Be Curious and Listen
- by Elay Cohen
- September 7, 2014
- Sales Coaching
SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform
Curiosity is a driving force of the sales process.
When all your team members are actively cultivating their own interest in their customers—when they’re asking the right questions and taking the time to listen to an executive’s problems, understand their business, and find ways to help them—they’ll build long-lasting relationships.
Being curious about your customer’s business problems helps uncover why they are buying, resulting in better qualification and forecasting accuracy. Use discovery best practices and old-fashioned curiosity to uncover why customers need to buy and why they need to buy now.
Some salespeople are natural pros in this area, while others may struggle. For many reps, it’s tempting to focus on what the product or service has to offer to the prospect. It’s your job as sales manager to constantly remind people of the power of asking questions and staying curious, giving them a framework for continuing to discover the prospect’s priorities once the customer is in the pipeline.
I’ve witnessed many sales teams coming together right before a meeting with a very important executive, and typically they have spent a ton of time crafting messaging, building a presentation, and preparing demonstrations based on their presumed knowledge of the executive’s priorities. Preparation is a good thing, but if the rep goes into the meeting and bludgeons the executive with information, the sale is probably not going to go forward.
A good sales manager will ask, “What’s our agenda for this meeting?” When the sales team replies, “Here’s our agenda, presentation, and custom demonstration!” the manager will reply, “No! In this meeting we’re going to listen, and then listen more. And what will we do when we’re finished listening? We’ll listen more.”
That’s the power of listening and curiosity. As Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” The simplicity and magic of simply listening is a true game changer in the world of sales.
Another creator and innovator Chris Do wrote: “Stop. Collaborate. Listen. Stop talking. Ask questions & get conversation started. Listen.”
The following is a book excerpt from SalesHood. Get your copy today. Let’s elevate the sales profession together.
Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.
Based on my experience leading Sales Productivity at Salesforce, accelerating revenue from $300M to $3B, we’ve packaged our proven methodology into SalesHood, helping client after client achieve record breaking revenue growth.
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