You’ve met this person. They are brilliant. Their ideas creative. And—no one wants to work, interact or ‘hang’ with them. This high IQ person doesn’t show empathy when a colleague shares a vulnerable story or concern. He is aggressive rather than assertive. She looks and sounds arrogant, even if she’s not. Lots of brains and little ability to connect and build relationships with others.
Top business schools such as Notre Dame, Yale, Dartmouth and Sloan business schools recognize that IQ is important. For many years IQ was the ticket into such schools. However, these business schools have recently started testing for emotional intelligence to identify the business stars of the future.
Progressive sales organizations are taking a page out of top business schools playbook and testing for emotional intelligence skills in order to identify their future sales stars. They recognize that reading, relating and understanding customers accelerates trust, sales and retained business.
So what’s your team’s Sales EQ? Here are three emotional intelligence skills to look for in your next hire.
#1: Assertiveness. In very simple terms, assertiveness is the ability to state what you need nicely, without become aggressive.
Assertive salespeople are better at executing critical steps of the sales process such as getting a prospects budget before writing a proposal. Prospects often say, “I am not sure of my budget—just put something together.”
The non-assertive salesperson goes along to get along and politely follows the prospects directions. He spends hours putting together a proposal only to hear the prospect say, “Hmmm…this is more than I anticipated. Let me think it over.” Chock up another practice proposal to lack of assertiveness.
Assertive salespeople state what they need to create win-win selling scenarios. And a win-win is working with prospects that are willing and able to invest in your services.
#2: Empathy is the ability to understand what others are thinking or feeling. Empathetic salespeople are good at stepping into their prospects shoes and seeing the world from their perspective.
Empathy is a gathering skill so empathetic salespeople ask more questions and are fully present during a meeting. They note a shift in a prospects body language or a change in tonality. As a result, they adapt and change their questions and approach during a sales meeting. For example, an empathetic salesperson might say, “Jill, if I were you, I would be feeling very overwhelmed with the idea of bringing on a new vendor—even if we can make improvements. Should we talk about that?”
Good salespeople step out of their quota focused, self-focused shoes and step into their prospects shoes. The result is a prospect that feels heard and understood, two basic human needs.
#3. Self-regard is the ability to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. It is confidence without arrogance.
Lack of self-confidence is often the root cause for salespeople not contacting prospects in the C-suite. Sales managers often misdiagnose this performance issue. They focus only on improving their team’s hard selling skills. Sales training sessions are held on how to identify and contact key buying influences within an organization. Here’s a tip: your sales team knows who to call on. They lack the confidence to meet with executives.
Salespeople spend more time worrying about what could happen during a sales call than taking steps to actually make an appointment. As a result, they stay in the land of comfort and schedule meetings with safe, non-decision makers. They are busy but not productive.
Confident salespeople recognize their value and truly believe their expertise can improve their prospect or customers current situation. They call high and they call often enjoying sales pipelines full of prospects that write big checks.
Top business schools recognize that successful people have high IQ’s and equally high ‘EQ.’ Follow their lead and screen your new hires for both soft skills and hard selling skills. Avoid the mistake of hiring the smartest guy in the room—-that no one likes.