Warren Buffet’s famous quote is quite appropriate for today’s business environment: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.”
Well, right now, a few sales leaders might want to buy swimwear. That’s because the character and work ethic of their salespeople are areas being exposed at this critical time in business.
During difficult times, you really see the stuff that you and your sales team are made of. Now, the stuff can be IQ, such as the ability to solve problems, put together a strategy and deploy it. The right stuff is also emotional intelligence skills that help salespeople persevere during tough times.
So whether you are evaluating your current team or looking to hire new salespeople, include interviewing and vetting for emotional intelligence skills. In my new book, “Emotional Intelligence For Sales Leadership,” I devoted nine chapters to this important topic. Here are two EQ skills for you to consider.
Optimism. Now this EQ skill often gets a bad rap because it paints a picture of a rah-rah-not-in-touch-with-reality salesperson. The optimistic salesperson isn’t putting his head into a sandy beach or denying the reality around him. What an optimistic salesperson does is practice the mantra that optimistic salespeople live by: This, too, will pass and until it does, I will figure out how to succeed.
The pessimistic salesperson subscribes to a different mantra: There’s nothing I can do. This is never going to end. I need to wait for this to pass before I take action.
I don’t know about you, but I’m putting my money on the optimistic salesperson.
Delayed gratification. This is the ability to put in the work to earn the reward. And boy, it’s a lot of work right now making the necessary changes and pivots. The salesperson with delayed-gratification skills is:
- Investing the time to learn how to master new tools and skills needed to sell in a virtual world.
- Putting in hours redesigning messaging statements that resonate with today’s business environment and mindset.
- Staying the course with prospects that are risk-averse and overwhelmed. They’re not looking for a quick close but instead, an opportunity to be a trusted partner.
The instant-gratification salesperson is always looking for a street named easy and quick. And right now, those roads are closed.
The tide is out and it’s time to evaluate your sales team. Who is the person that should remain on your sales bus? If you are in the position to hire, make sure you hire as much for the person’s emotional intelligence skills as their industry experience and sales background.
Soft skills do produce hard sales results.