Emotional Intelligence – the Secret sauce of Sales
Emotional Intelligence – essential both to Lead and to Sell!
Those with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time; this strange statistic was not fully explained until the concept of emotional intelligence became widely known in the mid-90s. This discrepancy severely impacts the widely held belief that intelligence alone is sufficient for attaining one’s goals. Years of studies have established that emotional intelligence is the primary differentiator between top and average performance.
For example, a study conducted on sales professionals found that those with higher emotional intelligence were able to build stronger relationships with clients, resulting in increased sales and commissions. These individuals were able to effectively understand and address the needs and concerns of their clients, leading to higher customer satisfaction and repeat business. Conversely, sales professionals with lower emotional intelligence struggled to connect with clients on an emotional level, resulting in missed opportunities and lower earnings. With the right training and development programs, individuals can improve their emotional intelligence skills,
Emotional intelligence is not a novel concept. Edward Thorndike explored three categories of intelligence about 100 years ago, including social intelligence, which is concerned with a person’s capacity to connect with others. Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer coined the phrase “emotional intelligence” the early 90´s to describe an individual’s capacity to understand and control their emotions, as well as their social abilities.
However, it wasn’t until Daniel Goleman wrote his book Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ in 1995 that the phrase became popular. In the decades afterwards, the concept has evolved from a passing novelty to an everyday word that is now a key factor in many firms’ recruiting operations.
Understanding Emotional Intelligence in a Nutshell
Each of us has this “something” called emotional intelligence, often called EQ. It influences our ability to control our actions, deal with the complexities of social situations, and make good choices for ourselves. This is described by various authors over the years, in countless articles and publications. Best selling author Travis Bradberry explains this well in his book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, (see Forbes Article “Emotional Intelligence: EQ” from 2014 for an introduction” )
The two basic competencies that make up emotional intelligence are “personal competence” and “social competence,” each of which consists of two sub-competencies.
Personal competence is made up of self-awareness and self-management skills. These focus on you individually, rather than on the interactions you may have with other people. Essentially, this is about your ability to become aware of your emotions and to use this awareness to manage your behavior and tendencies.
- Self-Awareness is your ability to sense and understand your own emotions and be aware of them when they happen.
- Self-Management is your ability to use this self-awareness to react to and positively direct your behavior.
Social competence, on the other hand, is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills. Social competence is all about your ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviors, and motives and to use this in order to improve your relationships. Its two components are:
- Social Awareness is about how well you “tune in” to other people’s emotions and understand the social web that helps you understand what is really going on.
- Relationship Management is your ability to use this social awareness in a good way to manage interactions successfully.
Explaining the concepts – What’s the main difference between IQ and EQ and … isn’t that just “Personality”?
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important aspect to consider in sales management. While IQ measures cognitive abilities and personality traits define our individual styles, EQ focuses on our ability to understand and manage our own emotions, as well as empathize with and connect with others. Developing emotional intelligence can greatly enhance a sales manager’s effectiveness in building relationships, resolving conflicts, and motivating their team. However, IQ and emotional intelligence have no connection or interdependence. It’s impossible to predict emotional intelligence based on how smart this person is.
IQ, or just intelligence, is a purely cognitive trait—your ability to learn and understand your physical context and surroundings and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50.
Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a skill that you can learn and improve with practice. Some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, it certainly seems you can develop high emotional intelligence with practice and over time, even if you were not born with it.
Personality is another term that is related to these. It’s the “style” that defines us and is the combination of hard-coded tendencies we have, for example, how introverted or extrovert you are. Similar to IQ, personality traits can’t predict emotional intelligence. The personality doesn’t change over time.
IQ, emotional intelligence, and personality each cover different dimensions of us and help explain what makes us move forward and be motivated.
Is Emotional Intelligence Linked to Performance?
How influential is emotional intelligence for your own professional success? Travis Bradberry´s firm, TalentSmart, tested emotional intelligence as compared to other workplace skills and discovered that emotional intelligence is by far the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.
Specifically, in Sales, emotional intelligence is even more strongly linked to performance. Individuals with higher levels of emotional intelligence are often more successful in their sales performance, as they are able to effectively manage relationships, navigate difficult situations, and adapt to changing environments. By understanding and effectively utilizing their emotions, individuals with high emotional intelligence can connect with clients on a deeper level and build strong rapport, ultimately leading to increased sales success.
Your emotional intelligence is the base for a whole system of important skills you possess and impacts pretty much everything you say and do. This makes Emotional intelligence the single biggest factor for performance in your job and the strongest motivator for leaders to develop personal excellence.
In their study, TalentSmart found that 90% of top performers have high EQ, while looking at the bottom performers, only about 20% of them do. You can be a top performer even if you are not so strong on emotional intelligence, but you have much less chance of succeeding.
Consequently, people with high EQ make more money—and according to the study, an average of $29,000 more per year than people with low emotional intelligence (2014). The correlation between emotional intelligence and earnings is in fact so strong that we can see that for every point that EQ increases, this adds another $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, and in every region of the world.
Good news! – Emotional Intelligence Can Be Developed.
Emotional intelligence originates physically in the two-way dialogue between your emotional and logical “brains.” Emotional Intelligence starts in the lower brain, close to the spinal cord. This is where your basic sensations arrive, making their way to the front of your brain so you can process the information logically. But still, they must first pass through the limbic system, the seat of emotional skills. So, our initial response to situations is an emotional one rather than a logical one. Connecting your head’s logical and emotional processing systems is crucial for displaying emotional intelligence.
Neuroscientists refer to the brain’s ability to change as “plasticity.” As you learn new skills, your brain forms new connections. The transformation is gradual, as your brain cells form new connections to help improve the effectiveness of newly acquired skills.This plasticity naturally applies to emotional intelligence. By actively practicing and developing emotional intelligence, we can strengthen the connections between our rational and emotional centers, allowing for more effective communication and better overall emotional well-being.
The billions of tiny neurons that connect your brain’s intellectual and emotional centers can branch off into tiny “fingers” (similar to the branches of a tree) to connect with neighboring cells, and this process can be enhanced using techniques to improve emotional intelligence. There can be thousands of connections made for every single brain cell. This exponential growth makes it simpler to put this new behavior into practice in the future.
With consistent practice, individuals can cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness and develop stronger relationships with others, ultimately enhancing their overall emotional intelligence.