Curiosity – The Defining Trait of a Successful Salesperson

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

– e. e. cummings

Curious Parrot

Anyone in sales, whether an entrepreneur or sales manager of a global organization, knows that people buy based on emotion. Yes, they will weigh the pros and cons of your product or service, but all things being equal they will buy if they feel a connection with their salesperson. Tomes have been written on how to make that connection with a prospect. I can recall tips from various sales trainers:

  • When addressing your prospect, use his name.
  • People like to talk about themselves.
  • Mirror your client’s body language.
  • Repeat her concerns back to make sure you understand.

Being in introvert, when I started my first business more than 10 years ago, and knowing that networking would be the quickest, best way to market my services, I was terrified. As I started out to each chamber after hours or group breakfast meeting I’d calm my intense anxiety about speaking to strangers with a truth I’d read many years before: once you’ve been to any group seven times, you’re a regular.

At first I used the tips above as a rote exercise to get a conversation going. But soon a natural curiosity about my new contact would take over. I became genuinely interested in the book he was reading or her interest in hiking and subsequently, I observed animation in response to my curiosity. A connection was made.

I found over time that keeping in touch with these referral sources and potential clients in ways that showed I understood their passion led not only to referrals, but to mutual respect and often friendship. I also found a new confidence in speaking with strangers knowing that it was very likely we had something in common. I just had to find it.

The moral of the story? Genuine curiosity is one of your most powerful sales tools.