Artwork for podcast Connect & Convert: The Sales Accelerator Podcast
Curiosity: The Salesperson's Secret Weapon
Episode 299th February 2024 • Connect & Convert: The Sales Accelerator Podcast • Sales RX and Wizard of Ads Employee Optimization
00:00:00 00:18:56

Share Episode

Shownotes

Experienced sales trainers Dennis Collins and Leah Bumphrey discuss the power of curiosity in sales conversations. They explain why curiosity leads to better questions, more engagement from prospects, and ultimately more closed deals. Through an example sales dialogue, they demonstrate curiosity in action and provide real-world advice for implementing curiosity-based questioning.

Transcripts

Dennis Collins:

Welcome to another episode of Connect and Convert or

Dennis Collins:

small business owners can learn insider secrets to accelerate their sales.

Dennis Collins:

Hi, I am Dennis Collins and I'm joined by my partner today.

Dennis Collins:

Say hi.

Leah Bumphrey:

Hi.

Leah Bumphrey:

I am Leah Bumphrey.

Dennis Collins:

Hi, Leah.

Dennis Collins:

Good to have you back.

Dennis Collins:

Thank you.

Dennis Collins:

Today we're gonna talk about curiosity.

Dennis Collins:

Curiosity, the salesperson's secret to success.

Dennis Collins:

So Leah, what makes you curious?

Dennis Collins:

Are you a curious person by nature?

Leah Bumphrey:

I.

Leah Bumphrey:

I am, I am, I actually started my work career as working in

Leah Bumphrey:

the newsroom as a reporter.

Leah Bumphrey:

Whoa.

Leah Bumphrey:

And that requires a lot of curiosity.

Leah Bumphrey:

You've gotta really wanna know, you gotta be able to ask questions.

Leah Bumphrey:

And it has to be because there's, there's a, there needs to be a genuineness.

Leah Bumphrey:

There's no different than a than in sales.

Leah Bumphrey:

If you really want to know about your client's business, what

Leah Bumphrey:

makes them successful, what's going on, what's possible?

Leah Bumphrey:

Even if it has nothing to do with work, if you are just a curious

Leah Bumphrey:

person, life is just more interesting.

Dennis Collins:

Isn't it though?

Dennis Collins:

Well, I gotta tell you, uh, uh, a little insight into my upbringing,

Dennis Collins:

my family, my early family life, uh, curiosity in my family.

Dennis Collins:

Too much curiosity.

Dennis Collins:

No bueno.

Dennis Collins:

No good.

Dennis Collins:

Not allowed.

Dennis Collins:

That's not polite.

Dennis Collins:

Son.

Dennis Collins:

You don't ask those questions.

Dennis Collins:

That's none of your business son.

Dennis Collins:

Don't ask about that.

Dennis Collins:

That's private.

Dennis Collins:

That's creepy, nosy.

Dennis Collins:

And then there was always that I never understood this curiosity killed the cat.

Dennis Collins:

I don't know.

Dennis Collins:

That's, what does that mean?

Dennis Collins:

That's kind of, I have no idea.

Dennis Collins:

But anyway, you know, kid, that's

Leah Bumphrey:

kids have a natural kids, children have a natural curiosity and it's

Leah Bumphrey:

not, malicious, and it's not self-serving.

Leah Bumphrey:

They just want to know.

Leah Bumphrey:

I remember -you'll get a kick out of this- I remember sitting on my Uncle Bill's lap

Leah Bumphrey:

and I had heard that, that he was rich.

Leah Bumphrey:

I'd heard this somewhere in conversation somewhere.

Leah Bumphrey:

So I wanted to see his wallet.

Leah Bumphrey:

Uncle Bill, show me your wallet.

Leah Bumphrey:

How much money is in your wallet?

Leah Bumphrey:

Just for a kid who's four or five, what does that mean?

Leah Bumphrey:

Right?

Leah Bumphrey:

So I wanted to see what was in there while my parents almost,

Leah Bumphrey:

oh my gosh, almost died.

Leah Bumphrey:

Yes.

Leah Bumphrey:

And it was, I, I remember that as a, Oh, you're not supposed to, but why?

Leah Bumphrey:

Why is that a bad question?

Leah Bumphrey:

Why can't I ask that?

Leah Bumphrey:

I wanted to see what being rich looked like.

Dennis Collins:

I love that.

Dennis Collins:

No, money in my family was never discussed, ever, uh, ever, ever, ever.

Dennis Collins:

We never knew how much our parents earned.

Dennis Collins:

They never asked me how much I earned when I was out making a living.

Dennis Collins:

It was just not a topic, but in sales.

Dennis Collins:

What if you have an aversion, a lack of curiosity about money,

Dennis Collins:

can you succeed in sales?

Dennis Collins:

Well, today we're gonna talk about that and some other issues.

Dennis Collins:

What role does curiosity play in sales?

Dennis Collins:

Um, what can you do with curiosity in a sales conversation?

Dennis Collins:

Uh, can you be too curious?

Dennis Collins:

Is it possible to get a little creepy curious?

Dennis Collins:

So stay tuned because we will reveal today.

Dennis Collins:

What does science tell us is one of the most reliable predictors of sales success?

Dennis Collins:

We've got that for you.

Dennis Collins:

We'll also, we'll cover this and more, but first, stay tuned.

Dennis Collins:

Also, we have for the entire episode because we're gonna have our

Dennis Collins:

questions, you ask and we answer.

Dennis Collins:

We're going to have our breakthrough challenge.

Dennis Collins:

We are going to challenge you with the possibility of earning a free

Dennis Collins:

seat to a Wizard Academy future class, and we'll talk about how this stuff

Dennis Collins:

actually works in real life, real-life examples of what we talk about.

Dennis Collins:

So, but first let's talk about Wizard Academy.

Dennis Collins:

I was there not long ago.

Dennis Collins:

It just is so.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, invigorating.

Dennis Collins:

Walking the campus, everything on the campus.

Dennis Collins:

Leah is symbolic of something.

Dennis Collins:

Everything has a meaning.

Dennis Collins:

And then you go to class and your brain explodes.

Dennis Collins:

Explodes in a good way.

Dennis Collins:

I.

Dennis Collins:

I'm sure you've had that same experience.

Leah Bumphrey:

Absolutely.

Leah Bumphrey:

I don't think you can walk through the academy without being curious.

Leah Bumphrey:

What does that mean?

Leah Bumphrey:

How come, why?

Leah Bumphrey:

Yes.

Leah Bumphrey:

Roy Williams, one of his, one of the questions that he advises to

Leah Bumphrey:

ask children, we're back to kids in curiosity, is not, do you want, what?

Leah Bumphrey:

What do you wanna do when you grow up?

Leah Bumphrey:

But ask kids what they're curious about.

Leah Bumphrey:

That will give you insights into, into how you can help them.

Leah Bumphrey:

Kids business, the academy.

Leah Bumphrey:

It all comes together.

Dennis Collins:

Wizard academy.org.

Dennis Collins:

Do yourself a favor, check it out.

Dennis Collins:

Look at the list of classes for 24 24 and sign up.

Dennis Collins:

You'll be glad you did.

Dennis Collins:

Hope to see you there.

Dennis Collins:

So Leah, let me ask you, have you ever heard the expression, uh, play like

Dennis Collins:

you're the dumbest person in the room?

Dennis Collins:

Have you ever heard that?

Dennis Collins:

I have.

Dennis Collins:

I have.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, how do you feel about that?

Dennis Collins:

I.

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, you know, it goes against everything we believe.

Leah Bumphrey:

'cause I want you to think I'm pretty smart, Dennis.

Leah Bumphrey:

I don't want to sit there and have you wonder what the heck's

Leah Bumphrey:

with the gal in the corner.

Dennis Collins:

I, for one, do not like to play the dumbest person in the room.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, you know, maybe it's our per our social style types, you know?

Dennis Collins:

Mm-Hmm.

Dennis Collins:

We need to be dominant.

Dennis Collins:

We need to be in control.

Dennis Collins:

I hate it.

Dennis Collins:

But guess what?

Dennis Collins:

What if you act like you're the smartest person in the room, what happens?

Dennis Collins:

What happens?

Leah Bumphrey:

And you Well, and and that's how you alienate people.

Leah Bumphrey:

That's how you start talking down to people.

Leah Bumphrey:

That's how you start telling them.

Leah Bumphrey:

That's how you stop being curious because you already know everything.

Leah Bumphrey:

So it's all about defining terms.

Leah Bumphrey:

What does it mean to be the dumbest person in the room?

Leah Bumphrey:

What does that actually mean?

Leah Bumphrey:

Yeah, it's just means ask questions.

Dennis Collins:

But you know, the funny part is you're not

Dennis Collins:

the dumbest person in the room.

Dennis Collins:

The, the key word there is you pretend to be or play as if you

Dennis Collins:

are the dumbest person in the room.

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

Have you, you've heard this before, learner's mindset.

Dennis Collins:

What, what does that mean to you, Leah learner's mindset?

Leah Bumphrey:

Uh, well, I mean that, I've also heard it expressed

Leah Bumphrey:

as being in humble student mode.

Leah Bumphrey:

Yes.

Leah Bumphrey:

That's another good one.

Leah Bumphrey:

What can you, what, what can you learn?

Leah Bumphrey:

You're not, you're not poking somebody to show them how stupid they are.

Leah Bumphrey:

You're actually tapping into them to find out what, how can you make me better?

Leah Bumphrey:

What should I know about this situation?

Dennis Collins:

That's a great way of saying it.

Dennis Collins:

Yeah.

Dennis Collins:

I've always heard it as learners mindset.

Dennis Collins:

What is learner learners mindset is I, I don't know, you know, things that I

Dennis Collins:

don't know, and I'm, I'm going to ask you the right questions to unlock that.

Dennis Collins:

I'm going to unlock your knowledge, what, you know, how does that help in sales?

Leah Bumphrey:

The more you know, that's the more you know how to help, right?

Dennis Collins:

Yeah.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, if you assume, if you go into a sales conversation and assume that you

Dennis Collins:

know everything, the client's gonna say, well, I know what you're gonna say.

Dennis Collins:

I've been through this a hundred times.

Dennis Collins:

And you don't ask the right questions.

Dennis Collins:

You don't listen.

Dennis Collins:

You have, I'm the smartest guy in the room mindset.

Dennis Collins:

Which you probably are smarter than them in your chosen field.

Dennis Collins:

What does that get you?

Dennis Collins:

That gets you a no sale, no sale.

Dennis Collins:

Curiosity, on the other hand, proper curiosity, proper amounts

Dennis Collins:

of curiosity gets you a sale.

Dennis Collins:

Okay, so let's talk about.

Dennis Collins:

What does this look like in real life?

Dennis Collins:

Okay, Leah.

Dennis Collins:

So why don't you think of a brush-off or a stall or objection.

Dennis Collins:

Just throw one out to me.

Dennis Collins:

Something that a salesperson might hear today when they're out there.

Dennis Collins:

Doing sales.

Leah Bumphrey:

You know what?

Leah Bumphrey:

Our budget is just tapped out in that area.

Leah Bumphrey:

Yeah, we're gonna be sitting down, we're gonna be talking about it, but

Leah Bumphrey:

maybe, maybe next fiscal we'll be able to sit down and talk about things.

Dennis Collins:

You know, I got that Leah.

Dennis Collins:

I totally understand.

Dennis Collins:

This is a tough time of the year.

Dennis Collins:

It's tough to understand how business is gonna go.

Dennis Collins:

Most of my clients feel the same way, but, could I, could I ask, uh,

Dennis Collins:

can you tell me a little bit more?

Dennis Collins:

I, I wanna learn a little bit more about what you just said.

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, we have a process that we have to follow, you know, and,

Leah Bumphrey:

and, you know, we don't wanna have, uh, just, you know, making decisions

Leah Bumphrey:

here, here, and here and here, but we sit down, we talk with all the decision

Leah Bumphrey:

makers at once, see the, see what the priorities are, and then we decide from

Leah Bumphrey:

there where we're gonna put our money.

Dennis Collins:

Got it.

Dennis Collins:

That's a smart process, uh, most of my successful clients do the same thing.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, I'm curious though, what options do we have with that in mind,

Dennis Collins:

knowing your process, uh, what would be the best way to work with you?

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, uh, you know, I'll give you a shout when,

Leah Bumphrey:

when we're, when we're ready.

Leah Bumphrey:

I will give you a call and, uh, when we're ready, you know, we'll set up some time.

Dennis Collins:

That's great.

Dennis Collins:

I I really appreciate that.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, can you give me an idea of timeframe?

Dennis Collins:

What is your level of urgency?

Dennis Collins:

Uh, how quickly do you wanna move?

Dennis Collins:

Uh, I'd like to understand your urgency.

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, really not feeling urgent at all.

Leah Bumphrey:

We're pretty happy with the solutions we have in place right now, Dennis,.

Leah Bumphrey:

Uh, yeah, once we have, you know, if we, if, if there's a bit of a splash fund, if

Leah Bumphrey:

we have some other opportunities there.

Leah Bumphrey:

Then we'll, we'll look at expanding what we're doing.

Leah Bumphrey:

So maybe, you know, next quarter give me, you know, give me till then to give

Leah Bumphrey:

you a holiday and we'll go from there.

Dennis Collins:

I'll be happy to call you next quarter.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, just one quick follow up question.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, you mentioned you were pretty happy with the solutions that you already have.

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

Help me understand, can I get some more insight on that?

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, I mean, I have, you know, my, my team of people and

Leah Bumphrey:

I haven't had any complaints, Dennis.

Leah Bumphrey:

So as long as I'm not having complaints, I'm happy.

Leah Bumphrey:

That's gotta mean they're happy, right?

Leah Bumphrey:

Yeah.

Dennis Collins:

Yep.

Dennis Collins:

I understand.

Dennis Collins:

We don't like complaints and happy is good.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, let me ask you this, let me follow up with this.

Dennis Collins:

How.

Dennis Collins:

Could it possibly be better?

Dennis Collins:

What could be better?

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, it can always be better Dennis.

Leah Bumphrey:

You know what it's like these days?

Leah Bumphrey:

Yeah.

Leah Bumphrey:

I'm sure you we're not the first people.

Leah Bumphrey:

I'm not the first one to tell you that we're, you know, it's a

Leah Bumphrey:

struggle to find the right people.

Leah Bumphrey:

To keep the right people.

Leah Bumphrey:

We wanna make sure, I mean, that's all, it's all, we're a, we're

Leah Bumphrey:

a customer-driven organization.

Leah Bumphrey:

If we do not have people contacting us, then it doesn't matter

Leah Bumphrey:

who I have, I can't help them.

Leah Bumphrey:

But if they contact us and I don't have somebody, what am I gonna do?

Dennis Collins:

Yep.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, big, big issue.

Dennis Collins:

I hear it all the time, uh, that's one of the reasons we're talking.

Dennis Collins:

I believe I can help.

Dennis Collins:

Um, how can we help you unravel this puzzling situation?

Dennis Collins:

How can we help?

Dennis Collins:

I.

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, when we get our information, as I

Leah Bumphrey:

say, then we'll sit down.

Leah Bumphrey:

I mean, I, I honestly Dennis, I don't have a good feel for what

Leah Bumphrey:

it is that you are even offering.

Leah Bumphrey:

I mean, this, you and I are just talking right now.

Leah Bumphrey:

Preliminary.

Leah Bumphrey:

There might be an opportunity, but, uh, you know, you were recommended

Leah Bumphrey:

to me, but I don't know how it would fit into what we're doing.

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

Could I make a suggestion?

Dennis Collins:

Uh, why don't we set aside, uh, a few minutes.

Dennis Collins:

Maybe 10 to 15 minutes in the near future, and I will be happy to walk you through

Dennis Collins:

what it is we do because we have helped thousands of businesses just like you and

Dennis Collins:

just like yours to solve this problem.

Dennis Collins:

Would next Tuesday at say four o'clock be okay?

Leah Bumphrey:

You know, you gotta be curious.

Leah Bumphrey:

Dennis, let's, uh, why don't you call me Tuesday morning and we'll see

Leah Bumphrey:

how the day is, is, filtering out.

Leah Bumphrey:

But yeah, that, that sounds like it just might work.

Dennis Collins:

I'll be happy to call you Tuesday morning.

Dennis Collins:

Look forward to it.

Dennis Collins:

And thanks for your time, Leah.

Leah Bumphrey:

Thanks.

Leah Bumphrey:

Dennis.

Leah Bumphrey:

I don't know what I just bought from you, Dennis, but I'm curious.

Dennis Collins:

I'll let you know.

Dennis Collins:

Uh, what do you think of that?

Dennis Collins:

How did it feel from the customer side?

Leah Bumphrey:

Well, it felt like a conversation.

Leah Bumphrey:

It felt responsive.

Leah Bumphrey:

I never once felt that you were pushing me or that you were, you know, that you

Leah Bumphrey:

were discounting my, my lived experience.

Leah Bumphrey:

And that's huge.

Leah Bumphrey:

'cause as soon as you do that, you're outta the woods.

Leah Bumphrey:

Or in the woods.

Dennis Collins:

Did you, did I feel, did it feel argumentative or

Dennis Collins:

confrontational or, uh, salesy or pushy?

Leah Bumphrey:

You know, what you were wondering And again,

Leah Bumphrey:

what are we talking about?

Leah Bumphrey:

Ah, curiosity.

Leah Bumphrey:

We were wondering, you were wonder, you felt wondering.

Leah Bumphrey:

Yeah.

Leah Bumphrey:

You were wondering, I was wondering too.

Dennis Collins:

You were curious too.

Dennis Collins:

Well, what we just demonstrated was curiosity in a sales conversation.

Dennis Collins:

Okay, so here's, here's the problem.

Dennis Collins:

You know, I listened to hundreds of hours of recorded sales calls, so I've

Dennis Collins:

got a lot of a big database on this.

Dennis Collins:

Here's what happens, a question is asked, okay?

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

An answer is given.

Dennis Collins:

And there's no responsiveness to that answer.

Dennis Collins:

They go on to a whole nother set of questions like it's some kind

Dennis Collins:

of a template they're following.

Dennis Collins:

What did I do with you?

Dennis Collins:

I listened to your answer, and I crafted my next question

Dennis Collins:

off of your answer, did I not?

Leah Bumphrey:

That's right.

Leah Bumphrey:

That's right.

Leah Bumphrey:

You didn't know necessarily where you were going.

Leah Bumphrey:

Had no idea where I was going.

Leah Bumphrey:

Knew where you wanted to get there, but not the, how you hadn't mapped out.

Leah Bumphrey:

I, I felt like everything you said was in response to what I had said.

Leah Bumphrey:

Your curiosity.

Leah Bumphrey:

Yeah.

Leah Bumphrey:

Sparked my curiosity.

Dennis Collins:

Right.

Dennis Collins:

And that's, boy, that, that's beautifully said.

Dennis Collins:

That's a perfect sales conversation.

Dennis Collins:

My curiosity as the salesperson sparks yours enough that we set an appointment.

Dennis Collins:

Yay.

Dennis Collins:

Perfect.

Dennis Collins:

So I'll, I'll call you next Tuesday and let you know what you bought.

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

Excellent, excellent.

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

And now as promised, what does science tell us about?

Dennis Collins:

Sales success, a lot of stuff but regards curiosity.

Dennis Collins:

A recent HBR Harvard Business Review study found curiosity was the most

Dennis Collins:

significant predictor of sales success out of 90 other attributes.

Dennis Collins:

Curiosity was linked to asking more questions, and here's.

Dennis Collins:

The big deal follow up questions.

Dennis Collins:

Don't stop with one question, and the follow up question has to be responsive

Dennis Collins:

to the answer the customer gave.

Dennis Collins:

One more.

Dennis Collins:

A LinkedIn study.

Dennis Collins:

Seventy-four percent of buyers chose to work with salespeople

Dennis Collins:

who demonstrate curiosity.

Dennis Collins:

They take curiosity as a signal that this salesperson is engaged, they're

Dennis Collins:

listening, and they will meet their needs.

Dennis Collins:

I always like to give you the science behind it.

Dennis Collins:

Okay, so this week's challenge.

Dennis Collins:

This week's challenge.

Dennis Collins:

Improve the quality of your questions, improve your active listening

Dennis Collins:

skills, improve your follow-up questions, make curiosity work

Dennis Collins:

for you in a sales conversation.

Dennis Collins:

Remember the format, ask a question.

Dennis Collins:

Actively listen.

Dennis Collins:

Ask a follow up.

Dennis Collins:

Okay?

Dennis Collins:

Let us know.

Dennis Collins:

How did it go for you?

Dennis Collins:

Dennis Collins at WizardOfAds.com and your email.

Dennis Collins:

Leah, tell us your email.

Leah Bumphrey:

Leah Bumphrey at WizardOfAds.com.

Leah Bumphrey:

Give us a shout.

Leah Bumphrey:

Let us know.

Leah Bumphrey:

Because honestly, we are curious.

Leah Bumphrey:

We are very curious.

Dennis Collins:

We are curious.

Dennis Collins:

One last thing.

Dennis Collins:

We always promise to answer a question you ask.

Dennis Collins:

We listen.

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

We respond.

Dennis Collins:

Leah, what's our question for today?

Leah Bumphrey:

You know, we had one question from last week, and Dennis,

Leah Bumphrey:

it's from a new, someone new in uh, or just starting out a sales career,

Leah Bumphrey:

and they wanna know what is the one thing they can do to make a difference

Leah Bumphrey:

and impress their sales manager.

Leah Bumphrey:

They've never been in sales before.

Leah Bumphrey:

They are all over the internet looking at all kinds of videos, including ours.

Leah Bumphrey:

What would you suggest is the one thing that they, they do

Leah Bumphrey:

to impress their sales manager?

Dennis Collins:

Hmm?

Dennis Collins:

To impress a sales manager?

Dennis Collins:

Well, having been a sales manager for a portion of my life, what impressed me

Dennis Collins:

most is, is someone who delivers, who takes responsibility, who doesn't make a

Dennis Collins:

bunch of excuses, who takes and accepts responsibility for their own performance.

Dennis Collins:

And of course.

Dennis Collins:

Sales management is performance-based.

Dennis Collins:

Okay.

Dennis Collins:

And also what would impress me is if they asked for active coaching, Hey

Dennis Collins:

boss, I need coaching in a certain area.

Dennis Collins:

I know that I have a weakness over here.

Dennis Collins:

I know I have a weakness over there.

Dennis Collins:

Coach me or, uh uh, get me coached up.

Dennis Collins:

On the stuff that I don't do well, that would impress me understanding

Dennis Collins:

their strengths and weaknesses and coming and asking for help.

Dennis Collins:

It's okay to ask for help.

Dennis Collins:

Does that make sense?

Leah Bumphrey:

That is real-life advice.

Leah Bumphrey:

That is fantastic.

Dennis Collins:

For sure.

Dennis Collins:

Well, that concludes this edition of Connect and Convert.

Dennis Collins:

We come every week with a new episode.

Dennis Collins:

Be sure to listen.

Links