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

Money doesn’t motivate – or does it?

I have more than one client who says, “Money doesn’t motivate me.”  I have other clients who are motivated by money more than anything.

Obviously, we need money to provide for our families.  But there’s a very informative article at the Harvard Business Review that explores the impact of money on our motivations. Turns out that intrinsic motivation is three times more likely to drive job performance than extrinsic motivation – such as money.

Also, in study after study, job satisfaction and salary were found to have almost no correlation. Employees at the bottom half of the salary range were just as satisfied in their jobs as those in the top half.  And this wasn’t just true in the U.S.  The results were statistically similar in Taiwan, Australia, India, and Britain.

With this, I’d like to (again) shoot some holes in a belief held by many managers. The common thinking is, “Just pay people more and they’ll be happy and motivated.”

Be careful of bad psychology

As I’ve said for years, the idea that we can motivate other people is bad psychology.  The word motivation literally means, “a reason to move.” And, the truth is that people move for THEIR reasons, not yours.  For some people, money is a strong motivator. However, in almost 30 years of using assessments that identify people’s motivations, I can tell you that money doesn’t motivate the majority of people.

When I did my master’s thesis research on the importance of soft skills in middle managers, I was shocked to discover so many managers disregarding the intrinsic motivations of the people on their teams.

In order to save time here, I’m going to boil down the reason for that into one very simple phrase. Many managers won’t like hearing this, but it’s true:

They were lazy.

To believe that their employees would be motivated to work harder just by dangling more money in front of them was a one time “easy” decision. But not necessarily an effective one.

In truth, we can identify at least nine natural, or innate motivations, and 12 learned ones. And money is only one of those 12.  Managers who want to “motivate” their employees (to the use the common phrase) must learn what drives each employee. That takes effort. And to do it well, a manager must really want to know what drives each employee.  This is a core responsibility of being a manager. Unfortunately, this rarely gets taught in most management training.   If it does get taught, it’s usually only in passing.

I’m not saying money doesn’t motivate

I am not saying that money doesn’t motivate.  However, you must learn what drives each employee, and that means practicing emotional intelligence. To help you do that, feel free to download a complimentary copy of my latest book, 10 steps for improving your emotional intelligence.

The bottom line truth is that for most people, money doesn’t motivate. For some people it does. To create a motivated and passion-driven team, you must learn what drives each individual, and then put your emotional intelligence to work.

Get your free book on emotional intelligence

Learned motivators – why they’re important

I’ve received several questions lately about the importance of learned motivators. And yes, they are very important, so let’s dig in.

Learned motivators are acquired through events that impacted us emotionally in our earliest years.

Because these motivators are formed as a result of emotional events, I’m a firm believer that Learned Motivators are vitally important when learning emotional intelligence. But, before I go further, let me first list these six motivators so you know what I’m talking about.

The six spectra of “learned” motivators:
  • Knowledge (how people respond to the availability and use of knowledge)
  • Utility (how people value the ‘things’ in their life [including finances])
  • Surroundings (how people prefer their surroundings to be)
  • Others / Community (the ways in which people are driven to help others)
  • Power (the various ways people seek—or don’t seek—authority)
  • Methodologies / Life Systems (how people prefer their lives be structured)

These are the six “learned” motivators. However, these are also known as Driving Forces, because they’re formed by positive or negative emotions in response to various events. And, our perception of events -in correlation with deep seated emotions connected to events – eventually “drive” our choices later in life.

Here’s how it works:

  1. We experience something as a child.
  2. Instantly and unconsciously, we have an emotional response to it.
  3. The emotion is either positive or negative.
  4. We associate the positive or negative impression with the event.

If the emotions imprinted as a result of an event are strong, the imprint is deep, and that can really affect us.

Example of an imprint:

A common belief is that money motivates, right?  Maybe. Maybe not.

Let’s say a young child hears his mother regularly talking bad about everybody who has money. Who knows the reason – perhaps she grew up in poverty and has a chip on her shoulder. Maybe she was wronged by someone who was wealthy. Regardless, this young child hears his mother constantly berating people who acquired wealth. Keep in mind this young boy’s mother feeds, clothes and cares for him. She is the person who provides his security.

Let’s say one day this child says he wants to grow up and be rich, only to be mocked and ridiculed in front of his friends by his own mother. If the child experiences multiple embarrassing moments like this, can you see how this child may grow up with a repulsion to anyone seeking money? Worse yet, this person may be so emotionally repelled by the idea of being associated with wealth, he never establishes a retirement account.

Emotional imprints can deeply affect our thoughts, our motivations, and our behaviors.

I give more examples and explain more about learned motivators my new book, 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence, which you can get for free on this page. But whether you’re learning EQ to improve your parenting skills or you’re someone trying to achieve high functioning teams, I strongly recommend you learn about  these six driving forces.

Get your free book on emotional intelligence