Sales person selection and emotional intelligence

Did you know that EQ can be part of your sales person selection process? In a previous post I told you about my client who increased his annual income 50% just by learning emotional intelligence.  But taking EQ into account when hiring sales people can add tremendously to your bottom line – and save you a lot of time.

Let me share some findings from an experiment at L’Oreal (the cosmetics company).  When they hired sales people with certain emotional intelligence competencies in the screening process, they found these people significantly outsold people hired the traditional way.  In fact, they sold over 90,000 dollars more annually than those hired without taking EQ into account.  And the first year net revenue increase for that team was more than $2.5 million.  Nothing to sneeze at.

And get this: retention for those people screened for EQ was much better, too. There was 63% less turnover in sales reps when they screened for EQ.  That’s amazing.

Other research at a large computer company found that when EQ was part of their salesperson selection process, new hires were 90% more likely to finish their training than those who were hired the traditional way.

Sales person selection process

I have lot more research I could cite, but let me share how I recommend going about this.

First, you need a well-written job description.  That may sound elementary, but a lot of what I see out there could be much better.  Also make sure you have a clear duty and task list.  Then, for several important reasons, you need to benchmark the job.  This involves using an assessment that measures behavioral, attitudinal, and emotional intelligence factors for what it takes to be successful on that particular job.

To keep the US Department of Labor happy, you’ll need at least three people familiar with the requirements of that job to complete your benchmark.

Then, based on the findings of the benchmark, the job description, and the duty & task list, develop five or six key interview questions. Each question needs to be linked to the highest priority aspects of the job, and they need to draw out an employee’s past experience in those areas. Nowadays we call these behavior-based interview questions.

As you collect resumes, sort them into A, B, and C piles, and call all your A-level applicants.  Your task from there is to ask each of them the same five-or-six questions, and you’re going to assign a grade to each answer.  The applicants with the highest scores are asked to take online assessments that measure the same things your benchmarks did. Those with the closest matches are called in for interviews.

Two useful books

For more info on how to do this, visit our books page and pick up a copy of The Really Simple Way to Hire, Train, and Retain Great Employees.

I also encourage you to download a complementary copy of my book, 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence.   That’s a free gift to you.

Bottom line, there’s no reason not to use EQ as part of your sales person selection process.  The statistics show it’s really a best practice.

Get your free book on emotional intelligence

Assessment tools I use when teaching Emotional Intelligence

Over the past few decades, multiple assessment tools have emerged to “measure” one’s emotional intelligence. My company offers one of these, but you can also check out the links at the Harvard Extension School for Assessing Your Emotional Intelligence.

However, just completing one of these questionnaires isn’t necessarily going to inform you on HOW to improve your EQ. What you often get with these is a snapshot of where you’re at in terms of EQ. Think of it as, “Here’s where you’re strong, here’s where you’re not so strong.”

To learn EQ – that is, how to apply it to your daily life – more is needed.

Letting you in on a secret

Personally, I am a huge fan of using assessment tools to help people understand themselves and others, thus improving their EQ. But the tools I use are not normally thought of as EQ assessments. I use and teach assessments that equip individuals and teams with a practical understanding of the mechanics of interpersonal relations. And in all the training I do, I stress the mantra, “Value the Differences.”

The people and teams I work with find great value in these assessments. Granted, many assessments are available that measure different things, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret and list the ones I use in my EQ training:

  • For learning about behavioral styles, I use DISC assessments.
  • For learning about cognitive styles, I use either the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Cognitive Style Indicator (CSI).
  • For learning about innate intellect and natural motivators, I use the Natural Motivators assessment.
  • For learning about learned motivators, I use the Driving Forces assessment.

Again, other good assessments exist and I don’t want to discount their value. It’s just that over the years, I’ve noticed that clients find the tools listed above as easy to use. And, most importantly, they learn from them. What’s more, using these tools provides a broad spectrum of learning in the realms of cognitive, behavioral, and attitudinal styles.

Personally, I think it’s best to start with DISC assessments, but really you can start anywhere. The key to success in building your teams are EQ is simply start.

Want a freebie?

To learn more about these assessments and what they measure, I invite you to grab a copy of my new book, 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence. For a limited time, it’s available on this page as a free download.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, but like I said, the most important thing is to simply start.

Get your free book on emotional intelligence