3 Emotional Intelligence Techniques To Improve Sales ConversationsWednesday August 31st, 2016
Too often people in sales get a bad rap. It’s time to change that. Here are a few emotional intelligence techniques I use to approach each sales opportunity with an empathetic mindset.
Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Sounds like a useful skill to have, right? Well if you are in sales, it should be mandatory. The truth is, emotional intelligence is instrumental in building long-lasting business relationships, and although sales can be an endless and stressful game when done in mindless repetition, it doesn’t have to be. Through the study and application of emotional intelligence techniques, you can guide sales conversations to optimize your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses and re-characterize your approach with every new opportunity you face.
Guide sales conversations: optimize strengths, mitigate weakness, re-characterize your approach.
The best and most important step to selling with emotional intelligence is looking inward and improving self-awareness. A great way to do this is with The Color Code, a personality test developed by Dr. Tyler Hartman that attaches traits of different personalities to a color based on your answers to a series of questions. Each color is associated with a motive- red for power, blue for intimacy, white for peace and yellow for fun.
With each personality comes good and bad traits. For example, those who are primarily red are very driven (most of the time reds are the CEOs of the world), but they lack patience and empathy, and are often too focused on their own agenda to realize the effect their actions have on those around them. I work to continually improve my emotional intelligence by recognizing the bad traits for one of my colors and consciously working to replace them with good traits from another color. The moment you embrace your strengths and admit to your weaknesses, you become more self-aware.
Re-characterize your approach (every time)
Once you have a grasp on yourself, you can begin looking outward and learn to recognize your counterparty’s personality, what makes them tick and how you should design your message to appeal to that particular individual. Douglas Bennett, an instructor of mine at The University of Colorado Leeds School of Business, described this emotional intelligence technique as re-characterizing your approach.
I like to pay close attention to the way someone communicates in order to identify what personality traits they might have. Most of the time for someone in sales, you will need to analyze this over the phone or in an email at first. For example, if someone is very apologetic, they may be a white-dominated personality trying to avoid conflict. To make your interactions with them a peaceful experience, work around their schedule and communicate in their preferred method. If they are enthusiastic in the way they speak or have high energy levels, they very well may be a yellow-dominated personality looking for a fun, creative environment to work in. To engage this desire, design your meetings with interactive elements, encouraging each participant to voice their opinion and share their ideas.
When interacting with someone in person, integrate emotional intelligence into your body language by matching the body language of your counterparty. Keep a close eye for crossed arms, a relaxed or stern stance and/or hand gestures. Try to mimic them in a way that makes your conversation partner feel comfortable talking to you, tells them you’re listening and indicates that you can relate to what they are saying. Once you can link the way a person communicates with their personality type, you can begin re-characterizing your approach and designing a message that will grasp their attention.
Become the resource with the solution
A good strategy to remember when selling with emotional intelligence is to focus on needs and wants. If the product or service you are selling does not satisfy your customer’s needs and wants, you are wasting your time and theirs.
The best way to ensure you do this is by establishing their needs and wants early on in the conversation. Before you jump into your company’s background, you must show your customer you recognize the problem they need to solve. After that, position yourself as the resource that has the solution. At Brolik, we do this by asking our potential clients about their goals for the engagement during the very first interaction. Once we know the problem the need to solve, we focus our message on how we can help, develop a better understanding of the established goals and position ourselves as the team they want guiding them to the solution.
Now that you are on your way to becoming a self-aware, emotionally intelligent sales mind, let’s recap a few things.
- The path to emotional intelligence starts with self-awareness, so take the color code personality test and use it to optimize strengths, mitigate weaknesses and become a better version of yourself.
- Analyze the way your prospects communicate to gain insight into their personalities, then design your messaging accordingly.
- Establish the needs and wants of your potential clients early on and address them directly to position your company as the resource with the solution.
- And finally, just be human and never underestimate the power of an empathetic mind.