Great sales people are defined more by the questions they ask than the information they provide. They ask questions with meaning and purpose. They explore deeply. They drill down. And they do it naturally. The desire to learn for the sake of learning gives the insatiably curious sales consultant an edge in everything he does. It’s the smoothly paved road the top performer coasts his deals down.
The 7 Advantages of Insatiable Curiosity
Curiosity is a science, not an art. And like any science it can be broken into smaller elements and studied for deeper understanding. So far I have found 7 such elements that give curious sales reps an advantage.
#1 Making the Inputs Fun
For sales people who love to learn the process of learning about a new business, a new person, a new problem to solve is just as satisfying (sometimes more satisfying) than getting a deal done. The insatiably curious sales consultant is the Dr. House of the professional world. Figuring out the puzzle of the illness and unlocking the secrets of human motivation and behavior are more fulfilling than curing the patient. With so much satisfaction in the inputs, the outputs come naturally. If you really enjoy cooking, you’re probably putting great food on the table.
#2 Maintaining Control of Conversations
Control of a conversation is held by the person asking the questions. And the insatiable curiosity of the top performer sales rep makes him great at asking questions. This is part of his natural hardware. He’s practiced at this skill and steps into the role with years of experience and honing of the craft. Because he is genuinely curious the questions flow effortlessly and are chalked full of empathy. He actually cares about understanding the situation more deeply. This allows him to maintain control of the sale, without sounding abrasive or overbearing.
#3 Uncovering True Buyer Motivation
Sales Rep Dream World: ‘’Hey, I believe I need your product because my current situation is such that if I don’t buy it right away the specific problem I have, which I’m confident it will solve, will persist. This means that not buying and getting your help now means my future reality will be horrible, so I better make some changes immediately. I know from all of the research I’ve done on the different solutions in this area that your product and your company are the best fit to help me. Also, your price, though not easy to pay, seems very fair for the value I will see long term in working with you.’’
Sales Rep Reality: ‘’What’s your price?’’
The insatiably curious sales consultant knows that information is king. He also knows it usually takes work to get it. The more you know, the better things go so he invests his time in learning. He knows that people do not buy for his reasons but their own and the real reason is never sitting right on the surface. He has to dig for it. His pick axe is his desire to learn, his shovel, the carefully placed question. And typically the first answer given is not enough. His natural curiosity prompts him to go deeper and deeper with each new detail learned. He knows the sacred 5 Whys may have started with engineers, but were truly born for the use of all diagnostic problem solvers. That only at getting to the root cause of problem can you truly align with the client’s motivation to change and agree to buy.
#4 Building Smarter Plans
The insatiably curious sales consultant follows a pretty simple formula. The more he knows, the more he will understand his prospective client’s situation and their feelings about it. The more he understands, the more he can attach true value to the core of what’s happening and do so in language they understand. The more value the client sees, the more comfortable they will be to understand and believe in my recommendation. The more understanding and believing from the client, the more sales are made. His natural curiosity creates a domino effect of positive step after positive step on sales conversations.
#5 Building Better Relationships with Clients
Because the top performer is naturally curious, he genuinely cares to know about his clients. Way before the idea of making a purchase is talked about he is investing time learning about the client. This not only displays empathy, it allows the client to open up and talk about themselves consequence free.
When humans talk about themselves Dopamine, the ‘’pleasure’’ neurotransmitter is released. Dopamine triggered by the sensation of being listened to makes people feel good. Because the insatiably curious rep does this automatically, he is typically a very likeable guy. His curiosity leads to better relationships with clients, better conversations and more deals signed.
#6 Developing Better Communication Skills
The Insatiably curious sales consultant speaks at least 4 languages. Driver, Expresser, Complier and Analyzer. These are the 4 key languages of learning driven by human Social Style tendencies. As a top rep asks a lot of questions early and often, he learns the social style of his prospective client quickly and adjust the way he communicates to the way his client learns. Better communication = higher sales numbers.
#7 Developing A Sharper Sales Process
The best of the very best in all professions are never completely satisfied with their current performance. Such is true for a top performing sale rep as well. He is not only skilled at questioning clients and digging deeper into situational analysis, he questions himself and his own processes as well. And the questioning, iterating, testing and questioning again never ends. The insatiable curiosity make him an infinite learner. He is forever asking himself what he can do better and thus is always in a state of continuous self-improvement.
Perhaps Einstein put it best. ‘’The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.’’ For the insatiably curious sales consultant this is not a mere quote from the annals of time. It’s a state of being.