Is anyone besides me tired of hearing the same, old sales advice. Advice such as, “You need to be curious during a sales call. Ask questions.”
Yawn. We’ve all heard this advice. Every good sales expert and sales manager touts the importance of asking questions.
What we really need to be more curious about is:
Why aren’t salespeople more curious?
There are several reasons. However, here are the top three that I’ve observed when coaching sales managers and salespeople.
#1. The Curse of Knowledge. The Heath Brothers, authors of the book, Made To Stick, aptly show how the curse of knowledge decreases our ability to be curious. The curse of knowledge is when we know something so well that we find it hard to imagine what it’s like not to know.
Our knowledge has cursed us which leads us to jumping to solutions too quickly.
How can we avoid this curse? Act as if every sales meeting is your first meeting. Act as if you’ve never heard the pain shared by your prospect.
Apply the EQ skill of self-awareness. Become AWARE of when the curse of knowledge is making an appearance. Once you become aware, ask five clarifying, curiosity questions---even when you believe you absolutely have the answer to a prospect's problem. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you don’t know or understand.
#2. Hurried sales meetings. The pandemic created non-productive selling habits, one being the scheduling of back-to-back video sales calls. This tight schedule creates another curse.
The curse of always being in a hurry. Spoiler alert:
No one is curious when they are in a hurry.
You don’t ask more question because you haven’t allowed enough time for questions!
Truly curious sales professionals schedule enough time for curious conversations.
#3. Low self-awareness and empathy. You’re meeting with a prospect that’s reluctant to acknowledge the necessary changes needed to solve his or her problem. When a prospect is reluctant to change, it’s easy to get emotionally triggered. We get annoyed or push our solutions even harder.
Neither approach or emotional response helps to close more business.
Unlock your curiosity by applying the EQ skills of self-awareness and empathy. Be aware that you are getting emotionally triggered. Change your response by asking yourself empathetic, curiosity questions:
- What’s driving this prospects fear of change?
- How would I feel if someone was proposing big changes to me?
- What’s driving my need to be right rather than get it right?
Curious sales professionals are successful sales professionals. Lose the curse of knowledge. Schedule enough time for curious conversations and apply self-awareness and empathy.
Improve your curiosity skills and sales results.