Your work requires a lot of research and the careful distillation of viewpoints from interviews as well as surveys. Speaking to the right people can give the opportunity of generating terrific insight but people are human. The same expert could provide an open, fruitful and flowing conversation during one consultation and a stunted, closed off experience in another.
It is important that the interviewer masters the softer elements of expert interviews in order to maximise the quantitative insights they receive
In this set of articles, we look into the soft skills that you can use to help improve your expert interviews
First build rapport. Second ask questions
Imagine yourself in a room, sitting adjacent to a plain but functional table. The door swings open. In steps a gentleman in a suit. He quietly sits down, straightens his tie and opens his briefcase, pulling out a large ream of papers.
"Right, how much do you earn?"
How will you feel? Defensive? Suspicious? An industry expert hasn't met you and isn't always aware of what you are trying to achieve. If you jump out the gate with your lines of questioning, you can instantly put an expert into a defensive mode. They may not be aware of the significant amount of compliance control that has gone into making this call happen in the first place and could be wrongfully suspicious about your intent.
A better approach
While it is important to be conscious of time (these are paid consultations) the first 3-5 minutes should be used to build rapport with the expert. Why not find something in common? Have you visited the place where she is from? What were your favourite restaurants? How's the weather today, maybe theirs isn't much better! Did she watch the game last night?
At first glance, it may seem like these questions are simply a waste of time. While important to be on topic once the interview really begins, these questions form the basis of trust and are vital in proving that there is actually a person on the other end of the line.
Once you have completed a few minutes of casual conversation, it is important to put their mind at ease. You are not working with or on behalf of one of their competitors. Whilst we make this point clear during contract and compliance training, a quick re-confirmation of this simple fact eliminates that feeling of suspicion
We are now 5 minutes in and you have 55 minutes to have an open, friendly and honest discourse.
Work with us!
We may be a tech company but we aren't a(i)ll technology and gizmos. Our talented team of consultants will find experts bespoke to your project and provide you with all the information you need to speak to the right people. Whether you need 5 or 50 people, proSapient can help you achieve great insight via these expert calls and our extensive platform carries a huge number of features to make your life even easier (complimentary transcripts, recordings, expert messaging, surveys etc etc etc).