The Curious Case of…Curiosity – by Chris Goodrow

Like most mornings, at some point during my “getting ready for the day” routine, I hear my daughter squeaking through her baby monitor and as she wakes I get the joy of seeing that smiley face as I go into her room. I pick her up, get hugs and kisses (that will never get old), and take her over to her change table. Once her diaper is changed and she is back in her sleeper, I stand her up on her change table to get another big hug. Today being no different, she pulls away from the hug and looks at my dress shirt. She points at a button and says something that resembles “This?” To which I respond, “That’s a button.” Now that her question has been answered she moves her finger down to the next button on my shirt and asks “This?” Once again I informed her that the round plastic thing she’s pointing at is also a button. This continues down my shirt until she cannot reach any more. At that point, she looks up and sees the top button: and repeat. I’m convinced that if I didn’t put a halt to this, she would continue asking what each of my buttons were several times because it’s new to her and she wants to learn.

Having a child has changed my life. I appreciate the little things that I too often gloss over, like the light coming through a window and shining brightly on the floor, the wind blowing in my face or the feel of grass. My daughter is constantly on the move. She wants to explore, discover and get her hands on anything that interests her. And she loves asking, “This?

What does my daughter’s curiosity have to do with sales, you ask?

The company I work for recently participated in a two-day sales workshop and manager’s boot camp. We are experiencing a lot of growth and are drastically changing how we go to market. It’s imperative that in order for us to get better, to serve our customers better, we need to change; these courses assisted greatly in identifying how we need to proceed to be successful. Among many lessons and takeaways from my two days, there were a couple of points that stood out. The first was how important it is to clearly identify what you expect from everyone within the organization. If I do not communicate that I expect my team to spend time on prospecting or professional development, how can I expect to manage those behaviours? Secondly, that it is good to be curious and ask good questions, much as my daughter now is.

In the time that has passed since these meetings, I have been reminded to be curious and how important it is to ask questions; not necessarily questions for the sake of hearing your voice, but questioning for the sake of understanding another perspective. We need to be asking the right questions. Someone once told me, “You must seek to understand before being understood.” One recent reminder of the fact that my organization is undergoing rapid change was when we implemented a new protocol, and the change was met with resounding discontent. I have since had several conversations internally and have been able to address and ease some of the concern about the new protocol by answering what I thought to be essential questions. What is the purpose behind this change? How does this change affect each individual? How will this impact our customers? I find too often we forget to be curious, forget to ask the right questions, forget to seek understanding and forget to see things from another person’s point of view

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been guilty in the past of meeting with a prospect and asking the wrong questions or questions that make me look misinformed. Ultimately, as a sales professional it is crucial to do research and take time in planning beforehand to ensure that we are asking questions that lead us down a desired path. Connecting with people is essential in sales (the understatement of the century) and it’s through asking questions and listening that this occurs. On of the main reasons I was drawn to the sales industry was the opportunity to meet new people and my genuine curiosity in learning about others and other organizations. But too often I forget to be curious. I get busy and my curiosity gets pushed aside in favour of “getting shit done”. Ultimately I know I’m more successful, personally and professionally, when I’m curious and seek to understand.

What happens to our curiosity?

Is it just human nature that we become accustomed to the world around us our curiosity diminishes?

Isn’t it a little curious?

 

Chris Goodrow, author of the blog Sales, Life and Leadership, is a former math teacher turned sales professional. Chris is passionate about developing sales leaders by helping them plan and execute a strategic approach. He believes that sales, like any other skill set, can be taught if a person has the right attitude and drive to succeed. Chris currently manages an Inside Sales team in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. To read more stories with Chris’s unique perspective, you can follow his writings at chrisgoodrow.wordpress.com.

 

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