The GOOD Question Killer
Written by Jeff Bittner
Have you ever found yourself in a moment where you incorrectly judged a situation because you chose not to be curious? Yep, me too. I have also learned that prejudgment can come at a cost.
I remember a few years back I had a young woman interviewing for a telemarketing position at my old firm. She was the 8th interview I had that morning and I remember she walked into my office wearing pajama pants…. PAJAMA PANTS! And they had cows on them! And the cows were saying “MOOOVE OUT THE WAY.
Anyway, I had made up my mind before “hello” was even out of her mouth. I all but ignored her resume and politely asked a few useless questions and wrapped with the standard “We’ll be in touch.” Typically, I would have gone through a full mock sales presentation, asking questions as I went along, but in her case and the 2 people after her, I rushed through because I prejudged based on their appearances. Come to find out she went to work for a competitor of ours and quickly became their number 1 selling employee, breaking every record they had.
So, have you ever prejudged someone, and it cost you?
In our last blog, Dr. Dan Docherty wrote about the Curiosity component of the famous line from Walt Whitman, “Be Curious, Not Judgmental”. Now we wanted to address the “Judgmental” piece of that statement, and how it can ruin opportunities to expand and learn as a sales professional.
It’s amazing how those 4 simple words force you to consider so much. When I read that phrase, “Be Curious, Not Judgmental”, I believe he is referring to the power of questioning and how if you have the desire to be curious about someone, you can position yourself to better understand their “Why, What, and How”. When you have no desire to understand someone, you automatically prejudge them based solely on your own previous experiences. It comes down to this…
Curious: A strong desire to Understand
Judgmental: Lacking in a desire to Understand (prejudge)
Think about it… how many times (an hour, a day, a week…) do we make judgments on or about individuals without actually understanding the circumstances behind them and their situation? It’s so easy to assume we understand them when in most instances we have no clue until we decide to become curious. When someone in sales stops having a desire to understand the customer and their situations, they need to move on to a different role.
The best way to show curiosity is to ask GOOD questions. Good questions are those that are focused on the client and their problems and not on your product or your agenda. It’s very easy to fall into the BAD questions trap, especially the longer you are in the role. When you believe you don’t have to ask GOOD questions anymore because you “have seen it all”, you need to reassess yourself. If you have no desire to be curious, judgment will automatically drop in and your assumptions could be completely wrong. So why do we prejudge instead of choosing to be curious? That’s easy…
- Prejudgement is easy, curiosity is hard
- Prejudgement is lazy, curiosity takes work
- Prejudgement feeds your ego and self, curiosity feeds your understanding
- Prejudgement puts you first, curiosity puts them first
That last one…” Prejudgement puts you first, curiously puts them first” is vital to any salesperson’s success. The types of questions you ask show where your focus is, meaning is it on you or on them? So, what it ultimately comes down to is this… Are the questions you are asking focused on their problems so you are Serving by Solving (understanding) or are your questions focused on you and your product so you are Self Centered for Selling (self)?
In our next blog, we will address a formula to help you focus on Serving by Solving so that the Self-Centered questions can begin to be less dominant in your Customer Conversations.