Emotional intelligence and sales are usually not even put in the same sentence. Sales management professionals often confuse emotional intelligence with being soft and a push over—two traits that are not going to accelerate sales results.
It might be time for a reality check. Emotional intelligence has been taught in the leadership world for years. And there is a substantial amount of research showing that EQ is a key factor for success in effectively leading a team.
#1: Emotional self-awareness. In the words of Socrates, “Know thyself.” It might be time to ask yourself the tough question: am I the problem? Emotionally intelligent sales managers take time to reflect on how they show up every day with their team.
For example, are you really paying attention when meeting with members of your sales team. I have had more than one salesperson tell me that he or she doesn’t go to their manager for advice because, well, the sales manager just can’t seem to quit checking email or taking phone calls. (It’s the equivalent of someone holding up a newspaper as you are talking to them.) As a result, the salesperson doesn’t feel important, quits asking for advice and expertise and skills don’t grow. Neither do sales.
Make a decision to be present when meeting with members of your team. Put away your smart phone, close the door and put your phone on do not disturb. Treat your salesperson like you would treat your most important customer---because he is! Make a decision where you want to be.
#2: Self-regard and assertiveness. There’s an old saying that it’s lonely at the top. Without confidence, sales managers avoid holding truth telling conversations with members of their team. Salespeople are not held accountable and the result is a sales culture of mediocrity, complacency and excuses.
Tough love managers are confident and willing to hold truth telling conversations. That conversation might be around a salesperson’s unwillingness to turn in needed reports for forecasting or a bad attitude. Assertive sales managers state what they need nicely without getting aggressive or emotional.
Got EQ? Soft skills, emotional intelligence skills, do produce hard sales results.