My wife is a big fan of author Rob Bell’s perspective on wisdom, spirituality, and life, and I often overhear his podcast playing in the living room. The RobCast is loaded with perspective, and not surprisingly, it translates well to the business world. I’d like to share a few gems from this particular episode on wisdom. Asking questions and learning from others is absolutely essential in sales. Keep these philosophies in mind on your next prospecting call and during every interaction you have:
“Let the wise listen and add to their knowledge.”
A great indicator of true wisdom isn’t typically how much someone speaks or even what they say. Quietness is more often a hallmark of a wise person. Wise people are wise because they’re comfortable and open with the fact that they do not know everything. They do not assume that they always know what is right. They do not blow up or shut down when confronted with a new or difficult situation. Instead, they listen, and they ask questions of themselves and of those they seek to understand. Wisdom surrounds us. The key to gaining some of that wisdom is listen, to be curious enough to ask questions, and to be open to sharing our own wisdom with others when asked.
“Complaining is energy spent that you could have spent asking questions.”
Hardship is an opportunity to learn. The unwise get so caught up in complaining about their situation—whatever situation that may be—they fail to see the lesson in it. If you miss the lesson the first time, guess what? It’s bound to come around again. If you continue missing it, you will find yourself in the same situation over and over again, feeling more defeated each time. Everybody faces adversity. It’s inevitable in sales. The wisdom is in understanding the lessons that come along with it.
The next time you face a difficult situation, ask yourself: What lesson can I learn from this situation? What can I change in the future to prevent this? Being curious and complaining are two fundamentally different postures. Curiosity will breed much more positive change than disinterest and grumbling. Focus on what can be done about the situation rather than dwelling on the situation itself. Adjust your mental posture from one of stress to that of a student, and you’ll notice a remarkable change.
“You’re always one or two questions away from very fascinating things.”
You’ve heard this one before: if you want to be interesting, first be interested. Sticking to a pre-rehearsed playbook or routine can be limiting. You learn so much more from a prospect by deviating from your set list of questions to ask a question motivated by genuine interest. The connection that is formed is worth way more in the long run than moving a prospect from one step in the sales process to the next. Be patient. I’d rather see you make a connection at the expense of a sale, than make a sale at the expense of a connection.
“You have to challenge widely-held beliefs and assumptions.”
The real benefits of curiosity make themselves available when you remove the self-imposed limits of your own superstitions. Think about that. Why can’t you double your sales in a year? What’s getting in your way? Nine times out of ten, it’s you. Curious people are interesting because they ask questions and really listen to the answers. Real curiosity helps you develop empathy, which creates a wider worldview, and thus wisdom. Wise people make exceptional salespeople.
I’ll bet you never expected to learn so much about selling from a podcast centered on spirituality. Frankly, neither did I, and It’s a sterling example of how curiosity and mindfulness can allow you to learn something from any situation. Wisdom and experience are not things you can force, you have to let them happen. When you do, you’ll find them in surprising places.
Jeff Bajorek challenges sales professionals to rethink the way they sell and helps sales teams design and implement sales strategies that focus on common-sense fundamentals that work. He shares his sales expertise every week in his newsletter, on The Why and the Buy podcast, and on his YouTube channel. Visit Jeff’s resource library to download his latest eBooks.