Emotional Intelligence in Selling
Written by Harlan Goerger
Those with emotional intelligence win far more than they lose, those that do not have it, well that's a different story.
Those with it make fortunes, others not so much.Several articles and surveys recently have shown Emotional Intelligence as a top concern in many business as they work through the recovery, try to grow and build business. The question is, what comes to mind for you when Emotional Intelligence is heard?
Part 1: How well do you know yourself and the why, what and how about your own behavior? The better you know yourself and understand the reasons, beliefs and experiences that cause your behaviors the stronger your Emotional Intelligence can be.
Part 2: How well do you know or read others? The ability to understand and emphasize with others is key. Without understanding others how can you influence, persuade or lead them to a win-win outcome. Here is where many fall very short.
Part 3: What are your skill levels when interacting with others? With knowing yourself, knowing others and keen skills in listening, understanding, communicating, reading body language and voice tone, seeing beyond the obvious your Emotional Intelligence rating goes up. Many of these skills can be developed through continual training. This is a simplification, yet focus on these 3 and your Emotional Intelligence will improve! Lets see what this looks like in a sales situation:
Joan sells high end computer software to large companies. There is plenty of dollars involved and lots of detail on each project. Currently she is struggling and often times seems to loose the sale right at the end. She is competent in the tech side of the product, is very personable and communicates very well. So what is the issue here, why does she seem to blow it at the key point? If you ask Joan what her main motivators and values are, she spouts the usual about money, getting the deal and its fun. What isn't being said is so important because Joan does not know what motivates her. She has a self-image issue that shows its ugly head right at the final close. Deep down Joan question if she deserves the large commission or the success she could have. Because she does not understand this, she can not counteract it or get rid of it. A new sales manager comes on board and sees Joan struggling. With some very frank discussions about performance and why the lost sales, some of the issue begins to surface. The sales managers recommended Joan see a counselor through the Employee Assistance service the company has. The combination of a few short counseling sessions and the sales managers support, the self-image issue begins to disappear and the sales start to sky rocket. Joan has improved her Part 1: Know yourself, significantly.
Bob sells industrial equipment to large manufacturing plants in the region. He knows the applications and how to apply the technology to solve the problems. Many of his customers see his intelligence and capability. The problem is Bob is rather bullish in his approach to others. He knows he is competent and tells his clients their problems and the solutions. Often times the clients, engineers or tech people he works with prefer not to have him in their discussions. Bob is unable to see how others react to him. He becomes frustrated with the delays or push back he gets and then pushes even harder. When others that travel with him point out obvious body language reactions or voice tones he says their crazy. "I know the solution is right, its logical and they should know that." Bob is someone that we would call "feelings blind", for whatever reason he just does not see others reactions and understands only logic. With some very intensive training on questioning, listening and body language, Bob starts becoming aware of the reactions of others. He probes more and looks for emotional signals rather than depending upon logic. Last week he was asked to join a problem solving session at on of the plants. Bob is become more adept at reading and observing others and understanding their emotional states. His Emotional Intelligence is improving.
Jim is fairly new to insurance sales. He is very personable and confident he knows his product. He is aware of the emotional aspects when he sees them and knows he needs to alter his approach or actions to get the win-win sale. The problem for Jim is, he has no idea of what to do. A couple that wanted Life Insurance began to cry as they talked about her experiences of losing her mother at a young age. Jim froze not knowing what to do or how to respond to the emotional display. The same happens when he is confronted by anger or hostility, he freezes and does not know how to react or respond to the situation. In other words,Jim has no skills in working with others, he lacks the ability to apply Emotional Intelligence. A good friend of Jim's hears his story and recommends some highly effective training he just completed. Also Jim starts a reading regiment of a book a week on human behavior, handling emotions and psychology. In a few weeks Jim's sales are up and he is markedly more competent in handling emotional encounters. His Emotional Intelligence has improved.
Each of these salespeople knew their product and the solutions they could provide, but was it enough? Obviously not! Emotional Intelligence is a key component to sales and leadership success. In each case another person with a higher level of Emotional Intelligence helped them to move forward and improve their level of competency. I would suggest you view what issues seem to be in your way. Are they more about you than the customer, product or company? Most likely they are and you have just taken a first step to improving your emotional intelligence. Want more, give a call or email.
To your success! HG :)