Have you met those sales professionals who know something about a variety of things, not just information related to their specific product area? Have you also noticed they tend to be well connected and enjoy terrific professional relationships? How does this happen? They are more often than not very curious. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it can be a productive part of every Sales Professional’s attitude
and day to day conversations.
Many years ago I was training a new representative. While observing one of my sales calls she noted that the conversation with the physician began with small talk about something completely unrelated to the product I was there to sell. Later on she asked me how I knew all those things. Hmm… I could not provide a specific answer. I told her it must have been information I picked up from another physician or maybe the lab techs and nurses. Whatever the case, it allowed me to initiate the discussion with a topic the physician was interested in
discussing and then bridge into the selling conversation, which made everything easy and smooth.
Over the years I have worked with sales professionals who were naturally more curious than others. It was my observation that their interest in others and what they were doing lead to quick bonds that grew into strong relationships.
Also, their interactions with their customers were more natural and productive than those who were simply there to present a product.
If you find yourself challenged in the area of curiosity there are a few ways to jump start your curiosity and enter a brave new world. You may ask your physicians, techs or nursing staffs about the “hot topics”
that are being discussed currently. What are the controversies others in their discipline are discussing? Have they been to a large meeting or conference recently? What presentations caused the biggest buzz?
One of my favorite techniques was to carry a running conversation from one physician to the next. After discussing a given topic with one physician I would go to the next and bring up the same topic. I would say “Some physicians have expressed “X” while others felt “Y.” What is your thought on the subject?”
What followed many times were conversations that were very enlightening. It was fun and physicians were very engaged.
Other sources of information can help you be well versed in areas outside of your immediate focus, too. These include industry publications and even other sales professionals.
Talk to your peers and see what you can learn from them.
You may employ questions that are entirely open ended, so the response you might get can be completely unpredictable. As I was wrapping up a call I would sometimes ask “what is going on that I should be aware of?” There were some really eye opening responses to this, including the discovery of a federal investigation into one of my physician’s practices… but that is another story!
This week, as you engage your customers be curious. Take an interest in others and be open to learning new things. You never know when you may have a chance to use what you learn along the way.d
By Kevin Onarecker
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