The Curious Case of… Curiosity

It’s been a while since my last post and blah blah blah busy, but this idea has been kicking around in the old noodle for a while and it’s seems I’m frequently being reminded of different examples. So pen to paper! Or in this case, fingers to keyboard!

Like most mornings, at some point during my “getting ready for the day” routine I hear my daughter squeaking through her baby monitor and as she wakes I get the joy of seeing that smiley face as I go into her room. I pick her up, get hugs and kisses (that will NEVER get old), and take her over to her change table. Once her diaper is changed and she is back in her sleeper, I stand her up on her change table to get another big hug. Today being no different, she pulls away from the hug and looks at my dress shirt. She points at a button and says something that resembles “This?” To which I respond, “That’s a button”. Now that her question has been answered she moves her pointer finger down to the next button on my shirt and asks “This?” Once again I informed her that is also a button. This continues down my shirt until she cannot reach any longer. At that point, she looks up and sees the top button: and repeat. I’m convinced that if I didn’t put a halt to this, she would continue asking what each of my buttons were several times; because it’s new and she wants to learn.

Having a child has changed my life. I appreciate the little things that I too often glaze over. Like the light coming through a window and shining brightly on the floor, the wind blowing in my face or the feel of grass. My daughter  is constantly on the move. She wants to explore, discover and get her hands on anything that interests her. And she loves asking “This?”

And now, a topic transition.

The company I work for invested in a Sales Workshop and Manager’s Boot Camp with the great Gerry Layo. If you haven’t read his blog “Smart Selling”, it is entertaining and filled with equal parts insight and humour. Evident to his experience Gerry has expressed there are “Two Irrefutable Laws of Selling”: Law #1—NOBODY wants to BUY or OWN what you are selling! and Law #2—Customers don’t know how to BUY! Gerry has a unique style that really seemed to light a fire within our organization. We are experiencing a lot of growth and we are drastically changing how we go to market. It’s imperative that in order for us to get better, to serve our customers better we need to change; Gerry assisted greatly in identifying how we need to proceed to be successful. Our sales team took part in a one day workshop and manager’s took part of a boot camp the following day. Among many lessons and take-a-ways from my two days there were a couple of points that stood out. The first of which was how important it is clearly identify what you expect from everyone within the organization. If I do not communicate that I expect my team to spend time on prospecting or professional development, how can I expect to manage those behaviours? Secondly, (and tying it back to the theme of my post so don’t worry) is to be curious and ask good questions.

As mentioned earlier, in the week that has passed since our meetings, I have been reminded to be curious and how important it is to ask questions. Not necessarily questions for the sake of hearing your voice, but questioning for the sake of understanding another perspective: asking THE RIGHT questions. Someone once told me “You must seek to understand before being understood”. I mentioned my organization is going through some rapid change. One recent reminder was when we implemented a new protocol, and the change was met with resounding discontent. I have since had several conversations and have been able to address and ease some of the concern by answering what I thought to be essential questions. What is the purpose behind this change? How does this change affect each individual? How will this impact our customers? I find too often we forget to be curious, forget to ask the right questions, forget to seek understanding and forget to see things from another’s point of view.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been guilty in the past of meeting with a prospect and asking the wrong questions or questions that make me look misinformed. Ultimately, as a sales professional it is crucial to do research and take time planning to ensure that we are asking questions that lead down a desired path. Connecting with people is essential in sales (understate of the century) and it’s through asking questions and listening that this occurs. On of the main reasons I was drawn to the sales industry was the opportunity to meet new people and my genuine curiosity in learning about others and other organizations. But perhaps too often I forget to be curious. I get busy and my curiosity gets pushed aside for “getting shit done”. Ultimately I know I’m more successful, personally and professionally when I’m curious and seek to understand.

What happens to our curiosity?

Is it just human nature that we become accustomed to the world around us our curiosity diminishes?

Isn’t it a little curious?

Leave your thoughts/comments below.

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