The term social engineering is most widely used to describe unscrupulous behavior, such as misrepresenting oneself and lying to manipulate someone to provide sensitive information. However, we use it positively and ethically to gather intelligence for our Smart Calls. To us, social engineering simply means talking to people other than your prospect to gather information that will help you help your prospect. It can be done:
As a separate call before your first call to your prospect.
Every time you call your prospect.
I find this to be the most underutilized tool available to salespeople—and the one that has the greatest possible payoff. All it requires is that you take the time to do it, develop a sense of curiosity, and cultivate some conversational questioning techniques. Completing all of these steps may indeed grant you a revelation that many of us have had: People are willing to give you amazing amounts of high-quality information if you just ask them.
Kevin Mitnick was one of the most notorious computer hackers in the world, and at the time of his arrest in 1995, the most wanted computer criminal in U.S. history. After his release from prison, he wrote The Art of Deception (another book I highly recommend), in which he shares precisely how he pulled off many of his hacking jobs. Mitnick claims that he compromised computers solely by using passwords and codes that he gained by social engineering, in other words, simply ...