Curiosity — A Critical Trait Of Great Sales People


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A trait I don’t hear much about, but one that I think is critical for sales people is curiosity. When you are recruiting–do you look for curiosity?

Think about it. We have to be students of our customers’ businesses–their customers, their markets, their competitors. We have to understand their business strategies, dreams, and goals. We have to look at our customers’ businesses, discovering new opportunities for improvement, looking at different ways to do things.

We have to be curious about our customers as individuals–what drives them, what are they interested in, what are they trying to achieve, how do they relate to others in their organization?

We have to be curious about our own products and solutions–how they help our customers solve problems, where they best fit. Likewise about our companies–what is the company trying to achieve and how do we contribute to that attainment.

Great sales people are curious about the profession of selling. They are curious about their own performance and how to improve. They are constantly learning, adapting, changing. They never believe they have learned everything–they are interested in seeing what other successful sales people do–in their companies–in other organizations. They constantly push themselves, trying new things, experimenting, always improving.

Hiring sales people who are curious makes life much easier for managers. It’s impossible to train sales people on everything they need to know. Curious sales people will realize they have gaps in their knowledge and will figure it out. Curious sales people will constantly re-examine their strategies trying to improve them.

Curious sales people, by their nature are challengers. They will challenge their customers on why they do things a certain way and whether they’ve considered something else. They’ll challenge within their own companies–helping managers and others look at things differently, considering new methods.

Curious sales people never accept the status quo–they are always questioning and pushing.

Aren’t these the type of people you are looking for?

Do you look for curiosity when you are recruiting? It needs to be one of the top characteristics on your list.

Is your Sales Process producing results? Do you need to tune and update it? Are your people using the process as effectively as possible? Try our Sales Process Self Assessment, it’s free, email me with your full name and email address, I’ll be glad to send you a copy. Just send the request to: [email protected],

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


  1. I agree, Dave: curiosity is a major characteristic that can be used to define criteria for an above average sales performer.

    In fact, curiosity is the trait behind what drives asking questions. Asking questions uncover discontent, which in turn, create opportunities.

    I, myself even label “The Student” as the first role in the sales process.

    On the flip side, I’ve seen some managers worry that the “curious” sales student as questioning the status quo in a negative way.

    I like the way you present curiosity as a positive characteristic for recruiting sales managers to seek.

    Kevin Davis, Author
    “Slow Down, Sell Faster”

  2. Kevin, thanks for the comment. I know many managers worry about these people “challenging the status quo”—and I worry about those managers. They should constantly be challenging the status quo–seeking to improve.

    One of the great things about the curious is they help you do this.

    Thanks for the great comment–by the way, thanks for the great book–it’s awesome. Dave


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