What makes us different?

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So, if we don’t skulk, lurk, and spy – how exactly can we be confident of our success at acquiring difficult-to-reach information?

The answer lies in how Bennion Group collectors work with networks of sources.

Getting Answers; Building Information Networks

While asking direct questions can be the most efficient way to gather information, a question-and-answer exchange only works well when both sides already have extensive rapport, or at least share common goals for the discussion. The very act of asking a question normally prompts the recipient to wonder why the question is being asked, and how they can answer the question in ways that will give them a conversational advantage, or make them look good to others. Cognitive psychologists indicate that in answering questions, respondents often “spin” or shade the truth.
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An ethical and often better way to gather sensitive information is to approach the subject conversationally – using statements in lieu of questions. This is called elicitation. When used correctly, elicitation is non-threatening, and steers clear of deception.

Bennion Group has taught thousands of researchers, sales people, and others to use a set of techniques that ethically gather information without asking questions. Our version of elicitation is called conversational intelligence . We invented this technique: It combines elicitation with an approach that ensures that key discussions result in win-win relationships (not win-lose). It is part of a larger Bennion Group tool kit for building human source networks, known as Intelsource
Unless this technique is used, it is too easy for customers and others to shift into a negotiating and protective mindset when questions touch upon sensitive areas (such as how much budget a project has, or to what extent the customer is already committed to a competitor’s services). The technique consists of simple, proven tools for gathering sensitive data while converting a network of casual contacts into a lasting network of information sources.

A Step-by-Step Process

Bennion Group uses conversational intelligence in concert with other, traditional research methods, including searches of secondary source information repositories such as websites, studies, specialized magazines, newspapers, balance and financial reports, publicity material, and regulating government entities.
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How Business and Competitive Intelligence (BCI) Research Projects Work

Every BCI research project is different. The table linked below gives a list of typical tasks for conducting a BCI project – but your project may not require every step, nor a long period of time. There are essentially four phases to most projects: Requirements identification, project planning, collection operations, and analysis and reporting.

Throughout intelligence collection operations, Bennion Group typically reports findings incrementally as they are obtained. Although the best information usually comes toward the end, in a multi-week project, we normally start getting useful information early in the process.

Phase four, analysis and final reporting, is the final step (below). The final report normally includes:

• A short summary of the key findings

• Answers to questions

• Implications of the findings (what the findings mean to you)

• Recommendations for action.

We also include a table of sources, but we do NOT include sufficient information to identify our sources’ by name (we almost always promise anonymity).

Staying in touch throughout the process

Throughout the work outlined above, we stay in close contact with the client project lead, who commissioned the work. You won’t be in the dark about how it is going. We know that you will always have good insights about the meaning and the value of the information that we gather.

We would be glad to share with you some (sanitized) samples of our work. Please give us a call and let’s talk about what you need to know. Let’s explore what is possible.

Contact us today to learn more about Bennion Group