When making your next sales staff hire, see if your candidates have a good EQ

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: February 15, 2008

Colleen Stanley

Are you the smartest guy in the room? Well, that's not enough.

Good news: Research continues to show that IQ isn't the best predictor of success in business. A person's EQ (emotional intelligence) is a better predictor of success.

So just what is EQ? There are many definitions. But Dr. Reuven BarOn, author of the "BarOn EQ-i," defines it as "an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies and skills that influence one's ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures."

He also defines it as the science of common sense. 
As the world becomes flatter, competition heats up and the talent pool becomes tighter, pressure is increasing. It's important that companies consider the EQ factor in hiring salespeople who can handle competition and pressure.

Here are some EQ competencies to consider when making your next sales hire.

  • Emotional self-awareness -- This is defined by Daniel Goleman, author of "Emotional Intelligence" and "Primal Leadership," as the ability to read one's own emotions and ability to use gut feelings to guide decisions.

If a salesperson isn't good at understanding their own emotions and reactions, they can't diagnose the root cause of nervousness or apprehension. As a result, they make the same selling mistakes repeatedly.

Salespeople scoring low in emotional self-awareness often are clueless to the dynamics occurring on a sales call. They don't read between the lines well or pick up on non-verbal communication. What they do well is bulldoze through a sales call using the same approach with every prospect and customer.

  • Self-regard -- Sales managers often spend hours on account planning, discussing who can make decisions and why. What's often missed during the coaching session is discussing whether or not the salesperson will show up at the sales call with confidence and personal presence.

Self-regard measures a person's self-confidence and self-worth. The person scoring high in this area bounces back quickly from failure and evaluates the failure objectively rather than personally. As a result, they receive the gift of a lesson learned.

The self-confident person also is more likely to call at the right level in the organization. They don't have the "I'm not worthy, good enough, smart enough" self-talk going on when targeting key decision-makers. They show up and try every day.

  • Self-management -- Listen up, all you entrepreneurs and mid-sized companies. You don't have the bandwidth or enough hands to do a lot of hand-holding.

A person who scores high in self-management possesses a high degree of initiative. They don't wait for the company to provide resources; they go out, make their own resources and make it happen. High self-management also is reflected in a salesperson's ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses under control. They're good at handling tough prospects and tough questions because their knees aren't jerking and hearts aren't pounding.

Salespeople scoring high in this area are optimistic and can find humor or the bright side of any adversity.

Take the real estate market and lender markets today, which aren't enjoyable industries to be in right now. If you listen to professionals scoring high in self-management, you'll hear statements such as, "This is good for the profession. There is a cleansing going on which needed to happen. Market correction should be done by mid-2008." 
In adverse times, sales professionals with high self-management still see the upside.

  • Social awareness -- Ever been on a sales call and sense that the salesperson didn't even hear the problem your prospect or customer just shared? Right after the prospect shared a problem, the salesperson launched into the fix. The dazed prospect wondered if they were talking to themselves as the salesperson moved the conversation to his/her company and solution.

Social awareness is illustrated by a salesperson's empathy -- the ability to step into a prospect's shoes, and feel the pain without solving the pain. These salespeople care enough to ask questions in order to thoroughly understand the prospect's situation.

They turn off the WIFM (What's In it For Me) channel and turn on the HCIHY (How Can I Help You) channel.

Socially aware salespeople are experts at paying attention and adapting to the many subtleties that exist on a sales call -- a change in body language, tonality behind the words and the real question being asked.

It's great to hire a salesperson with a high IQ. Just make sure they have an equally high EQ.

About the Author

Colleen Stanley is founder and president of SalesLeadership Inc., a sales development firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, consultative sales training, emotional intelligence training. and leadership training for sales managers. She is the author of Growing Great Sales Teams and Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success. Reach Colleen at 303-708-1128 or visit www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com.

Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or electronically as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided to team@salesleadershipdevelopment.com. Thank you.

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Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership Inc. in Denver. Reach her at cstanley@salesleadershipdevelopment.com or 303-708-1128 .

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