My work with my clients is constantly connecting me to their upstream and downstream market partners both directly and indirectly. As I review and replay the conversations I have with the people I support and coach, one idea keeps popping up; the idea of curiosity. Are we all curious enough to be as effective as we can and should be in our business and sales processes?
Manufacturers and service providers are the masters of telling us about their products and deliverables. And that’s the problem. There is way too much telling, and not enough curiosity, not enough willingness to get to the why someone wants help or an opportunity to do something differently. Typical feature and benefit sales processes are good at the what, but frankly, they rarely deal with the why from the perspective of the prospect. Often the sales process most people encounter doesn’t think about the why because the belief is it will slow down all the great what that needs to be explained or demonstrated.
As a sales professional you must be willing to get to the why to create the best value for your prospect. And getting to the right why is even more important; is it the why someone needs the product at all or is it why would you buy it from me when there are other options available. If you aren’t curious enough to get past the what, you most likely have no clue about which why is driving the prospect’s decision. Too many people see products as the same, totally commoditized, making the why me that much more important. Why you prefer doing business with Joan more than Jerry is usually not because of the product either one of them delivers to you. The why is based on service, logistics, responsiveness and integrity.
Curiosity is the key to getting to the bottom of an issue, so you must train yourself to not react to a prospect’s questions, but instead be curious enough to interact and engage. The truth is rarely on the surface of a conversation, but instead can be found three or four exchanges later down the path to find out the true why.