I had the pleasure to sit down with Emotional Intelligence (EI) Sales Expert Colleen Stanley recently and we talked about how sales training – sales skills – can fail because our reps were not aware of their emotional awareness. Gerhard Gschwandtner has a great interview with Colleen on EI in this video. It seems that everyone understands the symptoms, but few can address solutions. That makes it a very meaty topic to discuss and encourage sales leaders, sales trainers, and sales professionals to weigh in on the topic, and check out Colleen's website to learn more. From a personal standpoint, I once lost a position running a corporate university because, in part, some of the C-level team felt it was too focused on "soft skills".
See if any of these sound familiar for you or someone on the sales team:
- Discounting and getting price shopped – lack of self-regard or assertiveness
- Inconsistent prospecting activity – low impulse control or delayed gratification
- Not talking to the decision maker(s) – assertiveness and problem solving
- Spending hours on unqualified proposals – reality testing
- Selling too small of deals – delayed gratification
- Low on resiliency – self regard and reality testing
- Present too soon – impulse control
- Ineffective listening skills – empathy and interpersonal skills
- Poor at building likeability factor – empathy and interpersonal skills
LR: What made you write a book about Emotional Intelligence and Sales Results?
CS: I have been teaching and training salespeople for over 20 years. And often I observed that a salesperson could execute hard selling skills very effectively during role plays and practice sessions. Then, when he or she encountered a tough prospect, all their good selling skills went out the window. Emotions started running the call—not effective influence and communication skills.
LR: Can you give me a specific example of how emotional intelligence can help salespeople achieve hard sales results? I think some people may think that EI is soft and ‘kind of mushy.’
CS: Sure…here’s one that I have seen more than once. The salesperson knows that he is supposed to meet with all the buying influencers. But sometimes, because he lacks assertiveness, the ability to state what you need nicely, he ‘goes along to get along.’ He isn’t assertive enough with a prospect to ask for and get meetings with the appropriate decision makers. He goes along to get along. As a result, he ends up writing a practice proposal or an ineffective proposal because he is missing key criteria.
LR: What can a manager do to build more emotionally intelligence teams/cultures?
CS: The first thing managers need to do is model the behavior. And in many cases, that means putting away their technology. Empathy is an emotional intelligence skill that helps you read and relate to others. If a manager is always looking at his smart phone, she is not present and misses many non-verbal cues in communication. Being present is one of the most important things any of us can do to influence others. When we are present, we are more attuned to what other people are thinking and feeling. As a result, we can redirect conversation and/or address issues that are not necessarily being said out loud.
Sales managers can also encourage and model self actualization. Self actualized people are on a journey of personal and profession improvement. Manager can provide training, coaching, book of the month, peers training peers to encourage lifelong learning.
What do you think about Emotional Intelligence? Do you cover this in your company sales training program?
As a sales leader, do you look for sales reps who can clearly show empathy and other EI traits?
We recommend you take a look at Colleen's book Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success