By Jeff Shore
Use Curiosity in Sales Conversations to Forge Deeper Connections
I’m frequently approached for sales advice – it’s just part of the job.
(An occupational hazard, you could say.)
You might expect me to pull out a catchy sales-guru-style slogan, like “Your attitude shapes your altitude,” at a moment’s notice. But, in reality, the one piece of advice I consistently share with salespeople worldwide finds its roots in something as fundamental as human interaction. After all, effective selling thrives on strong connection skills.
The source of this wisdom? The late Stephen Covey and his timeless work, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Covey brilliantly pointed out that, “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand – they listen with the intent to respond.”
Overcoming the Urge to Respond
Now, let’s pause for a moment and reflect: Are you guilty of this too?
Do you catch yourself waiting for the customer to finish speaking just so you can jump in? Does your attention wander away from your potential customer as you mentally rehearse your product pitch? Or do you genuinely take the time to deeply connect with the story your customer is sharing?
Unleashing the Magic of Curiosity
This idea, whether applied to sales or daily life, all comes back to a simple yet powerful skill: curiosity, the kind we see in children.
Truth be told, many salespeople miss out on the magic of curiosity when interacting with the people they meet. And you know what? I’m no exception.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own problems, goals, and dreams, sidelining our genuine interest in the person sitting across from us. And that’s the crux of the matter – everyone has a story to tell, and these stories often hold the key to sealing the deal.
The Power of the Right Question
The real challenge, however, boils down to one critical skill: the art of asking thoughtful questions.
Curiosity thrives on questions (just think of how a four-year-old constantly asks “why”!). Curious individuals aren’t overly concerned with being impressive; instead, they are genuinely intrigued.
Igniting Deeper Conversations: The “Tell Me More” Approach
So, here’s a golden phrase that can spark your curiosity:
“Could you tell me more about that?”
These unassuming words invite people to dig deeper, to share more of themselves, and to establish a stronger connection.
“Could you elaborate a bit further on that point?”
“Share with me. I’m genuinely eager to learn more.”
Your mission? Encourage the other person to open up on a deeper level.
Crafting Connections by Discovering Common Ground
Surface-level conversations won’t unveil the rich tapestry of your customer’s story. Even when you ask a direct question, you’ll often receive a shallow answer (and sometimes, an inaccurate one).
The real treasure lies in the follow-up questions – the kind that encourage them to share what truly matters.
Picture this: you could take two individuals from entirely different backgrounds, toss them into the same room, and as long as one is more focused on understanding than being understood, you’ll find common ground.
Becoming a Sales Virtuoso: Embracing Curiosity
As a sales professional, your priority is to seek understanding.
Embrace the spirit of childlike curiosity and empathy. Take a genuine interest in the lives of your prospects and customers. By doing so, you won’t just change their world – you’ll revolutionize your sales approach.
So, go ahead, ask, listen, and connect. The magic of curiosity in sales conversations awaits.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of leveraging curiosity to drive sales and nurture deeper relationships, there’s a resource you don’t want to miss. Preorder your copy of Ryan Taft’s upcoming book STORYGETTER at the Shore Store. Unveil the transformative potential of curiosity in your sales journey.