The two most important skills that a salesperson must master are becoming good at asking questions and becoming good at listening which are advanced selling skills.
We have identified four traits that all great relationship selling salespeople have in common. In part 1 of this blog series, we will discuss the first most critical trait, curiosity.
Great salespeople are like diamonds in your collection and similar to diamonds, they have characteristics that make them shine. We all know the four Cs of diamonds are cut, color, clarity, and carat so what are the characteristics that great salespeople possess? In my role as a sales coach, I get an up-close and personal look at some of the greatest salespeople in the world. Some are young while some are older. Some are extroverted while others are more introverted. Some are extrinsically motivated, and some are intrinsically motivated. In short, salespeople come in all shapes and sizes.
But I have been able to identify four traits that the great relationship selling salespeople have in common:
Today, I want to start with the curiosity trait. Great salespeople tend to be naturally and intellectually curious in their conversations with prospects. Now if you have read this blog before, you understand I believe the two most important skills that a salesperson must master are becoming good at asking questions and becoming good at listening and these are advanced selling skills. The problem with listening is that too many salespeople simply listen with the desire to interrupt as opposed to listening to understand.
This is where great salespeople really shine. In their pre-call plan, they create questions that are tailored for resonance, meaning the questions speak the prospect’s love language. These questions are questions that invite discussion around the things that matter most to the prospect, the essence of relationship selling. And because the salesperson is “intellectually curious”, most of those questions start with why, when, how, what or when, which we know are “journalism questions.”
And that’s not all. Salespeople who are curious also rely on industry intelligence to make sure the questions they ask are both intelligent and that those questions resonate. One resource that thousands of firms around the world rely on to help in this research area is IBISWorld which can provide salespeople with real-time industry-specific knowledge. This allows salespeople to avoid having to tell their prospects how smart they are – they simply ask questions that allow the prospect to self-discover that the salesperson is knowledgeable about the prospect’s industry. As one of my mentors taught me years ago, great salespeople ask what weak salespeople prefer to tell.
So how curious are you when you speak to your prospects? Are your questions tailored for resonance? Let us know. We are curious about your skills!