Curiosity is incredibly powerful. It’s the force that leads you to watch three episodes in a row of an exciting show when you’d only planned on watching one, stay up the whole night finishing a good book, and find former classmates on Facebook to see what they’re like now.
Salespeople should leverage the power of curiosity to connect with and keep prospects engaged. Catching and maintaining a buyer’s attention is often one of the hardest parts of the sales process -- but a prospect who’s eager to learn more will quickly respond to emails or pick up the phone. To kindle buyers’ curiosity, reps can use these four techniques.
1) Write Compelling Subject Lines
One in three people decide whether to open an email solely based on subject line, so it’s worth taking the time to craft an interesting or intriguing one.
“Interesting” doesn’t mean “vague.” Prospects might open messages with mysterious subject lines like, “I know just the thing,” or “Where to begin?” but they often feel misled when the body of the email doesn’t logically follow the subject line. To ensure their recipients’ expectations match up with reality, salespeople should choose more specific phrases.
For example, rather than “I know just the thing,” write, “[Name], have you tried [relevant tip] at [company]?”
This question will instantly make prospects curious to learn more about the strategy and its possible benefits for their business -- and it achieves this effect without being ambiguous
2) End Emails on a Cliffhanger
If a message leaves a prospect in suspense, they’ll probably open the next email. HubSpot sales director Michael Pici recommends salespeople create this effect with the “cliffhanger” technique.
Cliffhanger emails follow the same best practices as normal sales emails: They’re personalized, helpful, and concise. However, they end by promising there’s more to come or giving a sneak preview of the next email.
For example, a rep might offer one tip, then conclude with, “In my next email, I’ll share the strategy my team used to double our bookings in six months.”
Here’s a sample cliffhanger email:
Congrats on the great review in HD Magazine. I was fortunate enough to stay at your Miami location a couple years ago, and as the author pointed out, the staff’s attention to detail was impeccable.
As a consultant, I’ve worked with many hospitality organizations of your caliber. They typically struggle to find high-quality cleaning supplies in bulk. Is that a challenge you’re currently facing? I’m attaching a list of top-tier vendors that you might find helpful. Let me know if you’d like to hear my specific recommendations.
P.S. I’m working on a list of ways Starwood Hotels can reduce their operating expenses. That’ll be coming your way soon.
3) Ask Prospects Stimulating Questions
Salespeople can get their prospects’ mental gears turning by posing thought-provoking or unexpected questions.
“Discovery questions focus on the ‘what’ and are designed to identify existing needs, problems, customer pain points, customer’s goals, etc.,” he writes.
Thought-provoking questions, on the other hand, challenge the buyer’s preconceptions and change how they think about a topic.
Here are several examples of challenging questions:
Have you thought about X?
Have you considered [strategy]?
Have you heard [piece of news]?
Did you know [relevant fact or statistic]?
Would you ever use [approach]?
Can I ask why you haven’t adopted [process]?
What was the motivation behind [decision]?
4) Teach Prospects Something About Their Business
A tried-and-true tactic for piquing someone’s curiosity? Mention that another person said something about them -- and refuse to share the comment. Like it or not, we’re all curious to know what others think of us.
Reps can take advantage of this human trait by offering unique insights into the prospect’s business.
For instance, a salesperson might say to a buyer, “I’ve done some research into your organization and identified three ways you could boost your employer brand. Would you be interested in hearing those areas of improvement?”
Not only will this instantly spark the prospect’s desire to hear more, it gives the rep the opportunity to add value.
Other ideas include:
Running an informal survey of the prospect’s customers
Creating a custom report on some aspect of their business
Asking an internal expert to provide suggestions to the prospect
How do you use curiosity in your sales process?
Originally published Oct 25, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated June 10 2021