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Sales Leadership
Jan 5, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the SalesProTips show, we consider the role of EQ in sales leadership. Kristen Harcourt will talk through what emotional intelligence is and why it matters for achieving sales success.

Listen to this episode and discover:

* What is Emotional Intelligence and why does it matter for sales?

* How can Emotional Intelligence help client-focused pros better engage and relate to prospects and customers?

* How important is constant feedback? It is more important to Millennials?

* What are the benefits to a company's bottom line by ensuring that leaders are better equipped and more aware of their team members' strengths, blind spots, values, purpose and professional goals?

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* To what lengths should a company go to retain their best salespeople? (e.g. incentives, promotions, shares etc,)

* How can companies create performance results transparency and eradicate the noise and behavior associated with poor performance?

* How can companies go about improving team communication and engagement – so that the right people in the right jobs are never out of the loop or blind-sided?

Read the edited transcription:

Kristen: Welcome to the CPSA Sales Tips for the Pro Series. My name is Kristen Harcourt and in today's episode I'll be discussing emotional intelligence and leadership. A little background on me. For the last 10 years I've consulted with hundreds of organizations in various industries helping them create more positive and productive work places. My specialties have been talent management, leadership and development, organizational wellness, team effectiveness, and performance management. In January 2017, I started my coaching practice so that I could work with more individuals on a one-on-one basis and have a deeper impact.

The first topic I'd like to explore on the show today is what is emotional intelligence and why does it matter for sales? First of all, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Why is that important for sales? Well, if you think about some of the emotions that can show up for sales let's go through and talk about some of them. When we're looking at emotional intelligence we can think of it in terms of the self, so self-awareness and self-management and then also with regards to others, so social awareness and relationship management.

If you look at the self some of the things that you need to think about as a salesperson is self-confidence. That's something that comes from the emotions, so how self-confident is that individual. Also, if you look at things like self-control, adaptability, achievement to drive, to get results, to use initiative, those all come from regulation. If you think about a salesperson and all of the different emotions that come with working in sales, really having that discipline, that drive to get results, working hard, dealing with rejection and not letting rejection get you down.

Then, the other piece of it is if you think about working with potential prospects or working with clients, that's being able to relate to the emotions of others. Some of those things that we want to think about is their ability to empathize and really put themselves in that other person's shoes. Then also, are they able to inspire, are they able to deal well with change and learn about the change that's happening with others and to work in a very collaborative type of way and also deal with conflict. Sometimes as a salesperson you are having difficult conversations and are they able to work with their prospect and really get to know that individual and understand what they're going through, what they're experiencing and get a feel for their body language and what emotions might be being expressed by that individual and then being able to adapt accordingly. As you can see, emotional intelligence is really, really, really critical for doing well in sales.

The second topic I'd like to talk about is how can emotional intelligence help client focus pros better engage and relate to prospects and customers? Well, I think as I was talking about before when the sales rep has more of that emotional intelligence they are able to have way more effective conversations and communicate better with their prospects and customers. First of all, with their own self-awareness they are more cognizant of how they're showing up, how they're impacting their prospect and the clients. That's going to change because now they're thinking about like, "Okay, how am I feeling before I'm going into this meeting? What can I do differently? Maybe I need to take a couple of deep breaths and get really centered before I go into this meeting."

Then they're also able to pay attention to what's going on with their customer. Maybe the customer, they're not the only person that that individual has seen today so maybe the customer is having a hard day so asking them how they're doing, what they're experiencing, paying attention to what kind of emotions are coming up for them. Maybe you might find certain things that you were going to discuss in that conversation based on how that individual shows up in the meeting. You realize that maybe it's not the best time to say what you had originally thought you were going to say.

Really learning how to, that dance of adapting and paying attention to those emotions that are showing up with your prospect, with your clients. Also, realizing that there are other emotions that might come up and paying attention to them, just around how do they deal with the fact that you are a salesperson. Maybe they have this perception that salespeople, they don't trust them so what can you do to build more of that trust with that individual. Really paying attention to what that person is experiencing and putting yourself in their shoes and then adapting based to what kind of emotions you see coming from them.

The third topic I'd love to speak with you about today is, are the best leaders able to empathize with employees and peers? Definitely, my answer to that is yes. I think that the most effective leaders have really, really strong empathy skills. The good news is that when we talk about emotional intelligence and empathy this is definitely something that we can build. It's a muscle that you can build. If empathy is not something that you're strong at as a leader that's the first step is being aware that that's something that you don't do as effectively and then start to build those skills, those behaviors that allow you to get better at empathizing.

That's just starting by asking people, in terms of your team members, getting their feedback on, "How well do you think that I show up from an empathy standpoint?" The other thing, I am a coach and so a lot of times I work with leaders around this so that they can also get more comfortable with empathy and what that looks like. For some people it's just, it's a little bit more uncomfortable because it's very new to them so just helping them understand what that skill looks like and how they can have more empathy. From an employee and peer perspective, empathy is really about seeing things from somebody else's perspective, not just your own.

If you think about your employees and with your peers you're only going to build stronger relationships and have more trust. They're going to get along with you better when you're not always going in there with trying to understand what things are like for them because you don't know what things are like for them. The more you try to understand things from their perspective the stronger the relationship's going to be, the more effective that all of you are going to be in terms of working together.

The next topic I'd like to talk about is why is it important to create a culture of engagement? Well, when you think about culture and engagement, engagement's really about people coming to work and being excited to be at work, being happy, being motivated, being energized. When you have people who are engaged they're going to come to work and they're going to do their best work. They're going to be highly motivated, they're going to want to go out there and make things happen. If you don't have very high engagements you're going to have people who are not necessarily as connected with what they're doing in their role, they're not as connected with the organization, they're not feeling as much meaning in their work. When an individual is not feeling as much meaning or purpose or connection to the work they're doing and feeling disengaged it has a big impact on their success.

They're not going to be as successful as salespeople when they're going out there and having conversations with potential clients. The potential clients are going to get a feel for that energy. They're not going to be as energized by being with that individual and that salesperson's not going to be as successful. You're not going to perform to the same standard. You're not going to be as successful if you're not engaged. The more you can have individuals working with your organization who are happy, excited, using their natural talents and gifts in the role that they're in so that they're natural salespeople, they're going to thrive and because they're thriving they're also going to help your organization to thrive by bringing on a lot more clients and doing much better at sales.

The last topic I'd like to discuss today is, what are the benefits to a company's bottom line by ensuring that leaders are better equipped and more aware of their team member's strengths, blind spots, values, purpose, and professional goals? Well, I have to tell you that we as human beings are spending a lot of time at work. If we can be doing work that allows us to really use our strengths, our talents, our gifts, we're going to feel so much more fulfilled in the work that we're doing. The other thing is, as individuals we also want to grow. When a leader can talk about, "Hey, this is what you're doing really well and this is how you can build on this," but also tells them, "This is where I see as areas of growth," this is where you can get even stronger so if you look at emotional intelligence.

"You're really strong in these areas but this is where I see a bit of a gap." If they can learn about those gaps and then be getting constant feedback around how they're improving that's going to allow them to really have an opportunity to learn and grow. Then, also connecting their values and purpose to what you're doing as an organization so what are the goals of the organization and what is the mission and the purpose behind what your organization is doing so that they can also feel that meaning in the work they're doing day in, day out.

Also, understanding what the values are of your organization and your culture and making sure that that individual's personal values are connected. When that doesn't happen there tends to be a clash and that individual is not as connected with the work they're doing and with the organization.

Thank you so much for joining me for the CPSA Sales Tips for the Pro Series today, talking about emotional intelligence and leadership. As you can tell, this is a topic that I'm very passionate about.

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