Why Emotional Intelligence is Crucial in Sales?
I learnt quite early on in my own sales career, how important it was to understand other people’s personality types and thinking styles. I never realized at the time, why I was so successful with straight shooting “A” type personalities, whilst I struggled to close deals with slow, anal-retentive decision makers, who wanted buckets of information before making any buying decision. I also found that I struggled to understand why some customers wanted to talk so much during meetings and never seemed to get to the crux of the meeting, namely me selling them something.
The different personality types, thinking and decision making styles drove me crazy, until I realized that if I wanted to improve my ability to connect with these other personality types, I had to be the Chameleon and learn to meet them where they were. It took me a number of years to gradually work out how best to deal with each different customer and the way they thought, responded and made decisions.
I wish I had realized back then that Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned. I could have saved years of trail and error, trying to figure out how best to deal with the all the different customers and how they needed to do business. The great news for sales people today is that they can circumvent all the years of trial and error, by investing time to improve their Emotional Intelligence.
Supporting leaders with training to help them to optimize their emotional intelligence has been common practice for many years now. It was however only a few years back that we realized that sales professionals would also benefit from optimizing their emotional intelligence too. Since then we have realized that as sales professionals invest the time to optimize their ability to understand their own thinking styles, personality types and decision making styles, they become far more effective at positively influencing their future customers to form long term mutually beneficial partnerships with them.
Emotional Intelligence as a powerful Sales Tool
It is not only hard selling skills, which are crucial to support your sales team to optimize their ability to build meaningful partnerships with their prospects and customers and to support them to close more sales. They also need to learn how to explore and utilise their emotional intelligence, so that they can understand their customers thinking styles, emotional responses, body language cues, learn how to show empathy, understand their customers decision making processes, delay gratification and learn how to self actualize, so that they commit to their personal and professional development.
We have found that sales professionals with a low understanding of their own Emotional Intelligence and how to synthesize their thinking styles with that of their prospects and customers, often sabotage themselves, despite having mastered all the hard sales skills necessary to arrange meetings with the right future customers.
It turns out that the so-called “SOFT SKILLS”, which have been thought of as a nice to have, until now, are in fact crucial elements in any sales process.
Investing time towards optimizing a sales professionals Emotional Inteligence, where they are more in touch with their own thinking styles and better equipped to become the chameleon, where they can communicate with customers and prospects, where they are, results in improved relationship building, solution identification and more effective communication.
Increasing the EQ of your sales team members results in an excellent financial payback too:
- More prospects are converted into customers
- Your existing customers will buy more, due to more effective communication and solution identification
- It becomes easier for your sales team to identify cross and up selling opportunities.
- Your customers have a better experience with your organization.
- Your customers grow into raving fans and refer potential future customers to your organisation
There are massive benefits that accrue to any organization, who supports their sales team to optimize their Emotional Intelligence.
Their sales teams will:
- Better understand their prospects and customers thinking styles, so that they can become more effective during sales meetings?
- Be able to interpret their customer’s body language cues, during sales meetings, so that they can better understand how to communicate effectively with their prospects and customers?
- To learn how to understand each customers unique decision-making process and how to effectively communicate with each one, where they are, so that they can more effectively connect your organizations value proposition, with each customer’s needs, expectations and values.
- Utilize their emotional intelligence to build meaningful partnerships with your customer’s, instead of ineffective vendor-ships.
- Learn how to delay their gratification, so that they can plan effectively, remain focused when prospecting and keep following through for long enough, until they close each sale.
- Learn the art of managing their emotions during sales encounters, so that they are better prepared to handle pressure during sales calls.
- Learn how to understand their customers thinking styles, so that they can work collaboratively with them, until they uncover the right solution for them?
- Have the emotional intelligence to ask for support where necessary?
- Have the emotional intelligence to contribute to the team, even though they may not personally benefit?
- Learn the art of self-actualization so that they commit to their own personal and professional development.
- Become more effective at showing real caring for their customers, so that they can optimize their ability to develop mutually beneficial relationships with all their customers and prospects?
Besides the huge benefits described above, research has conclusively shown that sales professionals with high intrapersonal and interpersonal Emotional Intelligence (EI) consistently outperform sales people, with lower EI. It has become clear that the so-called “Soft Skills”, which have been viewed as merely, warm and fuzzy, nice to haves, until now, are in fact crucial skills necessary for any sales professional to succeed.