The idea of developing emotional intelligence for sales success is gaining traction. Case in point: an article in the March 2018 print edition of Rough Notes Magazine (a leading trade for insurance agents) is titled “The ‘Other’ Intelligence: Why emotional intelligence is topping leaders’ lists of must-have skills.” In it, writer Kimberley Paterson states “77% of CEOs now see soft skills, like emotional intelligence, as among the most valuable and the hardest to find.”
Clearly, it’s a topic too important to neglect. The good news is that emotional intelligence for sales success is not fixed. We are able to change our EI through personal insight and work.
Here are some tips to accomplish this.
Get your emotional intelligence tested
In order to improve, you need to first know where you stand. Judging this on your own is difficult, because everyone tends to rationalize their own weaknesses – or not see them at all.
One solution is to get feedback from others. But this can be filled with opinion and wrong indications. There is just too much bias possible.
A better way is to use the latest scientific testing to provide the most objective, clear view of personality strengths and weaknesses. We use the APQ at Asher Strategies, because it is designed specifically to help salespeople, managers, and executives foster emotional intelligence for sales success.
Stretch your weak points
Once you know the areas of concern, you can get to work on them. This involves, first, recognition that these weaknesses could be improved, and doing so would make a difference in your professional and personal success. Otherwise, all is moot. You need to commit.
Second, it takes practice. For example, a salesperson who has a weak score on empathy has a harder time building rapport with buyers. If this were the case with me, I would practice talking with people and being genuinely interested in them outside of a sales situation. Then I would practice while networking. Finally, I would spend a little more time showing empathy at the beginning of several sales calls.
Finally, persistence is required. I would continue to practice until I reach a new normal where my compassion (and any other previously weak characteristic) comes naturally enough that I don’t have to think much about it. This takes time.
Coaching provides a major boost in breeding emotional intelligence for sales success. The APQ facilitates this by providing coaching reports and tips which hone in on the weaknesses and explain the best approach to remedying them. These also cover the positive aspects as well, which can then be bolstered.
Don’t underestimate the power of accountability to a third party, especially one in a mentorship role. Coaching is a wise investment at any stage in your career.
Emotional intelligence for sales success is fast becoming one of the filters recruiters and sales managers use when making hiring decisions. Stay ahead of this development by understanding, and improving your own.