One of the key reasons why so many sales people don’t achieve expected results isn’t the lack of “hard sales skills” or insufficient training, but a poor focus on the importance of “soft skills”. Unfortunately, most sales trainings still overlook the growing need for educating sales people to cultivate emotional intelligence skills that are so essential in building relationships with prospects or customers.
Old sales techniques don’t work anymore. Nowadays, prospects learn about companies/products long before the actual meeting takes place. As a result, sales person has to be prepared to answer the most pressing questions that prospects may ask. Moreover, just like not all workers are the right fit for a certain position or company the same holds true for prospects – not all prospects are worth your time and efforts. Sales people with high level of emotional intelligence are much better prepared to face reality, because they are good at managing their emotions, they respond better in tough sales situations and perform well during sales meeting thanks to their ability to listen well to what customers say and genuinely connect with customers on emotional level.
In her book Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success: Connect with Customers and Get Results Colleen Stanley underscores, “Too many sales people focus only on improving their “hard” skills when, in fact, something far different than just poor selling techniques are getting in their way.” Colleen didn't come to such conclusion all of a sudden. She writes that “this epiphany came after observing hundreds of role-playing scenarios during sales training in which salespeople flawlessly executed hard sales skills. They set up the meeting agenda properly, asked effective questions, and clearly established the next steps required to ultimately make a sale.” But, as she explains it further in the book, in pressing situations they struggle to follow techniques they have been taught. “Sometimes when these same sales people ended up in front of an “Attila the Hun” prospect, they moved into a “product dump”, offering solutions too quickly, even though he or she knew that such behavior leads to a price-driven sale rather than a value-added, consultative sales conversation. Or the opposite behavior occurred: the salesperson simply shut down, unable to think of anything to say, hoping and praying the meeting would end quickly.”
Colleen Stanley calls this phenomenon a “knowing-and-doing gap”. In her book she illustrates how emotional intelligence skills (see infographic) can help sales people to close “knowing-and-doing gap”, provides real life examples of the profound impact of “soft skills” on sales career and shares insightful techniques how to develop those skills. Colleen names them game changers and emphasizes that “soft skills produce hard sales results”.
Written by Natalie Myhalnytska