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Being Interesting Or Interested?

by David Brock on April 28th, 2022

Spoiler alert, we really seek to be both interested and interesting, and we hope our prospects/customers are both interested and interesting. However, to maximize the opportunity for this to occur, there is important sequencing of this process.

As sellers, we do everything we can to be interesting. We leverage provocative insights, we develop pitches we think are interesting/even compelling. We learn all sorts of “opening” techniques to be interesting in our calls. We spend endless hours constructing subject lines and first sentences in emails, all in the hopes of being interesting. Or worse, we blindly take what marketing or someone else provides.

Yet, too often, we execute these mindlessly, going through the motions, making sure we hit our activity metrics, trying to keep our managers off our backs—and largely because we aren’t interested.

We aren’t interested in what, how, why we do what we do. We aren’t interested in improving. We aren’t interested in our customers, we don’t research them to understand what they might be interested in–so that we can be interesting.

There’s an interesting (hmmm) circularity in this process. Before we can be interesting to our prospects and customers, we have to learn what they are interested in, and what drives those interests.

It requires us to be curious, “What’s happening in their industries, markets, with their customers, with their competitors? What’s happening within their own companies? What do these things mean to our customers–as individuals, not enterprises? What does this all mean to them and their success?” We have to go beyond that, “What are we and our competitors doing to respond to these issues, what are the things that drive the greatest impact and success in engaging our customers? How do we create the most value in each interaction? How do we learn from our past successes/failures–both individually and as a group?”

Likewise, as leaders, we strive to be interesting–but it’s more important to be interested. In being interesting, we tend to focus on creating a persona or reputation within the leadership team and with our people. While it may be ego gratifying, it’s more important that we are interested–in our people and what drives performance, in our customers and how we maximize our success in engaging them, in our companies and our strategies to drive performance and growth.

Somehow, it seems the most interesting people are those who are most interested.

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