While curiosity may have killed the cat, a lack of curiosity will kill sales, every time. Yet with all the expectations placed on sellers these days, most don’t feel they have the luxury to be curios, or worse, the don’t have the need to be curious, they have their talk track, and they feel they have all they need to know.
Looking at the latter first, unfortunately it is still very common to see sales people pitch and preach, spray and pray, or various 2.0 or social versions of these unsocial sales approaches. Rather engage in a dialogue, they deliver a monologue with a few preplanned spots for buyer input. This unilateral – know-it all method is not only ineffective, but excludes the buyer in the worst way, and they limit your ability in a number of ways. Being curious, starting with a blank canvas every time, gives you a number of advantages, in winning and growing clients. Let’s look at three:
- Validate you as an expert and conduit to best practices
- Brings out more information than know-it approach
- Helps you close bigger and more
Let’s be clear, starting with a blank canvas, does not mean starting with nothing or lacking direction, far from it; think of an artist, when they stand in front of a blank canvas, it does not mean they lack ideas or vision, it just has been committed to paint yet. Same for a seller, by looking at each sale as a new opportunity to win and grow, requires that you have an idea of where the sale will go, how it may get there and why. But as an artist, the result is shaped by the subject, different model, different inspiration, different outcome. Think of each buyer as a new subject with their own attributes, that result in a unique outcome, you still manage the sale, but rather than throwing paint on the canvas, you work to create a unique outcome using you skills and abilities.
Validate you as an expert and conduit to best practices – It is not news that you can better demonstrate your expertise by leading a discussion though questions, much more effectively that by preaching. Using all the knowledge and experience you have, you can formulate questions that get the buyer to share their views, their needs, and what they may be willing to enter into. Use your expertise to formulate these questions, the quality and nature of the questions will help you not only be the “expert”, but as someone who understands the challenges of the buyer. If they see they are dealing with a conduit to best practices, they will share a lot more with you than they would with a walking talking box.
Brings out more information than “know-it-all” approach – If you “know-it-all”, then what’s left to say? That is the thought process of the buyer, there is no point in them sharing information with you when you know it already. On the other hand, being curious, comfortable in your ability to stay in the conversation regardless of how and where the customer decides to take your questions. You gain the ability to explore aspects of their business and the sale that are lost on and to the “know-it-all”; they will remain on the straight and narrow, while you can explore side streets and allies paved with opportunity.
The process is straight forward, you take your knowledge and experience, and much like a game of Jeopardy, then formulate the questions that will lead the conversation to the answers you were looking to discuss.
Helps you close bigger and more – Using the above, you can get much better engagement, which creates velocity, allowing you to close more deals. At the same time, because you are getting to the root cause for the needs that are driving the buyer, leading to a much bigger, deeper, and better picture of how you can help the buyer, now and moving forward, it will allow you to close bigger, improve penetration and retention.
Curiosity will make you look and sound interested in the buyer and their business; something they don’t often see or feel in their conventional buying experience.
- Embrace your role as a subject matter expert who sells
- Start turning your knowledge to questions that put the right issues on the table
- Make sure you include some “Land Mine Questions“
What’s in Your Pipeline?