Success in the sales field comes from a pretty unique skill set. Sales is not an easy road, one full of rejection, long hours and frequent travel. What’s the one strength that all successful sales people have in common? They simply get people. They get what motivates them, what they fear, and what makes them happy.
Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
This is generally referred to as emotional intelligence, and it’s especially important in sales, where decisions are often made on emotions, not always on cost or value. Those in possession of high emotional intelligence are unstoppable in sales.
The good news is that experts believe that emotional intelligence is something that you can develop – not something you simply have or not. In its most basic form, emotional intelligence is empathy, or putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. The first step to improving your EQ is simply being a better observer of human nature. Pay attention to the emotions, behaviors, and responses of yourself and others. Identify patterns, or sequences of behaviors and understand the triggers that set these patterns into motion. There may be times when you don’t understand responses to certain situations. In these cases, ask others for their opinions or perspectives on why certain behaviors and responses presented themselves.
Next, dedicate extra focus and effort into your existing relationships. It stands to reason that those with a better handle on reading and expressing emotions are able to form stronger and deeper relationships than those that do not. Listen and observe more often than you speak. Seek to better understand the needs, wants and priorities of those who are already in your life so that you may form better future relationships with others.
Finally, practice controlling your emotions when the stakes are high. Criticism and rejection are virtually unavoidable challenges of any sales job. When these two unpleasant responses occur, take it as an opportunity to improve both your resilience and your EQ. Get comfortable with receiving criticism and rejection, control your emotions and future occurrences will become much easier. Temper other emotions that translate poorly in the sales environment, such as impatience, frustration, or simply putting out too much nervous energy.
Now that you’ve fine-tuned your emotional IQ, put those skills to work! By practicing more listening and observing and less talking, you’ll have an easier time picking up on sales cues and that translates to closing more sales.
Instead of focusing on making the sale, focus instead on building relationships (the sales will follow). There is no question that the most successful salespeople are those who are able to connect and form bonds with their clients. Use your improved emotional intelligence to identify authentic ways to connect with others.
You’ll also be better equipped to anticipate your emotions in certain high stakes, high stress situations and be able to regulate yourself accordingly. For example, sometimes in sales there is a danger of showing too much enthusiasm, or eagerness, which can often read as desperation to the person being sold to. Recognize the pattern, alter the behavior and see an improvement in results. It’s that simple.
If you need one more reason to put some effort into increasing your EI, recognize that improvements will not just positively impact your sales performance, but your personal relationships as well!