Sales Pro, Know Thyself!

Last Updated Dec 20, 2007 7:27 AM EST

Emotional Intelligence and Self AwarenessI've been writing about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) for the past few days, drawing on the experience of sales psychology expert Rob Scher. One of the keys of EQ for sales pros, according to Scher, is emotional self-awareness. This is the ability of a sales rep to identify and use his or her emotions to build a stronger customer relationship. In a sales situation, emotional self-awareness plays itself out according to a three-step process:
  1. Diagnosis. You consider your own internal processes to identify the precise emotions that you're feeling.
  2. Analysis. Based on your experience with your own emotions and behaviors, you predict how those emotions are likely to affect your sales effort.
  3. Adaptation. You devise ways to overcome or negate negative emotions that might hinder the sale, while simultaneously expanding and strengthening the positive emotions that might help you move the sales forward.
For example, suppose, on the first sales call of the morning, your prospect stood you up. No call; no message; nada.

If this is the kind of situation that really gets under your skin and you aren't self-aware, you might pretend to yourself that you don't care, and then go on your next sales call, only to find that your irritation is bleeding into your second meeting. You're angry, but not self aware enough to know that you need to change your emotional state. The prospect feels uneasy and uncomfortable and wonders if you're angry at her for some reason.

With emotional self-awareness, the second sales call might go quite differently. You might take a break before your second meeting in order to recover your temper. (In other words, you'd change your physiology and focus.) Alternatively, you might, as an icebreaker, tell the second prospect that you're having a tough day.

Regardless of what action you take, with emotional self-awareness, you ensure that your emotions either help to move the sale forward rather than hinder your sales effort.