Getting Curious About Curiosity

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.


Closing a sale is the natural outcome of inspiring great conversations and listening intently to our potential customers. This natural approach still involves a process – a plan that moves potential customers through a journey of discovery with you. So ... what's your process? And am I the right sales coach for you? Let's find out.

2 thoughts on “Getting Curious About Curiosity”

  1. We call it planting the seeds to future success. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the sale but it makes it more gratifying in the long run

    • Absolutely. Some of my most exciting sales have taken ages … and then they’ve stayed clients for over a decade. Always worth planting the seeds. Thanks Scott.


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What's The Phone Lady doing?

  • One-on-one coaching with 6 amazing entrepreneurs - info about sales coaching here
  • Creating client communication module for college students studying design
  • Remote learning experience for financial advisors
  • Remote learning experience with new business owners on creating their sales process
  • One-on-one and team coaching for a firm representing natural products for arthritis in dogs
  • Remote learning experience on both discovery and sales calls for new startups
  • Team coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • In-person team coaching with marketing company
  • Remote phone skills workshop for North American orthodontist firm
  • Working with translators to present The Phone Lady in France
  • Free sales workshop at the Halifax Central Library
  • Phone skills as a job search tool for those starting their career

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.