I recently wrote about why curiosity is the most important trait any salesperson can have. After writing that post, it made sense to dive into the signs that can alert you as to whether or not someone (or even yourself) is curious by nature.
These are the kind of folks you want on your team, talking to your prospects, representing your company, and building out your pipeline. They work hard, they learn, become more efficient, and ultimately solve problems -- both for themselves and for the customer.
Are you curious to discover just how curious you are? Here are 13 signs of curiosity, and why they matter in sales.
1) You love to learn.
Curious people tend to be avid learners. In the world of sales, learning from what worked and what didn’t in a variety of scenarios is important to continuously refining your process. Whether it’s the style of prospecting they’ve adopted, the subject line they use in emails, or the script they follow when going through a demonstration, curious salespeople want to experiment, learn, and optimize.
As LifeHacker points out, being curious means having an active mind. You’re not satisfied until you learn all you can about your process, and have the requisite data to start doubling down on what works and forgetting about what doesn’t.
2) You live to solve problems.
Every customer has a need. It’s important to remember that whenever someone enters a sales process, they’re doing it because they want to improve on something. If you’re curious, you love this: You want to know their goals, how they plan to get there, and how you can help.
It’s a sign you’re curious if you think about a customer’s success as if it was your own. How do you get them to where they want to be? What strategies can you develop together to bring their goals within reach?
3) Questions don’t scare you.
Curious sales reps embrace questions. When approaching someone new, curious people aren’t afraid to ask questions and solicit feedback that they think will make them better. If you can learn from it, you’ll embrace that initial awkward moment and take in the information.
The same principle applies when you’re making a sale. Some questions and follow-ups can be awkward. But curious folks don’t shy away. They welcome uncomfortable moments and embrace the idea of learning something new. After some practice, these reps become familiar with the unfamiliar. And this is a huge advantage for anyone in sales, as unfamiliar moments are the rule, not the exception.
4) You’ll talk about anything.
Studies have proven time and time again that maintaining a healthy level of curiosity about different viewpoints enables people to more easily form and maintain social relationships. According to Ben Dean, Ph.D, curious folks are often above-average listeners and conversationalists.
In sales, being a great listener and conversationalist goes a long way. Leading sales reps are no longer cold calling prospects. Instead, they’re offering assistance and building a relationship. They focus on the person they’re connecting with, and talk about what they’re interested in, struggling with, and aspiring to.
5) Virtually nothing bores you.
Curious people are always investigating something new and as a result are constantly building knowledge. No matter the situation, they can find something interesting to explore.
In sales, curious reps tend to maintain high activity levels and discover interesting facts about their prospects. While others are procrastinating or putting off talking to the “same old” buyers, these reps are reading books, and learning new methodologies.
6) You question everything.
Why should we settle? In this HBR article, Warren Berger encourages company leaders to create a culture where every practice is questioned. He emphasizes the importance of questions in order for a company to “innovate, adapt to change, and maintain an edge in fast-moving, competitive markets.”
Curious sales folks aren’t afraid to question old tactics, and this helps them continuously optimize their practices, messaging, and habits.
7) You don’t mind extra hours.
Curious people want to figure stuff out. When something piques their interest, they stick around until they discover more about the issue, or get to the bottom of the problem. And if the resolution won’t be uncovered for an hour or two after 5 p.m. rolls around, curious people settle in for the long haul -- with a smile on their face.
8) You’re self-motivated.
Being consistently interested in new things means you’re self-motivated to put in the time and effort to learn. You don’t need anyone to tell you that you have to do something; instead, you’re focused on doing it because you want to. Being curious and self-motivated also means you don’t get down when something goes wrong -- instead, you’re all the more motivated to solve the problem.
9) You keep it positive.
Believe it or not, curious people tend to be more positive than their less-curious counterparts. In sales, this attitude helps curious reps take rejection in stride.
10) You’re naturally empathetic.
As Greater Good points out, empathy and curiosity are linked. The more empathetic you are, the more curious you’re likely to be.
Empathy is important in sales for several reasons, most notably because it enables the ability to connect with a prospect or a lead. An empathetic sales rep can instantly step into anyone’s shoes and identify with their pain points.
11) You love to achieve.
While most folks are afraid of what lies ahead, Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer found that curious people anxiously await their opportunity to move forward. When others become satisfied with their position, curious people continue to boldly move forward and take the next step. It goes without saying that an achievement attitude is essential to sales, where reps are held to quotas as well as other concrete metrics.
12) You’re creative.
Creativity and curiosity have been linked in several studies. The Huffington Post noted that “Creative people are insatiably curious.” Instead of zoning out, curious people observe and look at things differently. In sales, creative reps are the ones who experiment with new techniques and think of different ways to cater to prospects, often winning more deals as a result.
13) You stay in the moment.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, curious people are present and stay in the moment. As studies have shown, thinking about several things at once can negatively affect your learning. Multitasking creates an inability to be fully present and take in everything that is happening in front of you. On the other hand, because curious people are so interested in what they’re doing, they find it easier to be present and focused.
Even though sales reps are tasked with juggling numerous deals at once, curious reps can tune all the other conversations and priorities out when they’re on the phone with a prospect. This focused attention deepens the rep-buyer bond, and ensures that the seller doesn’t miss any important information.
Being curious has tremendous benefits for sales performance. Focusing on developing and cultivating curiosity is important for success at all stages of a sales career.