Lately, I’ve been thinking about what makes certain sales professionals better than others. More specifically, what gives some sales professionals that “edge”? Do elements just exist naturally within the DNA of great sales professionals that you can’t teach? There are many factors that set certain sales professionals apart from the rest, and today I’m declaring that one such essential element is a sense of “intuitive curiosity” (IC). Do you have IC? How do you know? In this month’s feature, I share the seven basic traits of IC.
Why IC Is Especially Important for Today’s Sales Professionals
Companies today are offering more solutions to become more differentiated. In other words, sales organizations must be able to do more sales discovery across product lines, as well as across their entire enterprises. Companies won’t be successful if they think that selling is a linear process or that one sales force can’t sell multiple products and services.
A hallmark of great sales professionals is that they’re confident and capable of managing multiple conversations about various product lines with multiple constituencies. Being able to do this greatly enhances your sales culture and your virtual team. And having the professional sales skill of IC is an essential part of being able to successfully sell multiple products and services to a broad spectrum of clients.
Do You Have IC?
To determine whether you possess the sales professional skill of IC, think about your relationships with prospects and clients. Do you usually have the urge or gut instinct to ask questions and seek more knowledge about their companies’ issues and problems? Are you curious about their businesses, and do you ask more questions because of that curiosity?
The following are what I consider to be the seven basic traits of sales professionals who have IC:
- You don’t start and end a sales campaign without uncovering some new area of need somewhere else in the organization.
- You ask questions that uncover needs because you are genuinely curious, not because it’s in the training manual.
- Your IC is natural and not formulaic.
- You feel something is vaguely missing when you leave your client – as if something is left unsaid or uncovered.
- You just want to know more, and you just know that there is more!
- When you have IC, you will notice a different level of respect from your clients because you’re showing an authentic level of interest – and clients like that!
- Your IC is like a tickle that never quite goes away.
I think I’ve read just about everything there is about what it takes to make great sales professionals – and I find much of it’s true. I want to add to that conversation, however, by making sure that we don’t forget about the intangibles and always personally strive to have a high degree of intuitive curiosity.
by Todd Cohen
Since 1984, Todd Cohen has coached and led sales teams to deliver more than $500 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox, Gartner Group, Pensare, Thomson-Reuters, and LexisNexis.
As the Principal of SalesLeader LLC, Todd inspires, advises, and builds high performance sales teams that produce outstanding results. He also provides strategic oversight for sales teams and serves as executive sales coach and advisor to clients
ranging from small, rapidly growing start-ups to well-established, large corporations.
Todd is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and national association meetings and hosts his own radio show “Let’s Talk Sales Culture.” Todd’s book “Everyone’s in Sales” will be out in summer 2011.
Todd is the founder of The Innovators Club, co-founder of LinkedIn Live Philly, and co-leader of Career Transitions – a non-profit group dedicated to helping professionals in transition. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, a board member of the NSA Philadelphia chapter, and serves as chair of the Sales and Marketing group of the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executives Group.
Todd has been active in the American Cancer Society as well as several other charitable organizations. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Temple University.
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