In Singapore, it has been found that the focus of salespeople has been to master product knowledge above all else. This belief seems consistent with capable salespeople who are goal oriented and competitive but lack the competencies to break through the success barrier.
Beyond the barrier, there exists emotional competencies which when neatly executed consciously or unconsciously, selling almost becomes an effortless activity. Just consider the following examples of how emotional intelligence can impact selling:
Trust and Integrity
The successful salesperson must earn trust in order to turn their customers into loyal followers for life. This is done by ensuring that good news just as much as bad news about a product or service is never spared from the client’s ears.
Similarly, it could be about a promise you made in keeping a schedule like being on time for a call or meeting, committing to fighting for a client’s request when it was justified or even going beyond the call of duty to fulfil a promise.
Trust is about showing up and turning up when you said you would with no compromise especially in sales. Don’t even consider making an exception.
Ask any sales expert if they tasted success right from the beginning and you will hear a resounding “No”. Those who find it difficult to accept failure, quickly sink into despair by distorting their own internal conversation and image of themselves and keep dwelling on it.
Optimists accept failure as a necessary stage in the sales cycle. Often, they keep knocking on the doors of the same clients until they succeed - while other optimists treat failure like water off a duck’s back accepting that it is just a statistic.
Super sales performers are incredible at connecting emotionally with customers and any sales activity only follows much after rapport is established. Extremely successful ones spend 30% of their time on selling and the rest on relationship building.
If they encounter toxic clients, appropriate words are tactfully employed to soften difficult responses. They are frank and sincere and at the same time, where there is contentious discussion arising out of product deficiency, warranty issues, comparisons with competitors’ products, fine prints which leave customers defenceless, or differing opinions amongst other reasons, these super performers are masterful at handling the situations.
Out with the Ego
Expert salespeople have mastered the art of being present. They filter harsh tones, criticisms and abuses and buffer them with acknowledge statements and words of comfort like “This must have upset you”, “I am sorry you went through this”, “It’s totally understandable that you feel this way”.
The right words accompanied by a very gentle and understanding tone go very far to soften the damage which could otherwise escalate in the form of defensiveness or outbursts.
Enthusiasm and Humour
An expert salesperson is skilful at leaving his client happy by the time either steps out of the door. A useful starting point is expressing enthusiasm and keeping that smile when it’s time to let it shine. Smiling and enthusiasm disarms the defensive and stiff client and sends the message that you are safe, open and receptive.
Emotional expressions are primal and expert salespeople profit from their innate skill in reading and deciphering their customers’ expressions and feelings.
What impedes salespeople from building strong relationships is their inability or unwillingness to observe people and process clients’ facial expressions, voice tonality and choice of words used. Many don’t know what to look out for while others don’t even think it bears any importance as their minds are busy ‘closing’ the deal even before there is any agreement and acknowledgment from the prospect.
When sales experts notice their prospects’ frustration and disappointment or surprise, they act on the information rather than pretend and remain in oblivion to their prospects’ feelings. They turn on their emotional radars consistently. They seek to minimize any discontent and find solutions that unlock dissonance, displeasure or confusion wherever possible.
The emotional thermostat is always in check since buyers buy based on their emotional state. Allow your prospects to walk away feeling that their emotional needs and expressed expectations ares clearly looked into and no stones are left unturned.
Dr. Granville D' Souza DBA, Director, 6 Seconds SEA Pte Ltd
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Dr. Granville D' Souza DBA, Director, 6 Seconds SEA Pte Ltd, he has extensive training experience in Emotional Intelligence practises as well as conducting coaching and facilitative workshops that deal with team and individual behaviour.