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

The value of self-awareness

For several millennia, wise people have realized the value of self-awareness. As far back as at least 550 BC, the Greek phrase, “gnothi sauton,” which means “know thyself,” was a common saying.

And it’s still around today. For the last half-century, the idea of “know thyself” has really been the cornerstone of all reputable leadership training. And, for the past 25 years, self-awareness has also been the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness can be defined many ways, and at the risk of sounding all woo-woo, it has many layers as well.

In his best-selling book “Emotional Intelligence,” Daniel Goleman defines self-awareness as “knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources and intuitions.” My version is a little simpler, but covers similar territory: “perceive and assess our own emotions, desires, and tendencies.”

As I’ve talked about in previous videos, this includes knowing our own behavioral style, including our strengths and weaknesses. Let me tell you, this isn’t always easy. I remember when my coach had me take my first DISC Assessment almost 30 years ago. Among other things, it pointed out my strengths and my weaknesses. I was like, “NOOO!”  I was devastated! I had weaknesses! I didn’t want weaknesses. I wanted only strengths.

The real value of self-awareness

As it turns out, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is one level of self-awareness. However, coming to grips with your weaknesses is a whole different level. You develop not just self-awareness, but self-acceptance in realizing that you are capable in some areas, and not as capable in others.

Part of the reason that self-awareness is the cornerstone of the EQ model is that you develop some grace and mercy toward yourself. Then, when you own that  … when you come to grips with accepting your own weaknesses … then you have a foundation for being able to display empathy toward others. And empathy is part of the second level of the EQ model.

I firmly believe that it’s hard to display empathy in any real depth if you don’t have a gracious understanding and acceptance of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Another area we need to be aware of our cognitive style – the strengths and weaknesses in how we notice and process information, and how we make decisions.

It’s also valuable to understand our personal motivations. Some are innate and some are learned, but motivations drive our behavior, and it’s good to be consciously aware of what drives us.

But remember, we can’t stop at just knowing these things about ourselves. The real value of self-awareness comes in accepting ourselves as we’ve been designed.

Now, I do need to throw out a caution, because part of being emotionally intelligent is understanding the power of emotions. Deep emotional imprints can lead us to believe things that are not true.

In future videos I explore that more, plus I will share some ways to strengthen your self-awareness.

In the mean time, let me suggest you download a free copy of my latest book, 10 Steps for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence.

Get your free book on emotional intelligence