is interested in concerning your offer...

...when you want to make sales but don't know your new niche.

If you can't say out loud and clearly:

> Why you want a specific job at a specific company

or

> Why decision makers in the niche you're entering want to buy from you

then you badly need to do some information interviews.

Why?

The fact is, this is your target market. And hearing what they want and value in their own words is critical. Nothing else is more important. Not what you believe their desires and values are. Not what you hope or think they will be.

When we talk about pain points, this is what we mean. These words. These phrases. This jargon. This terminology. When you repeat these pain points to members of your target market, they will listen. These terms will resonate with them and that will give you instant credibility.

When we talk about finding the work role you truly enjoy, you need to know several things. What people who do that job actually do all day. What they like. What they don't like. How different the same job is at different companies with different cultures. How those companies hire.

These critical knowledge points and more are readily available in information interviews.

People are cooperative and like to show off what they know (I'm doing it right now!). So let them.

This isn't hard. Nearly everyone you call will be open to at least talking with you on the phone for a few minutes. You may have to schedule a time to call back or meet in person later, and that's fine.

Information Interviews for Job Hunt Satisfaction

So say there's a job you want to do, you think, and you'd like to find out more about it. The funny thing is, the same job done at different companies can be totally different experiences because of cultures. So it's best to talk to three or four people doing that job at separate firms to get perspective.

To find these people is not difficult. You can use LinkedIn. Or you can use a simple method called the Little Unsure technique, where you ask the receptionist, "Hi, I'm not sure who I should speak with...I'm looking for the person who does [whatever role it is]. But again, I'm not sure who that would be there..." and trail off.

This method is very effective.

You may get voicemail. 3/4 times the person you're calling won't be available to take your call. Don't take it personally. Leave a quick message or call back later now that you have the name.

For messages or live answers, say you are doing some research, are interested in the role they have and are wondering if it's right for you. If they could speak with you for about 15 minutes, it would be very helpful. If now's not a good time, when would work?

Have your questions ready. They may want to go ahead right now.

I have had employees get time for such interviews in person approved by their boss...again, people want to be cooperative. Once in awhile you may find someone who is "too busy". Simply move on. No big deal. That person is probably not a fit anyway.

The higher you go in larger organizations, the nicer the people you'll find. How did the leaders in most organizations get there? The Sales career path. They know all about cold calling. They appreciate it.

Nearly all of the success factors here are getting past your fears. These fears are simply not valid. They don't hold true in the real world. Nearly everyone is flattered someone would ask their opinion. Go find out whether this job is really something you want. And you'll also find out what kind of different corporate cultures exist...which will play a big part in your job selection, if you're smart.

Don't be in "I'll Take Anything" mode. Start sorting.

Have an interview plan. What is the purpose of the interview? Don't be wishy-washy. Your two questions today could have used a lot more detail.

Here's an example of several information interviews with fellow sales professionals.

Write out your questions beforehand. Of course one or two new questions will occur to you while conducting the interview; ask them, too. But have your base set up.

Think about your request from their perspective: WHY would they want to participate? Yes, people want to be cooperative and helpful. But No, they do not want to create content for you (for example, I am asked to be interviewed all the time by people who are compiling such expert interviews to then SELL them...why on earth should I give them content so they can make money with it?!).

So be clear about your purpose.

You really must be looking for expertise, not digging for a job. Fake purpose will be seen through immediately and it will hurt your reputation.

Collecting a series of these interviews online around a specific topic is a great differentiating factor for job hunting, however. This is positioning.

Information Interviews for Pain Points

Information interviews to uncover pain points are very similar. Use the Little Unsure technique to reach the decision maker. Tell them you're doing some research. Then have a straightforward conversation about your topic.

Have they considered buying or have they bought what you offer?

How did they go about that?

On what criteria did they choose their provider? Why did that matter? (Hint: Price is not the real reason...and if it is, you don't want that buyer as a customer.)

For both job hunting and finding pain points, realize you must do several of these to get correlation. One or two is not enough. However, the activity level and payoff for booking and completing say a half-dozen information interviews is very powerful. You will feel incredibly confident because you finally understand your market.

>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert who has had companies create custom roles for him on four occasions. Was this information helpful to you? Please Like or Share to let others know. And if you have a question about information interviews, Comment below! <<

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Sales Expert Interviews at SalesTactics.org

Sales Expert InterviewsSales expert interviews are rare. Nobody thinks to interview them. And the reason why? They are usually busy working, and not connected with the online marketing sphere that likes to interview experts. Most people have heard of marketing consultants; few have heard of sales trainers.

Over the past 60 days or so, I have interviewed five sales experts. I have also been interviewed several times as a sales expert. So here we now have a library of sales expert interviews at SalesTactics.org. Do not take this lightly. Where else can you find such discussions? I arrange these interviews to show you the concepts I talk about are not the unproven theories of a lone thinker, but shared by many oft-unheard fellow experts in the sales training field.

Five Key Sales Expert Interviews at SalesTactics.org

Here are the five sales expert interviews completed over the past two months:

Richard Ruff on How the Fortune 1000 Train Their Sales Teams

Monika D'Agostino on Commitment in Sales Training

Eddy Ricci, Jr., on Training Gen Y Salespeople

Claude Whitacre on Local Online Marketing

David Brock on Change in Selling Organizations

and as a bonus from earlier this year,
Dave Kurlan on Effective Phone Selling.

It's said that if you read three (just three!) books on a subject, you will know more about it than 95% of the population. Consider how much farther ahead you will be about selling if you absorb these interviews.

Sales Expert Interviews with Jason Kanigan

I have also been fortunate enough to have been interviewed several times recently. Rather than "just" cold calling or typical sales ideas, I've been able to discuss the mindset of a successful salesperson. This is one of my most valuable interviews to date.

Business Unleashed did a written Q&A with me on getting started

Inner Success Radio had me delve into the mindset of a successful salesperson

Nicholas Loise, president of Glazer Kennedy Inner Circle, interviews me on high ticket selling (episode 24).

This is a virtual library of sales training methodology you could pay a considerable amount of money for. Think about it: what do you think the billable hourly rate of each of these experts is? And totaled together? At a bare minimum we have a $1000 program on this page. And it's provided here for free.

>> Jason Kanigan is a sales force developer. If you know someone who will benefit from seeing this information, please Share it. Also, you can Like our Facebook page to be advised of new content like this. And if you have a question about any of these interviews or another topic in sales, please comment below to let us know! We want to hear from you. And if you'd like to get better customers, better projects and make more money, get The Small Business Sales Effectiveness Report available FREE at the top of this page! <<