Curiosity is an important skill for all of us, but not so much in our sales conversations.
Great selling is based a lot more on consistency than it is on curiosity or creativity.
I am thinking about this because a CRO recently shared his view that improving curiosity would be key to his 2023 revenue achievement — “my sales team is mediocre in its curiosity, they need to be great.”
As I heard him say this, I thought to myself as an ex-academic, I am all for curiosity. But curiosity does not lead to strong sales conversations.
Curiosity leads to open-ended and creative conversations. Each conversation is bespoke with a unique set of questions specific to the situation.
Curiosity is an important skill to cultivate for our overall personal and career growth, but not the right team skill to build for hitting quota.
Great selling is based on consistency — consistent discovery, consistent problem finding, and consistent prioritization.
Using a consistent set of discovery questions makes it possible to more quickly find, prioritize, and create urgency around recognized buyer problems.
I did not say all this to the CRO. Instead, I said simply: “It sounds like your team needs stronger discovery skills to consistently find problems that will motivate your buyers.”
And, then I continued to outline four things he could do to help his team:
➡ — All great selling starts with a menu of problems your company can solve to provide value to buyers and customers. That menu of problems only needs to have three to five items to be really impactful.
➡ — Good discovery is not open-ended, it is guided. It uses a consistent set of discovery questions to guide buyers with confidence to that menu of problems your company can solve.
➡ — Top sellers do discovery around a value menu and then ask buyers to prioritize. They want to know the first priority to solve, the second priority, and so on. Prioritizing brings focus to a sales conversation.
➡ — Having identified the most pressing problems to solve, top sellers then get a buyer to define success: “what does good look like?” or “what level of improvement could motivate a purchase?”
Curiosity is an important human and career skill. It should be encouraged and cultivated as part of an overall portfolio of skills.
However, consistent discovery and consistent problem finding are the skills you want to focus on to achieve and over achieve your sales goals.