Curiosity is the Key to Cold Calling Success

Last Updated Sep 29, 2010 8:01 PM EDT


READERS: From time to time, I like to share this space with sales experts whom I believe have something really unique to say. Today, I'm posting some thoughts from sales guru Barry Rhein. Enjoy!

From Barry Rhein:

Steven Covey brilliantly said: "Seek first to understand then be understood." I love this idea! However, how do you actually do it?

One way is by asking great open questions and being genuinely interested in every answer. If this is done correctly and honestly, the customer believes the rep really cares. Because the rep really does! And once the customer believes the rep is truly interested and truly cares, the chances increase that they'll want to open up.

Some customer objections come up so frequently that it's almost as if the customers went to their own training "anti-buying" program! Unfortunately, most of the time, sales reps give customers immediate positive feedback that their objections work perfectly and go away. That's why 99.9% of all sales people give up, hang up, and move on, even though there may still be an opportunity.

Every training will tell you to ask questions. But giving a rep a question to ask after they get an objection rarely works, which is why most sales trainings fail. The reason? The rep is not engaging with curiosity. The customer senses this and knows that sales rep is only following a script.

If you're truly curious, when you're given an objection you naturally want to stay engaged to learn a bit more and find opportunities. That's because genuine curiosity has no agenda other than to understand and connect with the person with whom you're speaking.

A curious sales person asks questions in an open format and out of genuine interest. The mindset of the curious salesperson allows for them to hang in there a bit longer to give the customer a chance to open up and engage.

This not mean lying or being manipulative. We are simply staying engaged with that customer to better understand their needs, to show that we care, to show that we are interested. Once the customer opens up, we can take the conversation to the next level.

Curiosity has two components:

  1. Genuine interest, which asking from a position of really wanting to know no matter what the information.
  2. The skills to continue to keep the conversation going in an open format.
Does being curious work all the time? Of course not! But what's the worse that can happen if you change your dynamics and try something new? They might say no and hang up...which is where you were in the first place anyway.

On the other hand, if you develop your skills and confidence to stay engaged and became skilled in keeping the conversation going, you're going to find opportunities where you didn't think that they existed before.