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How'd you get so good at interviewing clients?

People often ask me this question.  I think what they really are asking is, "Can I learn to do this, Bill?" 

I do think that each of us have certain God-given gifts that make us better at some things than others.  So, yeah, I probably have some innate skills for this work.

The good news is that you don't have to be as good as me to become an outstanding communicator with your clients.  And more importantly, I have figured out how to teach you this process. Or I can just do it for you!


About Bill Metcalf

Helping entrepreneurs, marketers, professionals, coaches, and consultants to leverage the power of their best customers to create More and Better Clients.

For over 25 years, I have been interviewing people professionally.  During the past 7 years, I formalized this skill into a Raving Fan business. That is, I would interview customers of my clients over the phone and produce very detailed and powerful "success stories" that could be played back over the web or via CD. You can hear many examples of these interviews I have done for people on our Showcase of Testimonials page (Click Here!)

I begin teaching entrepreneurs to have what I call Customer Value Conversations two years ago, on the advice of one my mentors, Sean D'Souza.  It was a bit daunting at first. "How can I share this gift? It is intuitive. It is MINE. No one can do this like I do!" Essentially, Sean told me to "get over myself" and dig in to discover how I did my work. That began a long and often painful process to enable me to come up with the techniques and strategies that I used, somewhat unconsciously, to elicit great stories from clients. The results of that discovery is this website, which is devoted to helping you harvest the true value of your greatest resource, your customers.

During the 15 years I spent traveling the country as the Nation's TechnoMotivator™, I honed much of my interviewing skill. I offered a program called: TechnoShift: "Are you a 20th Century Thinker in a 21st Century World?" I spoke to a very wide variety of audiences, helping them understand how to harness the power of technology. I was not a techie. I served as a "translator." I would interview people from every association or company to whom I would speak. I would discover how they worked, what their pain was, and then look to see how technology might serve to alleviate that pain. I spoke to so many different kinds of groups (see TechnoShift Client List by Clicking Here!) That pretty soon I could talk intelligently to just about anyone, in any field, for at least 15 minutes -- I was very broad, but shallow! But the interviews I did to prepare for these speeches gave me a very broad perspective.

But this process of interviewing customers was really a continuation of the 10 years I spent as an professional spokesperson. I worked as a card carrying professional actora member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors.  I logged over 3,000 hours on camera in over 600 projects. Since I worked through agents, rather than vertically through a specific market, I would be a doctor one week, a farmer the next, a parent the next, and so on. In order to appear credible as a spokesman, I would interview customers and product specialists to determine the real value that the product or service provided to the customer. So I not only learned about interviewing, I also learned multimedia skills on both sides of the camera or microphone that have been very helpful in my new endeavors.

And all of this interviewing process actually started during my years as a college professor. I earned my PhD in Theatre Arts and taught acting and directing. During this ten-year period, I learned to help actors dig out the personal insights they needed to help them "discover" their characters. This is where I really learned to help people express their deepest emotions freely and without fear. That has proven to be very useful over the years. And as  an actor myself, I often had to dig deep to discover my own motivations and insights, as I did in one of my favorite roles -- Jesus, in the Smokey Mountain Passion Play!  Yup that is me with the beard and long hair back in 1978  I have to tell you that playing that role was a very humbling experience.

Actually, I think my first "interviewing" experience came at age 5! Some kids in my backyard were having a fight. I broke it up. I told them, "This is silly! YOU are saying THIS when you really mean THAT. And YOU are saying THAT when you really mean THIS! You aren't really even arguing. You are saying the same thing, but neither of you are listening!" My bewildered friends just stared at me. Finally one of them said, "What are you Metcalf? A Philosopher?" That was a real $10 word for a 5-year-old, but he really nailed me. I have always had a gift of digging out stories and sharing them so people could understand something better. Now I hope to do that for you as well.

Some Basic Background Facts:

Professional Work Experience
Consultant Raving Fans Interviews, The Testimonial Guy––8 yrs
Speaker The Nation's TechnoMotivator™ 100s of speeches––15 yrs
Spokesman Logged 3,000 hours on-camera in over 600 projects––7 yrs
Professor Univ of Minnesota & Cal State Univ, Long Beach––6 yrs
Manager Baker Rental Company – Property Management––4 yrs
1st Lieutenant US Army, Ran an Army Post Office in Vicenza, Italy –– 2 yrs
Ph. D. Theatre Arts, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
M.A. Directing, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL
B.S. Communications, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Professional Affiliations
SAG Screen Actors Guild Member — 15 yrs
AFTRA American Federation Radio & Television Artists 15 yrs
NSA National Speakers Association

Now if you are a really curious person and want to know more of the personal side of me, follow the link to find out more about Bill Metcalf — the family man, soccer coach, and Autism fund-raiser (Bill Metcalf The Rest of the Story! Click Here!)

Where to next?
Depends a bit on where you have been so far!

You never know how people are going to visit any website.  But if you have followed my lead so far, and you went through the Home Page, How We Work, Is This You?, and About Bill, then I suggest you next go to see what Services and Products (Click Here!) you can find here to help you some of which are FREE!


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