Posts Tagged ‘emotional intelligence’
Years ago I read the following definition for sales by Zig Ziglar: “Sales is the transference of feelings.” As someone who consistently writes about the impact of emotions in sales, I was so glad to read one sales expert who took the time to write a book about how to transfer those feelings through emotional intelligence.
Jeb Blount’s new book, Sales EQ, should be immediately ordered, read and committed to memory. Blount has provided those in sales with a road map to understanding how to use what Ziglar recognized so many years ago.
Emotional intelligence is the missing key within most sales training programs. The inability to apply EQ might help to explain why 50% of salespeople miss quota.
Just this past week I wrote about how certain words such as “need” should be eliminated from the vocabulary of salespeople. The use of need in a sales conversation reflects emotional intelligence or the lack there of.
As a noted sales expert, Blount provides many more tips and strategies in a well written and well crafted book. Even though the book is to help with complex sales, this book will help the SMB salespeople to earn more sales because people buy first on emotion justified by logic. (Sales Buying Rule #1)
The application of emotional intelligence works with any sales process and must begin within the first phase of attracting attention otherwise known as marketing. For those in sales who resist the word marketing, then call it prospecting.
Still, an elite group of top 1 percent of sales professionals are crushing it. These Ultra-High Performers are acutely aware that the emotional experience of buying from them is far more important than products, prices, features, and solutions. As Jeb Blount wrote in another book, People Buy You.
As someone who is considered by some to be a sales expert, I look forward to your thoughts about Sales EQ. Please share your thoughts here or post them on your social media site.
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Just this morning in my news feed, I read a content marketing and sales headline “These are the skills you need to have.” The following thoughts quickly surfaced in my mind:
- Really, I need to have these skills of (leadership, sales, management, etc.)?
- What if I don’t have these skills?
- Will I be less successful without these skills?
The word “need” is filled with judgment and is probably one of the least emotionally intelligent words people in sales and marketing use on a daily basis. One can’t blame salespeople after all they are trained to “uncover wants and needs” in most sales training programs.
Return to a moment n your childhood and think about your parents or an adult telling you any of the following:
- You need to go to bed
- You need to make straight As
- You need to go to college
- You need to find a good job
- You need to visit your relatives
- You need… (the you need list is endless)
Every time I read about “you need” to do this or have this when it comes to SMB, sales, marketing to leadership, I inwardly cringe. For the last 10 years, I have attempted to remove this word, “need,” from my own executive coaching engagements, content marketing and sales conversations. I also encourage my clients to replace this highly emotional word with other phrases such as “Have you considered?”
Emotional intelligence is critical to successful marketing and sales. Jeb Blount founder of Sales Gravy is releasing on March 20, 2017 a book, Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal, dedicated to emotional intelligence specific to sales and one I recommend purchasing.
Of course changing an existing behavior is not easy. And for time strapped marketing and sales people having to speak a few extra words may prove frustrating. My advice is just remember how you emotionally felt years ago when you were told “you need” to do whatever. That memory should be enough to prompt you to change your behavior.Share on Facebook
Yesterday, I personally experienced how just one word creates buying distrust. I also experienced how a seller recognized and overcame that buying distrust. Let me quickly explain.
Buying Mistrust a Short Story
Two weeks ago I made an appointment at my health care clinic. The intake person said I would be seeing Mindy. I asked who was Mindy and the person responded “She’s the doctor.” My doctor had relocated out of state and was no longer at this clinic.
Yesterday was the appointment. In completing the paperwork, a question was raised about my preferred pharmacy. I told the intake person that I preferred a written prescription so that I can check prices online. She said “you can talk to the doctor about that.”
When Mindy came into the room, she introduced herself as a nurse practitioner. This caused immediate distrust because my expectation was to see a doctor. I had been told twice I would be seen by a doctor.
I voiced this concern. Mindy recognized I experiencing distrust and gave me the choice to see a
medical doctor or to just continue. She demonstrated excellent emotional intelligence and I decided to continue with her.
Even after 40 plus years of dealing with customers and being in sales, I once again realized how quickly buying trust can be placed by buying distrust even with loyal customers. Trust be it in business or one’s personal life can never be taken for granted.
In working with clients, I continually stress the importance of consistency in all aspects especially in behaviors. Here just one word, doctor, spoken twice to a loyal customer planted the seeds of distrust.
As a side note, my husband had visited the same clinic. On his visits he has been told he would be seen by the nurse practitioner. My experience confirmed this organization has an inconsistency in communication behaviors.
Just imagine each day how many customers or patients experience this collision of expectations and inconsistencies? Who would really appreciate how this collision has the potential to be caused by just one word?
Trust even with loyal customers can never be taken for granted. Every interaction must continue to build trust. To fail to ingrain this principle into the organization’s culture or what I believe is truly the sales culture can be the organization’s Achilles’ heel.
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Building upon selling or sales being the transference of feelings, the question then becomes how to ensure those feelings are transferred? In working on some sales training for a new client, I discovered this acronym to do just that – CREATE powerful sales conversations.
People have one chance to make a good first impression and for salespeople this first impression will either open the sales door of opportunity or close the door for good. In realizing the importance of those first sales conversations, this acronym may just help to support crazy busy salespeople in their goal to begin to transfer those feelings between themselves and their buyers (think sales leads or ideal potential customers).
CREATE Powerful Sales Conversations
C – Communicate with clarity and intention. Be deliberate and cohesive in your communication. Make sure to actively listen because good communication is far more about active listening than active talking.
R – Respect your buyer. Respect goes beyond normal common manners. Here you showcase your business ethics such as by active listening, not interrupting and honoring any promises you made during your interactions with your sales lead. Also this is where you don’t presume you know more than the buyer. Leave your ego at the door.
E – Empathy. For those who understand emotional intelligence, empathy is an intrinsic human characteristic. Can you identify and understand the other person’s feelings? Remember, do not confuse empathy with sympathy.
A – Authentic. Be who you are authentically. People can spot phonies a mile off. Anymore it appears buyers’ phony radar system is on HIGH ALERT.
T – Timing. Understanding the timing of your words, your non-verbal body language is also essential. Great comedians had exceptional timing. They watched their audience. Rushing through the sales process because of some sales script is foolhardy.
E – Energy. Being confident, not overly, displaying positive energy all support those transference of feelings. Just think about how many times you purchased from a dull, low energy person?
Powerful sales conversations go beyond the words. Possibly this acronym of CREATE may assist you in your selling endeavors. Let me know if it works for you.
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How many times have you heard salespeople say “I help” when engaged in sales prospecting at B2B events? Then they go on and on and on about how they help. When words are overused, they are like water off a duck’s back. To increase sales means you must differentiate yourself from your competition and all the other salespeople. This differentiation starts with finding new sales behaviors.
When we examine the word help, there is an implication that the other person is helpless otherwise why would you be offering to help.? This implication may be subtly unconscious, but it is present nonetheless.
Now the word facilitate creates no implication of helplessness. Instead from its Latin origin and French revision the word means to render easy. Now in sales aren’t we supposed to make the sales conversations easy, to render them down for better understanding?
Even though help is a word that carries positive emotions so does the word facilitate. The advantage again to thinking, speaking and writing the word facilitate is two-fold:
- Not heard so differentiates you from everyone else
- Does not imply subconsciously the other person is helpless
Also I believe there are two others advantages, though somewhat more subtle. Since facilitate is to make easy, then it creates a top of mind awareness on the part of the seller to be more conscious of non-verbal communications as well as to his or her own communication style. Tools such as DISC can provide additional insight as how to better communicate.
The fourth advantage is emotional intelligence. The word facilitate I believe has greater emotional intelligence because it does not make a subconscious judgment of helplessness.
The words we speak, think and write are a window to how others observes our sales behaviors. To increase sales in the next year or quarter may require for us to look at our own sales behaviors and what actions we may wish to take to secure those desired sales results.
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People buy from people. This is a fact. Since people buy from people, then to develop those people relationships is very dependent upon the salesperson’s capacity for empathy. This may help to explain the sales success for many top performing salespeople.
Years ago I heard the difference between empathy and sympathy. Both of these terms recognized the emotions and situations of others. The difference was this one word – agreement.
- When we are sympathetic we are in agreement with the other person.
- When we are empathetic we acknowledge the other person’s situation, but do not necessarily agree with it.
Sales success is built upon understanding the emotional wants and needs of the sales prospect. How we share that understanding is very much about our empathy and its foundation of emotional intelligence because we:
- Recognize and understand the emotions of others
- Recognize and understand our own emotions
- Manage both of these emotions
Back in February of 2013, I wrote this:
When sales people have the capacity to perceive and understand the feelings of others, this bodes well for their ability to build authentic relationships. This sales leadership talent of empathetic outlook does involve being consciously aware of the impact of your actions on others. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Empathetic outlook is all about interpersonal intelligence within the realm of emotional intelligence.
Today some sales training experts continue to focus on sales skills, technical tools and yet fail to truly acknowledge the importance of empathy specific to building relationships. For example, a sales prospect does not call when he or she promised. The salesperson begins to first focus only on his or her emotions of disappointment to discouragement. When the salesperson and the sales prospect finally reconnect, those emotions may surface or are still submerged. The prospect may sense those emotions and this may have a negative impact on the interaction.
Empathy is a necessary behavior for sales success. To ignore this talent, this capacity, may harm future business and individual growth.
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Remember the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz and his fervent wish of “If I only had a brain?” Sometimes I hear this somewhat similar desire with salespeople who appear to yearn for a sales brain.
Would such a brain actually increase sales?
The ending lyrics to the Scarecrow’s desire may provide some insight:
I would not be just a muffin’,
My head all full of stuffin’,
My heart all full of pain;
And perhaps I’d deserve you and be
Even worthy even you
If I only had a brain.
The desire for a brain reflected the Scarecrow’s own self imposed limitations and his own internal negative feelings of self-worth. He didn’t feel worthy of deserving anyone’s attention because of his own limiting beliefs.
In actuality, Scarecrow confused having a physical brain with having a mind. He needed reinforcement that he had a mind as evidenced by receiving the degree from the Wizard.
How we think about ourselves is the foundation for success in any endeavor and especially I believe in sales. Having a sales mind or better yet a sales mindset now that is somewhat different than having a sales brain.
Possibly this is why understanding how we make decisions within our sales conversations to our marketing and sales activities is essential. By applying the work of Dr. Hartman through the science of Axiology, we can actually improve our decision making process by leveraging our various talents.
Did you know you had 78 talents?
Download this PDF file (78-core-talents-self-eval-dl) to self assess yourself.
Additionally the work around the neurosciences including neuro linguistic programming (NLP) to emotional intelligence all work together to support a strong as well as emotionally aware sales mindset. Today some forward thinking sales training actually incorporates NLP and emotional intelligence into their learning objectives.
Of course we as human beings are not one dimensional. This is why it is important to also understand why we do what we do and how we do what we do. Psychometric assessments such as the Values Index and DISC Index provide insight to those other two dimensions of “why” and “how.”
Now that you may be having the Scarecrow’s “If I only had a brain,” tune running through your head, you may wish to further reflect what it means to have a sales brain and as well as sales mindset. Reflection or better yet guided reflection can support you in reaching your goal to increase sales.Share on Facebook
Everyone is in sales. Mothers sell eating healthy to their children. Teachers sell learning to their students. Business owners sell their vision to their customers both internal and external. Sales people sell their products and services to potential customers.
A recent survey indicated that the number one open position within the United States business arena is sales. Companies are looking for salespeople who are competent and want to sell. They really want leaders who truly love sales.
With my clients, finding an performance driven salesperson is a continual challenge. Many who sell want an annual salary and fear the commission only position. Yet, it is in this type of selling position that a truly great salesperson will excel. As another client has said many times “When you are hungry, you will hunt.”
Is selling easy? The answer to that question is simply “It all depends.” Selling products or services demands specific skill sets including: communication, creativity, decision making, goal setting, marketing and problem solving just to name a few.
Learn more about a powerful assessment that will let you know about your own selling skills.
However, the most crucial skill in selling is being able to relate to people and discover what they are not saying. Some define this ability building rapport, but it is much more. I believe this is all about having authentic emotional intelligence as reflected through empathy. To leverage this skill demands that your energies are continually pointed at the customer and not at you.
Empathy has been demonstrated to separate top sales performers from average ones. And, yes empathy can be developed provided you are willing to let go of your ego and become an authentic leader who readily gives of herself or himself.Share on Facebook
Socrates as many know was a Greek philosopher. He created the Socratic Dialog which many in sales find very effective during exploring sales meetings and fact finding sessions. Socrates also developed the Three Filters which is just as important. However living by these three filters does present an ongoing sales challenge.
Is What you Say Kind?
We know words can hurt people feelings and create an atmosphere ranging from hostility to resentment. In sales especially when we are out and about, remembering to be kind in our remarks is essential. Kindness reflects emotional intelligence.
Is What You Say Truthful?
When speaking with others or even making comments, is what you say truthful. This filter returns to the human nature of gossiping or even not validating what has been said. Additionally by applying emotional intelligence we can be truthful without being judgmental. Some people view telling the truth as being judgmental as “You should not say that.”
Is What you Say Necessary?
Probably for many, myself included, this third filter is the most challenging. How many times do we speak too much during a sales conversation instead of actively listening?
We all enjoy getting our two cents in whether it is a professional or personal conversation. Here is where our ego sometimes takes over.
Socrates Three Filters is one sales challenge we confront every day. Living consistently by these three filters is not easy.
Yesterday I had remembered Socrates wise words when being confronted by a very rude commuter passenger. Instead of engaging in non-productive conversation, I removed myself to another seat. This particular individual was 100% clueless about professional etiquette. She believed a particular train seat had her name on it along with her two companions.
In this world of people meeting people because people buy from people, one never knows who is watching. By understanding the depth of this particular sales challenge can only strengthen one’s professional and personal business ethics, emotional intelligence and ultimately sustainable business growth.Share on Facebook
Sometimes in sales, people confuse energy with passion. What ends up happening is the passion sounds like a sales pitch.
When salespeople infuse emotional intelligence into their sales conversation, they now are delivering empathetic energy. Empathy is a measurable talent and can be further developed through emotional intelligence as well as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
Low energy does not sell. Misplaced high energy also does not sell.
What does sell is energy that focuses on the sales lead (prospect) with a underlying caring desire. President Teddy Roosevelt said it best:
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
This does not mean the salesperson must be “touchy feely.” What it does mean is to recognize that people buy from people they know and trust. By demonstrating your knowledge and you are trustworthy, reinforces this first sales buying rule.
Of course you must believe in your solution. However your belief, your passion must not overwhelm your ideal customer. This is when your energy is still very visible, but is not viewed as the all too common sales pitch.
Empathetic energy can be quiet and still high. A smile, a nod, a well placed remark all contribute to this type of sales behavior. The goal is always to build the relationship while also demonstrating your understanding of the current situation.
Being prepared is another aspect of empathetic energy. Anticipating what the sales lead may ask and having that document or documents ready again reflects your knowledge and credibility.
Choosing words that reinforce empathy and are not judgmental also reflects this type of energy. Words such as think, should and especially need all contain a perception of judgment. The last sales behavior any salesperson should strive for is verbally judging the sales lead.
In your next sales communication experience, listen to yourself. Possibly to increase sales, you may wish to decrease the sales pitch passion and increase your empathetic energy?
Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps of people and process that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.Share on Facebook