Sales Leaders, are You Leveraging Your Emotional Intelligence?

How do you leverage emotional intelligence to build stronger relationships?How do you leverage emotional intelligence to build stronger relationships?

Can emotional intelligence help you become a stronger sales leader? The more I attend sales meetings, the more I realize it will not be technical skills that lead the next generation of great sales leaders. As things continue to change, the more people look for people they can trust. Can emotional intelligence help you earn trust?

I’ve spent many years helping my clients hire, promote, and train their organization’s leaders. It’s interesting to me that most people I meet pride themselves on their ability to read new people very quickly. They are very good at sizing people up and deciding how much time they will invest in building a relationship with them. Here’s a story that I see myself in all to often.

I remember sitting in an office with a client when one of his biggest suppliers came to see him. After the tour of the entrepreneur’s business and his newest software acquisition, he was sharing how it was going to help him run his business better. My client was like a kid with a new toy.

When we sat down together for our lunch, my client and the supplier discussed their future. The partner was a superior communicator. He was very clear with what he said, he was very passionate about their shared future together. The conversation was very one sided, I don’t believe my client said more than a few words throughout the discussion.

My client then walked the partner out to the parking lot and said goodbye. Not that unusual, it happens several times over the course of the year. Then when my client returned, he closed the door. He looked at me and said that man is lying. I was taken aback. My client was not known for snap decisions.

He then told me that for some reason he did not trust his partner’s leader. He said something didn’t feel right to him. He then asked me what did I think? What did I hear and see? My client’s pay me to help avoid risk and grow their business. Because of this , I work with clients and their teams to develop emotional intelligence. I see it as one of the few, if not only, sustainable advantages my clients can develop.

In the age of data science and analytics, its critical to develop complementary soft skills to work in partnership with these decision-making technologies. Emotional intelligence is why many of my clients are so successful as leaders. When you see an event like I just described, I realize why emotional intelligence still plays as big a role in how critical decisions are made.

There were several clues that helped my client make his statement. He noticed that the visitor was well spoken and passionate about their partnership. He felt he’d given the speech several times before. 

He also noticed that as he took the location tour, he seemed to look through other team members. Focused on the leader while others were speaking and sharing with him. When the partner responded he seemed unprepared to connect or engage with other employees. The partner lacked empathy with others on the team.

Finally, when the partner walked out to the parking area, he seemed anxious to get going. This helped dissipate the remainder of the goodwill he had earned earlier in the day’s meetings. Most entrepreneurs I know trust their instincts more than a set of numbers or more objective decision criteria. They expect the people they partner with to be real. I understand this may not fair, but it’s true.

Sadly, many of the sales professionals they deal with have great sales training. They know exactly what to say and how to say it, but they fail to connect with the person they are speaking with. They lack emotional intelligence when dealing with difficult situations with their clients.  They aren’t listening or they have been told to ignore their client’s objections the first several times they hear them.

Now that we’ve shared a scenario, next week I’ll share how emotional intelligence could have helped during these initial meetings. When applied correctly emotional intelligence can help you enjoy your meetings more. As importantly, it can provide you the foundation of trust that helps you build a stronger relationship with clients and partners. 

Is emotional Intelligence part of what you evaluate when you hire new people? This article can help you make better hiring decisions How to Uncover Emotional Intelligence During Your Hiring Process?

See you next week.

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