The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    Sales Coaching 101: Be Curious

    by Anna Schott / November 2, 2015

    Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography

    I’ve come to the conclusion there are two types of people in this world: those who are curious and those who are not. For instance, 42% of the total percentage of college students will never read another book after they graduate ("Statistic Brain"). As I did more research around this topic I came to the realization that our clients have to be the curious type to work with us. EcSell's clients seem to be the most curious about these three areas:

    1. How to elevate sales and performance within their organization.
    2. How the management team can have a huge impact on how much, or how little, gets sold.
    3. How to measure coaching.

    I’m betting if they’re curious about these three items then they have probably read a few books or more after graduating too, just a guess. What I’m getting at is that people who are curious are more likely to experience discovery, success, joy and delight.

    According to the 2015 PwC survey, more than a thousand CEO’s cited that “curiosity” and “open-mindedness” are leadership traits that are becoming increasingly critical in challenging and changing times. This survey led me to believe that those who are constantly expanding their perspectives, asking questions and challenging what they know to be true are the ones that are going to be more successful.

    We at EcSell strive to work with these curious, inquisitive leaders who care more about fresh, new ideas and approaches to grow sales rather than those that think they have all the answers. To showcase the success of one of our clients take a look at this case study.

    Though the PwC survey is very current, this concept of curiosity and the notion of it being essential for businesses is not a new concept whatsoever. Look at Walt Disney for example. One of the four cornerstones for success he used was curiosity as he was constantly experimenting with cartooning and photography, which later led to the possibility of adding sound to cartoons. He was a thought leader who declared that his company had to keep being innovative because that was the only way to find and explore new paths.

    Everyone has the ability to be curious. It sounds so simple, yet for some it may mean completely shifting a leadership style. Being curious means sometimes being uncertain and having to ask questions. Some leaders think that if they show any sort of uncertainty or even ask questions then they look weak or sound dumb, but here’s the plot twist. There’s freedom in admitting uncertainty. The first time I heard one of my colleagues say, “I don’t know the answer,” I actually respected him more on a professional and personal level.

    If you think about it, we’d be light years behind if people like Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, or Steve Jobs never asked any questions. These thought leaders mastered the blend of having confidence and humility and look where it got them.

    In the end, if we’re not continuously learning, asking questions or reading a book for that matter, then we aren’t moving the needle for ourselves, our team or our organization. That all plays into why 19 months is the average tenure of a sales leader by the way. So start asking questions, be curious and for heaven’s sake, pick up a book. Maybe it’s this eBook about sales coaching or this month’s Harvard Business Review. Either way, our job and our quality of life is dependent on it.

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    Anna Schott

    Anna Schott

    Anna Schott served as Ecsell Institute's Director of Marketing.