Today’s post is by Chanin Ballance, founder and CEO of Veelo, a single, easy-to-use sales enablement platform that improves onboarding, enablement, and sales performance. Built on brain science principles and powered by machine learning, Veelo gets sellers the content, coaching, and productivity tools they need to win.
We’ve all encountered sales reps who fixate on features and benefits but never ask the customer any questions. They care only about what they know instead of what they can learn.
By contrast, curiosity can help salespeople open up new business, revive deals that have stalled, and pave the way to bigger deals over time.
This is why the best salespeople are naturally curious. Here are the top five reasons curiosity leads to sales success.
#1: Curiosity improves discovery calls.
High-performing reps see open-ended questions as their best friends. They’re inquisitive about root causes, and they don’t latch onto the first problem their prospect mentions. They keep track of all their questions and rank the answers by urgency. Finally, they’re always trying to identify advocates and decision makers to determine the best way to move forward.
The non-curious salesperson believes what he or she knows will solve the puzzle, but the curious rep keeps looking until the full picture is revealed. Curious reps aren’t afraid to ask questions, and they aren’t afraid to receive them in return. The more questions they ask, the more curious they become – and the more opportunities they’ll reveal.
#2: Curiosity helps you come up with better solutions for customers, quickly.
Successful reps want to understand why certain problems matter – and what steps prospects have already taken to address their challenges.
When prospects share pain points, most reps try to match those problems to features and benefits right away. But that rarely reveals the full story. Top-tier sellers are comfortable with ambiguity, and they’re committed to understanding the deeper context of their prospect’s needs.
Here’s a little secret: The most successful salespeople aren’t content with the status quo. The more they analyze their buyer’s needs, the easier it is for them to translate convoluted sales scenarios into predictable outcomes. Unlike most reps, they’re not just aiming for the win; they’re committed to their prospects’ ongoing success. And the only way to get from mundane results to exceptional ones is curiosity.
#3: Curiosity makes it easier for you to build rapport.
Any sales rep can develop curiosity for a prospect’s business needs, but there’s another skill that’s harder to teach. Some reps seem to make an instant connection as soon as they get on the phone. They’re not just curious about what prospects do; they’re genuinely curious about who they are.
This is the essence of success in sales. If you want to motivate prospects to change, then you need to understand their challenges on an emotional level. Curious sellers want to understand their prospect’s goals, fears, and desires. The best reps see their prospects as individuals, not dollar signs. They get curious about topics that might not seem to have anything to do with the sale. Yet it’s this type of curiosity that pays off in the end.
#4: Curiosity improves your memory and capacity to learn.
Successful reps aren’t just interested in their prospects. They’re curious about everything – but especially about how to sell better. They’re constantly tinkering with their pitch, their demos, and their follow-up. If there’s a sales metric out there, then curious reps are going to be the ones to optimize it.
We’re primed to learn more if we’re already interested in a topic, but there’s a twist that promises a big advantage for the curious rep. It turns out that curiosity has been shown to boost learning and memory, even when it involves unrelated information. If curious reps are interested in everything about their prospects, then they’ll wind up learning even more about their business challenges. Curiosity really is the gift that keeps on giving.
#5: Curiosity will help you achieve at a higher level.
Learning the right way to sell isn’t enough for top-tier reps. Once they learn how to do something well, they set out to do it even better.
Some reps become complacent – content to deliver merely satisfactory results. Other reps become anxious – nervous about taking too many risks. Yet the most successful reps draw on their curiosity to get better every time.
High-performing reps have an insatiable desire to learn, and they don’t let temporary setbacks distract them from their highest aspirations. Curiosity gives them the power to push through uncertainty and ask tough questions.
The most successful salespeople have boundless curiosity. They win more, and more often, because they never stop looking for ways to improve. That’s why being curious is critical to sales success.