If you’re in sales, you probably already know that emotional intelligence in sales organizations should be on management’s radar. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The opening paragraph in an article about high EQ sales cultures by Colleen Stanley at salesforce.com says it well. To quote her directly, she says:
There you have it.
I cut my teeth in sales in the Chicago area in the 1970s. And since that time, having taught sales and having coached emotional intelligence to sales teams, I can attest that the topic of emotional intelligence in sales organizations isn’t always on the front burner. But, if you want your sales numbers to go up, it needs to be.
The power of Emotional Intelligence in practice
Let me tell you a story of how emotional intelligence helped one of my clients. The sales manager of this company had a team of four salespeople, and she brought me in to teach them about the DISC assessment and behavioral selling styles (read more about using EQ in teams here).
Keep in mind, she didn’t request the full spectrum of assessments that I normally use when teaching emotional intelligence. All she wanted her team to learn was DISC, so that’s what I taught them.
Without revealing the industry, I will tell you the sales reps worked strictly on commission. One man, who’s name was Jim, had been there for five years, and his average income was roughly $80,000 a year. Some years it was $75,000, other years is was $85,000, but his average annual income over five years was about $80,000.
After learning about DISC behavioral styles and the different ways that each style likes to buy things, Jim went back and reviewed his sales over the previous few years. He determined the main DISC style of those who bought from him, as well as those who didn’t. What did he learn? He was selling only to people who had styles similar to his!
Armed with that information, Jim became a student on how to adapt his selling style when he encountered prospective clients who had styles different from his.
Suffice it to say that he adapted well. The next year Jim made $120,000 – a 50% increase. And, he attributed every penny of that increase to applying emotional intelligence to his sales process.
Harness the power of Emotional intelligence in sales
I have dozens more stories like Jim’s that I could share, but for now, allow me to underscore what is rapidly becoming a truth in business: If companies are not including emotional intelligence in sales training, they are really missing out.
The bottom line all this is that emotional intelligence matters in sales.