You’re standing at a party talking to friends. It’s one of those ‘semi-formal’ events held in a hotel. Not so formal that everyone’s in evening dress but it’s definitely been well planned and the hosts have certainly made an effort. There are caterers passing canapés around and everyone’s got a drink in their hand.
Over on the other side of the room you hear rapturous laughter and applause break out and as you look over, you see that a magician has been hired and is moving around the room delighting small groups of guests.
You’re itching to see what tricks he has in his repertoire and so you try to anticipate where he’s likely to move to next. He starts to make his way in your direction and so rather than leave it to chance and risk someone else getting there first, you head straight over and reach him in the middle of the room.
Would you be able to show me a trick?’ You ask.
‘Of course’, he replies. ‘Who else is you with?’
You motion to the others you’ve been standing with to come and join and within a moment, the group has swelled to around 10 or 12 people, all eager to see what will come next.
He tells you it’ll be a quick trick but that doesn’t curb your enthusiasm.
He offers you an elaborately shuffled deck of cards and asks you to take one, have a look, let the others see; and without showing him, place it back somewhere in the deck.
It’s the ace of spades.
The magician takes the deck and shuffles it again, your ace of spades now lost somewhere in amongst the 52 cards. Next, without breaking his rhythm, he asks you to inspect the deck for anything untoward.
He then takes the deck from you, puts the cards back into the box – then throws the entire deck of cards quickly and high into the air.
They hit the ceiling and bounce back down again and he catches them effortlessly.
At that moment he points to the ceiling and there, somehow, with its face visible to the group, is your card stuck to the ceiling. The ace of spades.
A hush falls over the group before laughter and applause break out.
In awe of what you’ve just seen you step forward and shake the magicians hand, look at him and say:
‘How did you do that?!’
In that moment, that split second, that was it.
Genuine curiosity is key. It’s one of the things which can make a real difference in your relationships with others in sales, marketing and coaching. And if you can tap into it, you can elevate yourself away from the majority.
Disinterested people don’t create great relationships. There’s nothing magical about them – they don’t spark interest and they don’t sell successfully. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you over-laid curiosity with performance, that increasing curiosity or interest in the customer would be directly proportional to increased performance.
Here are ten reasons why genuine curiosity will lead to increased sales.
1. We act on intuition
When we’re curious then we’re being powered by the desire to learn more and as such, we’re not operating with a pre-determined plan. If we want to know more, we ask. If we want to know how, we ask. If we want to understand why, we ask. But we do so because it feels right and instinctive and natural.
2. We don’t over- think
Following on from intuition, when we’re curious, we don’t over-think or over-analyse the situation. We’re not considering further options as the other person talks; we just listen, with an open mind and then respond accordingly.
3. We make it personal
When we’re curious then it matters to us. Somewhere and for whatever reason our interest has been ignited. And when we care about something we listen attentively and with a thirst to know more.
4. We don’t give advice or opinions
When we’re curious, it’s not about us. It’s not about what we know, say or do. It’s about the other person and how we can learn more about them and what they do. As such we don’t feel the need to bombard them with a ‘let me tell you what I think’ prefaced monologue.
5. We don’t judge
When we’re curious to learn we’re not forming opinions; not differentiating between true or false, or the extent to which we agree or disagree. We just want to learn, to understand and to find out more.
6. We don’t anticipate the answer
As opposed to waiting (or not) for a silence big enough for us to jump in to, we instead allow the other person the room to talk and expand upon their thoughts, at their own pace and without the pressure to finish their sentence, lest we do it for them.
7. We’re present
Rather than our mind wandering to other places we stay engaged – fully engaged – in the conversation. We put the other person first and make sure that the only goal is to understand.
8. We make the goal to understand
At this point, something important happens. We elevate ourselves from being the focus of the conversation or driving an agenda, and allow the other person the freedom to think and talk – with our only objective to find out as much as we can.
9. We encourage other people to listen too
Curiosity becomes infectious. Other people stop and listen. They want to know more and rather than it becoming a battle ground for who can win by saying the most, it becomes a place where there is interest and enthusiasm to learn.
10. We generate enthusiasm
When we’re curious we become enthusiastic and when we become enthusiastic we want to learn more. It becomes a virtuous cycle.
When we act on intuition and don’t over-think, when we make it personal and don’t give advice, when we don’t judge or anticipate the answer, when we’re present and make the goal to understand, when other people are encouraged to listen and when we generate enthusiasm then we’re far more likely to build great relationships which is at the heart of selling, marketing or coaching.
The goal of GO NAKED is to differentiate ourselves and step out from the majority – to enter the proportion of people who can create great relationships. And in order to do so then we have to demonstrate genuine curiosity with others.
You know what it feels like to be genuinely curious – it’s the sense you get when you see a magic trick; it’s that feeling you get when you really want to understand ‘how’, ‘what’ or ‘why’; and if you can genuinely tap into that and show such curiosity when you’re learning about others then you have the chance to set yourself apart from the rest.