Curiosity – a foundation to sales mastery

Let’s start with a question: What is the most important quality of highly successful salespeople? 

This question is often on the mind of anyone looking to sell well. There is much speculation about what this elusive quality actually is. The truth is that there are many traits that make for highly successful salespeople, but the number one quality that makes top sales performers outstanding is… their desire and dedication to engage in self-appraisal and continuous learning.   

We have not met a successful salesperson yet who doesn’t want to know how to be even more effective.

Second question: what underpins this desire and dedication to engage in self-appraisal and continuous learning?


If you are curious then you have a key foundation already in place to drive mastery and success.

One of the most significant defining features of successful salespeople is their curiosity. They have an ongoing, intrinsic interest in the world around them and in their own interpretation of that world as it relates to them and others. They are attracted to new people, new ideas and new experiences, and are rarely bored. Their curiosity benefits them both socially and professionally.

These salespeople are considered good listeners and conversationalists; good problem-solvers and solutions crafters. Their thinking is not constrained and their curiosity drives their interest in innovation and collaboration. People seem to like them too. These curious salespeople tend to bring interesting ideas, fun and novelty into relationships. In the business realm, you can see why being curious is also attractive to clients.

Researchers are finding that curiosity is associated with intelligence and problem-solving ability. Because of their curiosity, these people create rich environments for themselves as they seek new experiences, new ways of solving problems and exploring new ideas. Clients are never boring to them; these salespeople do not go through the motions; every interaction has endless possibilities, they want to discover what is happening in their clients’ world.

Research has found also that curiosity leads to cognitive growth. And whilst researchers have not yet identified the pathway by which this happens, the likely explanation is the rich environments curious people create for themselves. What the research is showing is that curious brains are active brains, and active brains become smart brains. This is then leading to findings that curiosity is also associated with high performance in both academic and work settings, and so it is with selling.

The desire and dedication to engage in self-appraisal and continuous learning is fundamentally driven by curiosity. In short, the more we learn, the more we want to learn, and so on.

Stellar sales performers are always on the lookout for the latest information, trends, tools and education on how to be and stay as high achievers in sales. These top performers understand that to achieve excellence in sales, their sales education needs to be continuous, ongoing, incremental and relevant – a little bit every day, every week, every month, every year to keep the momentum going and allow for an evolution in sales mastery, and achievement of sales results.

To these stellar performers every opportunity is a learning opportunity driven by curiosity. The more they learn, the more they grow; the more they grow, the better they become; the better they become, the more people want to be around them; and so on. You get the message.

So make time for curiosity in your life, it is a great antidote for pretty much anything that ails you.

Remember, everybody lives by selling something.

Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert  sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Her business Barrett P/L partners with its clients to improve their sales operations.  Visit


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