When I first started my business, I was anxious about finding new clients. Passion and enthusiasm about what I wanted to offer combined with the jitters of a new business owner led me to make some mistakes.
As I look back on my early days in my business, I did a couple of things, that if I could have a “Do Over” button I would do differently.
First, I started a group program with just a few people. Had I had used more persistence and impulse control*, I would have looked for more people to join. Because I was anxious to get started, I started the course with just a few people.
Secondly, in my haste to start getting clients in the door, I took on some clients that didn’t want to do anything differently and it was very frustrating. I didn’t use my reality testing* skills to evaluate and assess whether they were good fit for what I offered. My emotions were driving me to get clients at all costs.
Your sales team can fall into some of the same traps and leave money on the table. If they are bringing in clients that aren’t a good fit for your company, it is at the expense of the right clients. Furthermore clients that aren’t a good fit can generate losses in productivity and profit.
Everyone in sales wants to make their quota and ideally exceed it. As a sales manager, part of creating a winning sales team is to ensure that they have balanced usage of emotional intelligence skills.
There are three skills that are extremely useful in negotiating contracts with new clients, reality testing, impulse control and assertiveness.
- Reality Testing * One the reasons people in sales cause stress in the organization is that they can be too willing to make promises to the client in order to get the deal, without checking with the people who deliver to make sure they are making realistic promises. This can cause major stress within the organization and damage the relationship with your client.
When I was in national account sales for a marketing firm, I had to learn to consult with the people who were doing the work by checking their schedule and commitments before I made final commitments to the client. And the good news is, we didn’t lose a single client because I took the extra time to find out facts and information that would help our team deliver the best product and service to our clients.
- Impulse Control* Salespeople love to win and that makes them so valuable to an organization. Occasionally though, the desire to win creates such a strong desire to win that they act too quickly, close the deal too soon and in the process, leave money on the table. A mature salesperson is in tune with the client’s needs and her own ego, which results in the patience to negotiate the best deal for both companies. Impulse control is simply the ability to resist or delay an impulse.
We don’t want to over use impulse control though. A savvy salesperson will know when what she is offering is a match for what the client wants and close the deal then.
- Assertiveness* There is a fine line you don’t want your sales team to cross. That is the line between being assertive and being aggressive. Sales managers often want their teams to be aggressive. What they really want is for them to be assertive.
An assertive* sales consultant will ask for the deal appropriately and in the right timing, knowing when to call, when to move the deal forward. Also, he will make things happen in a way that builds relationships.
An aggressive sales consultant can alienate potential customers. Aggressive characteristics are being pushy, focusing on getting the deal before building the relationship, telling the client what they need and not listening.
A woman who is overly aggressive owns a boutique where I’ve shopped a few times. She is alienating me as a customer because she doesn’t listen to what I need and is very pushy. I don’t happen to wear black yet this person consistently shows me black clothes. When I remind her of this she says, “I’m just trying to be helpful.” She is too aggressive and she is not doing much to build a relationship with me so that I want to come back.
Reality testing, impulse control and assertiveness are three (out of 15) important emotional intelligence skills needed to be successful in sales.
If you are a sales manager and desire improved team performance and stronger client relationships, I encourage you to contact me to learn how you can coach your team in developing their emotional intelligence skills. I am certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Survey and MHS EQ-i 2.0 360 Emotional Intelligence Survey, as well as the MHS EQ-i Emotional Intelligence Leadership Assessment.
To learn more about emotional intelligence for your sales team, schedule a complimentary consultation with me.
* Impulse control, reality testing and assertiveness are three out of fifteen skills in the MHS EQ-I 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment.