By Kent Mulkey
“What makes a great salesperson great?”*
Aggressive? Persistent? Convincing? Great closer? Charming? Money-driven? Know their product?
Great salespeople are naturally curious. They ask great questions, listen intently and probe patiently, building genuine trust along the way.
Einstein famously said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” I am certainly no Einstein, yet I rose to the middle in my class at a state college, graduating with a degree in PE.
But I have always been insanely curious. My mother made me read two books a month rather that watch TV. When we got bored she told us to “get outside and create a life.”
Five Signs That You Are Curious
Here are five signs that you are curious, and why they matter in sales:
You love to learn. You are not satisfied until you have exhausted all your resources to learn about a prospect, and taking away from the conversation what did and didn’t work to move them forward.
You’ll talk about anything. Years ago, I received a call from a rancher in Wyoming who was looking to move “into town.” After 45 minutes learning about life on The Range, he insisted he bring his favorite cow along. I mentioned we had a putting green for his cow to graze . . . but it was artificial turf. He moved in anyway, because I sought to understand his turf.
You question everything. Curious people question archaic practices, dull messaging and flat company performance. When your sales results are paltry, you seek to find innovative ways to be successful.
Nothing bores you. Especially people. Puzzles have a solution. There is no real solution with people – they will always be a mystery and ever-changing. You will be privileged to meet thousands of unique individuals when you serve in a sales role.
You take the extra time. Nothing in my career has come easily. I used to think I wasn’t as smart as the next guy so I put my curiosity to use by working extra hard and long. I have earned a graduate degree, logged over 10,000 hours in sales encounters and still get up at 5:30 a.m. to read and study how to do it better, pouring over 3-4 books a month.
People are worth it. What are you doing to become worth it to them?
* Question asked in the book “The Sales Acceleration Formula,” by Mark Roberge
The views expressed here are my own and those of my employer.