Four Principles of Emotionally Intelligent Sales Conversations
When Julie and I got serious about buying a new car a few years ago, we decided to narrow our choices down to two and committed a day to go “check them out.” Upon arriving at the first dealership, we parked and stood in the lot waiting for a sales person to greet us. At the time, I didn’t realize we were standing next to an SUV. As soon as the sales person greeted us, he immediately started pitching the “amazing” new features and benefits of the SUV we were standing next to.
You guessed it, we weren’t interested in the SUV, we were interested in a sedan. This poor guy was nearly in a full-sweat folding down seats, running around opening the hatch, cranking the sound system, etc. “Excuse me, we already have an SUV. My wife and I are here today to look at a sedan,” I said.
Before I beat this good-hearted, hard working salesman any further, let me make a true confession, I’ve been that guy from time-to-time. I use to pitch things right off the bat before I understood the importance of a genuine, meaningful conversation.
Here are four principles of emotionally intelligent sales conversations:
1. People respond to warm, like-able people
I experiment every time I am on a plane. I’ve noticed few people greet one another on airplanes so I’ve made it my mission to always greet the person in the seat next to me with a smile. I find 9 out of 10 times, they will smile back. Even on my “discovery calls” with potential coaching clients or “pre-event calls” with my speaking clients, I try to always start the conversation with warmth and likability. That emotional transfer builds trust.
2. People connect to stories of relevance
It is true:, people connect more quickly through stories. Encourage people to share stories about their team, their company’s culture, and any challenges they are facing. We crave to be understood and feel valued.
When you listen attentively, you encourage stakeholders to expand to their real problems and emotions under the surface. Inside the stakeholders story is the “actionable intel” you need to build a case to partner with them to solve their unique challenges.
3. Create a natural rhythm of conversation and questions
Most sales professionals want to take control of the conversation and drive the conversation to their desired outcome. Try turning that paradigm by creating a rhythm of conversation based on their true needs, wants, and desires. Your prospect or customer will feel more connected and valued.
4. Make it a goal to connect
The more you truly listen, the more you connect. Resistance and natural guards will come down as each conversation continues. There’s an “art and science” to sales and leadership. Emotional intelligence is the art; it is that invisible connection that creates trusting partnerships and success.
Here’s to great conversations ahead!
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About the Author
Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.
A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.