Did you know that curiosity can help us overcome a fear or anxiety? That it can show us a way to navigate stressful situations?
Neither did I … until recently.
While scrolling through available audiobooks on business topics at my local library, a particular title caught my attention. With no knowledge (then) of the author or their point of view, I began to listen. What an exciting experience! In addition to acquiring new ideas and skills, the book also taught me something about how The Phone Lady was created.
How did curiosity create The Phone Lady? And how can it impact you and your business?
The book is A Curious Mind by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer (think Splash, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and many, many more). His business, Imagine Entertainment, is a partnership with Ron Howard.
I laughed continually while listening to the book and was awestruck by the simplicity of the wisdom. Our success in any endeavor is deeply connected to our curiosity.
There was one strategy that puzzled me. Grazer uses curiosity to manage fear and anxiety. Igniting curiosity leads him to new ideas and greater confidence. This notion whirled around in my mind for at least a week. Then, while in conversation with a client, I had that “lightbulb moment”, the realization that, unconsciously, curiosity built my career and gave me The Phone Lady.
In 1987, when I started my first company with a telephone and lots of postage, I was unable to sell anybody anything. I had the skills to create interesting conversations but they weren’t sales conversations.
As those early days flew by, and the bank account diminished, there was fear. I’d quit a pensioned job I enjoyed. I’d put a mortgage on my home. I was failing.
That’s when I got curious. I started recording my calls and dissecting each conversation, word by word, to understand what made a great sales call.
And when the need to make yet another call – and listen to another “no” – became an anxiety-ridden task, I got curious and began to answer the question, “Why is this so hard?”
I discovered it was hard because I was focused on myself, not on the prospect. Curiosity about what creates a great sales process allowed me to shift my view. Instead of focusing on closing a sale, my focus became and still is:
When prospects sit down to choose a provider, it is essential they have all the variables. They are cheated out of making the best possible decision for themselves if they have not, at the very least, reviewed my information.
Curiosity delivered this clarity; it changed selling from a chore to a fun activity that, most days, delighted me. While closed sales will always be a measure of success, engaging prospects and providing them with necessary information is where that success begins.
There’s so much more to say and learn about curiosity, so stay tuned and do add your thoughts below. And past ideas I’ve shared can be found here: Curiosity Did Not “Kill The Cat”! and Ignite Your Curiosity.