As we head into the 4th industrial revolution, there is a customer base available that has an abundance of information. The 21st century customer is very well informed about products and services and becoming even more so. Therefore, successful sales teams know that focusing on what is most important to buyer decisions, understanding specific customer needs, creating strong relationships and emotional experiences is essential. How is this achieved? What is the key to developing and cultivating an evolving agile, successful sales team? The 6 Emotional Intelligence competencies: self-awareness, awareness of others, authenticity, emotional reasoning, self-management and positive influence are ‘must have’ skills that are essential for any future effective and comprehensive sales team to be well versed in.
Salespeople that are fluent in emotional intelligence can identify their own emotions and can tweak them to fit the specifics of any buyer and situation. In addition, they can easier anticipate and more effectively plan sales meetings to create a customer centric, valued and buyer confident atmosphere which builds trust. The relationships created become stronger when you are equipped to work through buyer objections, keep your promises, build upon and maintain those relationships which cements loyalty in a customer.
- Self-awareness is the ability to correctly label your own emotions and be aware of the effect they are having on sales decisions and behaviour. Salespeople who are fluent in self-awareness appear as being present before buyers as opposed to seeming disconnected and understand their own emotions and of the affect those emotions are having on them. Research as shown that emotions play a huge role in affecting buyers’ decisions to purchase a product or service, either positively or negatively. Successful salespeople know how to produce emotions that enhance buyer relationships and experiences.
- Awareness of others is the ability to perceive and understand the emotions of buyers which helps greatly in reading non-verbal body language and emotional behaviour. Salespeople fluent in this competency accurately acknowledge the ways others feel, correctly view situations from others’ perspectives and can anticipate responses and or reactions, so to then adapt their sales presentations accordingly. In addition, traits such as empathy and compassion can be fostered by making time to get to know people on a more personal basis, by delving into their perspectives on topics, respectfully, wherever possible, otherwise they can seem insensitive to a buyers’ needs.
- Authenticity is being able to concisely express how you feel and lead authentic conversations with buyers and when necessary, facilitate challenging conversations effectively. Facilitating these challenging conversations starts with a plan; define the outcome you would like, brainstorm how to achieve it, the questions you would like to ask and most importantly seek the buyers’ thoughts and feelings. As buyers are better informed through authenticity, the gap for any disagreements, objections and conflicts is diminished. Being genuine is integral to customer loyalty, otherwise a salesperson can be seen as untrustworthy and does not inspire consumer confidence.
- Emotional Reasoning is essential for identifying when, what and how to communicate, when to listen and ask questions in a conversation with buyers. Using the information gathered from feelings from yourself and others and then combining it with technical facts and data greatly assists decision making in sales meetings. Whenever possible effective salespeople are able to take on expansive views by taking into account the values, beliefs and personal preferences of buyers in delivering their rationale when in decision making situations.
- Self-Management consists of the ability to manage your own moods and emotions and view to improving yourself by way of personal/ professional development. The ability to respond effectively in stressful situations whilst displaying a positive demeanour, adapting effectively to changing circumstances and responding accordingly to any criticism are all required to navigate any sales negotiations. Adopting proactive techniques that build your resilience in these areas like; stepping away from the situation briefly before responding, taking time to eat, sleep and exercise well are some helpful things to put into action.
- Positive Influence assists salespeople to respond and adapt to buyer emotions accordingly. Positive influence is essential for breaking down any barriers and forming trust by also providing useful support to others and using open ended questions. Encouraging cooperation within your team and also adopting a mindset of cooperation in partnering (to any extent possible) with buyers, is greatly appreciated and yields many more long-term benefits, as opposed to looking at people as objects and from the point of view as a one-off sale. A salesperson with a positive influence looks to add value in any way possible to every meeting and transaction, thus in turn empowering their buyers to make the right decisions.
In closing, effective and successful sales is achievable in this ever-changing digitized world we live in. By employing the above competencies within the emotional intelligence realm, on a daily basis, we have the capacity to forge ahead in making real and meaningful relationships with buyers – who after all, are people.