Intelligence Happens When Curiosity Replaces Skepticism

Skepticism is comfortable. Being skeptical of a perspective, alternative approach, or belief requires only the effort to be dismissive. Curiosity requires action and opening your mind to possibilities. Those possibilities include discovering new insight, ideas, solutions, and even concluding that you had good reason to be skeptical.

Learning about perspectives, alternatives, and ideas is the start of expanding intelligence. Just the start. Acquiring intelligence, like wisdom, requires curiosity. “I hear what you’re saying, and you’re challenging my beliefs which I am sincerely confident of being right. So, I’m curious to learn if you have something worth knowing. Let me test your idea.”

For true testing to happen, our minds have to be open to the possibility that the theory being tested could change our beliefs, the core of our practice, and the world will never be the same. Willingness is an open mind; the mind of a person of humility. Willing to be exposed to another way, a better way, a theory which is not our own is an admirable quality of intelligent people. For several years I’ve been learning with a diverse group of people who desire become more effective, smarter, independent, and valuable. I’ve noticed something. The “aha moment” happens after a person moves from skeptic to curious.

The skeptic hears some of what’s being explained and quickly begins to counter the idea, typically by applying flawed logic, and holding fast to familiar ideas. It’s when the skeptic becomes curious and looks for proof, or evidence of proof that the knowledge becomes intelligence. The curious person will apply the new concept to a real life situation and if the concept produces results (which it must because results are exactly what comes of any action) the evidence of right or wrong becomes tangible. Once we see something as a consequence of an action, that consequence is our proof.

Two people shared their aha moment with me this week. In both cases there was doubt. Being patient with the doubter is a challenge when we want results and we want them now. Patience is fast becoming the one character trait I desire most. Because my business is helping other people get what they want, and accomplishing that “getting” is harder than ever today, when I hear a person tell me “I got it! I know we broke through a barrier, and their life has changed for the better. I know the person has gained intelligence. And that’s why I am inspired to be exactly where I am today. It’s good to be skeptical. It’s powerful to be curious.

Objections are to be understood, not overcome

Sales is a cliche driven enterprise with each having the half-life of carbon 14.  (Always be closing.)  The Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine December 2018 edition has a feature article titled The Art of Overcoming Objections. Sales industries have the same human nature challenge with objections as as we all do; we resist hearing them and endeavor to overcome them until someone else listens  and delivers. 

Our industry has Zillow as a fantastic example. In 1995 Realtor.com had the opportunity to own the public real estate information market. The public wanted more information. The modern tool for delivering the information to satisfy the demand (internet)  was here, the industry attitude was still in 1983: data was not to be shared with the public. We overcame the objection to our right to proprietary information  so effectively that Zillow became the solution and leader in real estate data trust. 

I believe objections accepted and respected will take us a lot further than objections overcome.  In fact, has anyone ever overcome your objection? I doubt it. More likely we end the defense of our objection, let the conversation move on, and find common ground with the next person who gives our objection some respect. 

Sure there are some objections which are not legit, but seriously do we have to win over all objections?  Is there some value in conceding the consumer just might have a good point? Of course.   Instead of becoming the quick wit with all the answers to every idea we don’t accept, it’s much easier and reasonable to find the relevance and sincerely accept the objection as a smart solution to a concern of the customer.  

Given the opportunity to overcome an objection, stop and ask yourself, “Why can’t this objection be legitimate?” and ask the next question of the consumer, “How can we resolve your objection in our solution?”  Find a way to legitimize concerns, wishes, expectations, and move on to a cooperative relationship.

Know THE Objective. Know the Contingencies. Precision Draft the Offer.

Before we  draft offers we better know the overriding objective of the client.  (There can be more than one objective, but only one that is do or die.) If that Objective is something subjective, such as “protect me”, we could discover what “protect me” looks like to the client.  What I fear is not the same as what another person fears. I need to know what they want to be protected from and be sure the protection I am suggesting is not protecting them from fears of my own and diminishing their offer.

What could the client’s goal be?  Get my offer accepted is one goal. Is it overriding? If it is, we better know what the contingencies we suggest look like to the people  on the other side of the table.  If the objective is to protect me from whatever could go wrong, we can do that so well that the offer is unacceptable to the Seller.

There  is a balance in most cases. Once accepted the objective may change to something subjective, but inserting protection without the client having  the opportunity to decide before the Offer is submitted is a sure way to contribute to having an otherwise acceptable offer rejected.

To know a person’s overriding objective, we have to (1) Ask questions about the client’s risk tolerance. (2) Know  what the different contingencies do and don’t do. (3) Have a dialogue about choices to strengthen or weaken the chance of accomplishing the client’s objective.  Once we know what matters most to the client we can begin precision crafting of an offer with the objective in mind.

Asking Questions, or Questioning Actions? One requires genuine curiosity.

Tell me more about that.  You’ve given this a lot of thought. What other ideas did you consider? If this works, what will it mean to you?  Why is that important? You mentioned something you see as an obstacle. What happens if we don’t overcome that obstacle? Is that a big problem or an inconvenience?  What is unique about the person who will buy the most expensive, unique property, in this community? Have you ever been that person in another transaction? Have you ever bought a house? Have you ever been sold a house?  Know anyone who has?

You know the property in a way no one else does or could. Your family history is in this home. What does it mean to you to be the person who sells it? Who else is involved in the decision? You have not tried to sell before. Why now? Why is this the year to sell? What if it doesn’t sell this year? Who looks after the house when you’re out of state? What do you do when something needs to be fixed? What’s the most inconvenient problem that’s come up in the last few years? How did that impact your life? When you think about this house, what wakes you up at 3 am?

What do you know about real estate marketing that you like? What would you like to avoid? Do you have a value in mind, and how did you arrive at the price?  Will the buyer pay cash or use financing? Are there other sales to support the price?  How will that affect our process? If closing doesn’t happen this year, what’s your backup plan?

May I share my thoughts about the plan you described?

There are so many questions to ask when judgment is overcome by curiosity?