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How to use emotional intelligence for Sales leaders

How to use emotional intelligence for Sales leaders 

Top salespeople get promoted to a leadership position, only to discover the skills needed to develop and lead a sales team are very different from those of a seller – especially in difficult times. 

Therefore, it’s important to learn how to incorporate emotional intelligence skills into your sales leadership processes. 

Doing so will help improve hiring processes, uncover the reasons your sales team doesn’t consistently execute the right skills and behaviours, improve your ability to coach and train salespeople, build your team’s resiliency, and create a more embracing culture.

Using emotional intelligence for better outcomes

As mentioned above, emotional intelligence has the ability to upturn team performance and processes significantly. Using accountability, empathy, resilience, and an aptitude for learning helps to understand people better and get more out of your team.

Here is a deeper dive into five ways greater emotional intelligence can benefit Sales leaders:

  1. Hiring the right people. Stop hiring whiners and non-coachable salespeople. Start hiring resilient, coachable salespeople that can sell in any environment. 
  2. Uncover the invisible reasons your sales team doesn’t consistently execute the right selling skills and behaviours.
  3. Improve your ability to train and coach your salespeople to the “next level.” 
  4. Build your sales team’s resiliency muscles. Create sales teams that bounce back quickly from adversity and failure. 
  5. Create a sales culture that embraces learning and change rather than fear. 

The key skills required for emotional intelligence

Accountability is king. Both leaders and their teams must be accountable for their own responsibilities. Sales leaders need to make sure to encourage their team to be proactive in their training and prospecting, and then hold them accountable to meet the highest standards.

The same goes for you. You must ensure that you are holding yourself accountable. Your job is not only to train and do role-plays with your team, but to create the playbook by which the team will follow.

While accountability is vitally important, aptitude for learning, resilience and empathy are not just important to hire for, but also key characteristics to build in your team. If a salesperson has a self-limiting belief, it can negatively impact their performance, so it’s significant to look out and recognise these in your meetings.  

  • Self-limiting beliefs can be self-depreciative: “I am not worthy of a CEOs time and feel like a nuisance when cold calling.” 
  • They can also be from self-grandeur: “There’s nothing more for me to learn. I’m the best salesperson here.” 

Both are unhealthy, and the result can lead to specific actions or inactions. For example, rolling over on objections or opening the door for prospects on cold calls. 

Understanding is vital for emotional intelligence

The key to using emotional intelligence is understanding: What are the team’s biggest fears? What do they believe in? What motivates them? What burdens them? Overcoming these self-limiting beliefs requires consistency, so it’s essential to keep them building good behaviours and being outside their comfort zone. 

Think about things from their perspective – are you telling yourself that their behaviours are due to reasons you have assumed, or have you asked them? Are their numbers low because they’re lazy, or are they unmotivated? Are they struggling to book demos because they’re unorganised, or are they being stretched too thin with other responsibilities? 

Avoid mistakes like “Heli-Skiing”, which suggests that in our desire to get our team masterful, we expect immediate results after our initial training sessions. After two to three repetitions of a particular exercise, we get results and then forget about reinforcing them to develop a habit. 

Habits are usually established after three weeks of consistency. Therefore, it’s important to introduce repetition even after dealing with the behaviour or teaching something new.

Using greater emotional intelligence won’t just get you closer to your team, it’ll help you empower them and unlock the potential within them, as well as avoid bad hires that simply don’t fit the characteristics.

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