Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success
eBook - ePub

Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success

Colleen Stanley

  1. 224 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success

Colleen Stanley

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Table of contents

About This Book

Even skilled salespeople buckle in tough selling situations—getting defensive with prospects who challenge them on price or too quickly caving to discount pressure. These fight-or-flight responses are something salespeople learn to avoid when building their emotional intelligence.

Sales trainer and expert Colleen Stanley cites studies that show how emotional intelligence (EI) is a strong indicator of sales success--and offers tips on how you can sharpen your skills and expand your emotional toolkit. Increasing your emotional intelligence is a sure way to overcome tough selling encounters.

In Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success, you'll learn:

  • how to increase impulse control for better questioning and listening,
  • which EI skills are related to likability and trust,
  • how empathy leads to bigger sales conversations and more effective solutions,
  • how emotional intelligence can improve prospecting efforts
  • which EI skills are most common among top sales producers, and much more.

Customers can get product information and price comparisons online. The true differentiator between you and a bot is your ability to deftly solve problems and build relationships.

Emotional intelligence plays a vital role at every stage of the sales process. From business development to closing the deal, emotional intelligence will drive your performance--and your success.

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The What, Why, and How of Emotional Intelligence and Sales Results

Closing the Knowing-and-Doing Gap

When You Know Better, You Do Better

THE PROFESSION OF SALES has changed dramatically in the last few years. The Internet has made product knowledge a commodity, and the old sales approach of feature-advantage-benefit selling doesn’t work with today’s savvy, well-educated prospects.
Today’s prospects research their potential purchase or vendor, gather the information they need, and start self-diagnosing problems before showing up to a sales meeting with you. Today’s prospects don’t need more details on features and functions because that information is available on the Internet. They ask salespeople more questions, better questions, and harder questions.
In some cases, the selling opportunity turns into a product knowledge contest between the prospect and the salesperson, with each person focused on showing the other person how smart he is, rather than working collaboratively toward a solution. If you show up armed with only pretty brochures, a list of open-ended questions, and a canned PowerPoint, it will become a quick race to selling on price rather than selling value, or it is the start of free consulting.
Innovation used to be a key competitive edge. But that advantage is shrinking as technology allows competitors to quickly uncover best practices and incorporate them into their businesses. Differentiators disappear and many salespeople look and sound alike. In order to win business, they resort to discounting, which is a quick race to zero and establishes a vendor relationship, not a partner relationship.
So what’s a salesperson to do? How do you win business in this new buying environment?

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Top sales professionals recognize today’s changing business environment and are equipping themselves with emotional intelligence skills. The use of emotional intelligence is relatively new in the sales training world, so when salespeople hear the term, they often ask:
What is emotional intelligence? (Should I know or care?)
How does emotional intelligence affect sales results? (Remember, I’m paid for performance.)

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

In simple terms, emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize your emotions, and to correctly identify the emotion you’re feeling and know why you’re feeling it. It’s the skill of understanding what trigger or event is causing the emotion and the impact of that emotion on yourself and others; and then adjusting your emotional response to the trigger or event in order to achieve the best outcomes.
Emotionally intelligent salespeople are strong in both self-management and people management. When a well-informed buyer starts showing off his know-how by firing questions and product knowledge, the emotionally intelligent salesperson doesn’t react to the interrogation and turn into a high-paid answering machine. Instead, she’s able to manage her emotions and apply interpersonal and critical thinking skills that move the sales interrogation to a sales dialogue rather than a monologue.
EI has been incorporated into leadership and executive training for over a decade. The Center for Creative Leadership, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, has a long history of researching great leaders. When they conducted a study of 302 leaders and senior managers using the Reuven Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), an instrument developed to assess emotional intelligence, their research showed that the most successful leaders score high in self-control, remain grounded when things get tough, and have the ability to take action and be decisive. They are also great communicators. Successful leaders are empathic and listen carefully to understand what a person is saying and feeling.
Top sales professionals know these same qualities that The Center for Creative Leadership found in successful leaders are also important for success in sales. Global Private Banking and Trust salespeople handle the accounts of wealthy clients whose investments go beyond national boundaries.
Their sales team must effectively execute selling skills and also be able to handle the complexities of Canadian and international tax law. This team completed the EQ-i assessment and the results showed that top sales performers scored high in empathy, stress tolerance, and flexibility, similar to top leaders. Leaders buy from leaders, so it makes sense that top performers integrate emotional intelligence skills into their sales process.
In order to understand the power of emotional intelligence, there are two areas to learn about that are rarely covered in sales training programs: the neuroscience of the brain (which we’ll discuss in Chapter 2) and the management of emotions, or psychology.
You may think you need to go to graduate school to understand emotional intelligence, but we can translate it into layman’s terms by going back to high school biology. In that class you studied anatomy (which deals with the structure and organization of living things) and physiology (the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions) of the human body (and you thought you were just learning about lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract!). So take this basic knowledge and apply it to the great Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who earned eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Like many athletes, Phelps is gifted with good anatomy and physiology: big hands, abnormally long torso, and good aerobic uptake. Many people attribute his success solely to his athleticism. However, a fair question is whether he won due to his athletic prowess (anatomy and physiology) or because he was able to manage his emotions during a highly stressful athletic event? Case in point: During the 200-meter butterfly race, his goggles malfunctioned and filled up with water. In fact, he couldn’t see the wall when he touched it with his final stroke. It’s reasonable to assume that most people would have panicked and lost momentum. But Phelps managed his emotions, swam his race, set a world record, and collected the first of eight gold medals.
Did he win because of his physical prowess or because of his ability to manage emotions? The answer is yes to both. His success is a combination of biology and psychology. Now, let’s look at neuroscience and psychology from a non-Olympic point of view.
The anatomy and physiology of the brain together produce what is referred to as IQ, a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person. It is the ability to concentrate, organize material, and assimilate and interpret facts. IQ is important in life and business. It’s often the reason you get a degree and your first job.
A growing body of research indicates that EQ, the ability to manage your emotions, is equally important or more important. EQ is an array of noncognitive abilities. It’s the ability to understand what others need, to handle stress, and to basically be the person that others like to hang around with. IQ will get you in the corporate door; EQ will take you up the corporate ladder. Let’s face it, a good sales competitor in your industry is going to have a decent IQ, just as a good Olympic competitor is going to possess decent athletic ability. The differentiator is EQ. (How many of you have met the smartest guy in the room and didn’t like him, and as a result you didn’t do business with him?)

Emotional Intelligence and Sales Results

So let’s move on to our second question and explain how improving emotional intelligence can affect sales results.
Millions of dollars are invested in sales training every year but it often doesn’t produce the desired revenue or changes. Many well-intentioned salespeople and sales organizations study the art and science of sales. You are one of those salespeople because you picked up this book. You listen to audio tapes, attend selling seminars, and read the latest and greatest literature on sales and influence. You’re part of a dedicated group of salespeople that have learned the basic hard skills of selling: ask questions to uncover the prospect’s pain, meet with all the buying influences, and get a range of budget before presenting solutions.
You know what to do. So why are so many of you running meetings where the prospect forces you to “show up and throw up”? Why are you talking with non–decision makers and writing proposals without uncovering the prospect’s budget? This behavior is often referred to as the “knowing-and-doing gap.” You know what to do; however, during tough selling situations you often just don’t do it. You walk out to your car or hang up the phone and ask yourself, “What just happened here? Did my long-lost twin sister take over my body during that meeting? Why didn’t I say this or that?”
Many salespeople review a less-than-stellar sales meeting and blame their poor performance on inadequate selling skills when it may not be about sales technique at all. It’s similar to the practice of medicine. If a doctor misdiagnoses the patient’s problem, the prescribed solution simply won’t work. For example, if a patient has seasonal allergies and the doctor keeps prescribing medication and treatment for a sinus infection, the patient isn’t going to get better. The doctor is working on the wrong problem.

Diagnosing Sales Performance Challenges

Many salespeople misdiagnose their sales challenges and work on the wrong problem. They attempt to improve their sales results by focusing on selling skills alone. The root cause for poor sales performance is not just about hard skills; it’s often linked to the inability to manage your emotions so that you think clearly and react effectively.
Let’s be clear. We don’t discount the importance of selling skills. We teach and coach them every day in our business. In fact, teaching selling skills is where we discovered the knowing-and-doing gap. We’ve worked with thousands of salespeople and watched them execute sales role plays flawlessly during a sales training workshop. But then these same participants land in front of a tough prospect and don’t execute the skills they’ve learned. They buckled, babbled, and sounded like a character out of a bad sales movie. They knew what to do, but didn’t do it. This puzzling behavior led us to explore emotional intelligence in order to discover the missing link between sales training and sales results, the gap between knowing and doing.
Sales can be a tough profession with lots of no’s and setbacks. If a salesperson scores low on self-control a...

Table of contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Forward
  7. Introduction
  8. Part I: The What, Why, and How of Emotional Intelligence and Sales Results
  9. Part II: Emotional Intelligence and the Sales Process
  10. Index