Emotional Intelligence (EI): A Job Requirement?

Emotional Intelligence

For decades the term IQ has been bandied about as a prerequisite for career and life success. You either have a high IQ which makes you an achiever, or you don’t and get by perfectly well in life as an average employee. However the newest buzz word, Emotional Intelligence (EI), is something we can all get on board with because as humans we each possess multiple emotions and these emotions can be controlled, moulded and channelled to help us evolve into more productive professionals at the workplace.

So what by definition is Emotional Intelligence? It’s the ability to identify and control your own emotions and the emotions of others through skilled manipulation of emotional awareness. This ability to harness and consequently manage emotions is what can make a powerful leader (think politician). Obviously not every profession demands a high level of people skills or a deep understanding of human behaviour. But where it is required, and where it becomes catalyst for career advancement, a mastery of emotional intelligence can contribute to a rapid climb up the corporate ladder, culminating in a successful and lucrative career.

The theory of EI was proposed in 1990 by Peter Salovey (now Provost of Yale University) and John D Mayer, Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire. According to Mayer, “People with high EI, we believed, could solve a variety of emotion-related problems accurately and quickly. High EI people, for example, can accurately perceive emotions in faces. Such individuals also know how to use emotional episodes in their lives to promote specific types of thinking. They know, for example, that sadness promotes analytical thought and so they may prefer to analyze things when they are in a sad mood (given the choice). High EI people also understand the meanings that emotions convey: They know that angry people can be dangerous, that happiness means that someone wants to join with others, and that some sad people may prefer to be alone.”

Emotional intelligence skills are typically divided into four categories: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social awareness and Relationship management. These skills when mastered and used in conjunction with conflict resolution tools can prove a potent armoury for the modern day corporate warrior.

“Naturally, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of emotional intelligence. The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to emotional intelligence.”

FedEx Express, the world largest cargo airline with over 290,000 employees and one of Fortune’s top 20 “Most Admired” companies for a decade, has implemented EI assessment and development into a six-month on-boarding process for new managers with remarkable results. “The program is yielding an 8-11% increase in core leadership competencies, with over half the participants experiencing very large (10-50%) improvements in certain key emotional intelligence skills and leadership outcomes:  72% of the program participants experience very large increases in decision making; 60% in Quality of Life, and 58% show major improvements in Influence.”

Most companies still tend to focus their hiring process and consequent training on hard skills. Typically little attention has been placed on soft skill competencies such as stress/conflict management, assertiveness, empathy, and social aptitude. In the real world these are vital skills that build strong competency in employees and management and are reflected in a company’s success.

Conflict and stress are ever present in our lives and we learn to deal with the unpleasant and negative side effects the best way we can. Now with the availability of EI training courses the good news is that you can learn how to deal with difficult people, how not to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, when to take a step back, how to listen and communicate with empathy and a ton of other traits you never thought you could acquire. With some guidance and practice we can reprogram ourselves to don many facial masks, with accompanying body language and tone of voice, as the situation requires.

On Sunday 26th June ISM will be conducting a Summer Short Course titled “Self-Smart, People Smart – An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence”. This is an opportunity to explore and gain insight into your own level of emotional intelligence amidst a selected group of 18 participants. Contact ISM for more details.

 

For years, BANT (Budget – Authority – Need – Time) has been a sales qualification framework for lead generation, which is now a mantra to any salesperson. However, clients are much more informed than ever before.

Therefore, understanding and factoring different buyer types is quite significant to the sales process. The Eisenberg Buyer Modality, by Bryan Eisenberg, gives an insight to how buyers approach purchase decisions and their behavioural habits during a purchase.

The Buying Modalities

The Eisenburg Modalities

Source: The Eisenberg Buyer Modality

If the buyer remains true to their modality, salespeople have a competitive edge to customize their sales approach to better connect and face objections effectively.

However, the frustration comes about when you hear objections which are typical knee-jerk reactions from busy people who don’t yet see the value in working with you. Here are five of the most common sales objections many teams encounter and a few means to get around them:

  1. Price

‘Your services cost too much. I can get the same service from someone cheaper.’

Perhaps the ‘mother’ of all sales objections, the price-based excuse for avoidance is one that all sales persons—from rank amateurs to gurus—face on a frequent basis. More often than not, denizens of the commercial landscape are embroiled in budgetary warfare with a spectrum of internal and external stakeholders that render bottom-line concerns the biggest impediment for successful lead conversion. In this respect, the sales person is required to confidently pace the prospective client through the monetary constraints facing each sale, whilst ensuring all aspects of cost are justified with factual value statements.

In some cases, the price of your product or service may tread beyond standard prices in the market, and when it does, it is imperative that valid reasons behind such variations are brought to the fore. More often than not, premium pricing schemes are accompanied by a unique selling proposition that a client would not be able to substitute from any other provider (and something which a potential competitor would not readily be able to emulate). In addition, create emphasis on how much he or she could save and the value for money factor. It is pivotal that you as a sales person understand the overall prescription of the product or service that you intend on selling, whilst educating yourself on the hues and contours that render you a true ambassador of your sale.

  1. Fear of Change

‘I don’t want to change the way I have been doing things for 15 years. Too much can go wrong. ‘

Change! The bane of the comfortable-as-is and boon for the enterprising! The inadvertent harbinger of success or failure in spite of preparation and forethought! To change is to question the status quo and take decisive measures to alter the way things are and the way things are done. For these reasons—and many others—change is usually perceived as a daunting endeavor that is enshrouded by uncertainty and pivoted out of the usual line-of-sight.

The unwillingness to change is a frequent reason fronting most instances of indifference given to opportunities ‘to change’ and thereby, to improve, the existing state of affairs. If you intend on being a trailblazing salesperson, you must be able to drill through the thick armor of uncertainty, or doubt, of fear, that constricts the decision-making of potential clients.

Make it less fearful for clients by demonstrating past examples of change; show how potential customers have adapted to those changes for the better; advocate progress.  Remember, client testimonials are a great way to highlight the capability of your proposition.

  1. Trust

‘Seems like you know what you are doing, but how do I know you really have the necessary experience to do this.’

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships”, quotes Stephen Covey — a veteran businessman, educator, and keynote speaker.

Trust takes times to build and as such should be nurtured with equal parts of honesty, transparency, and consistency in approach. Engage your prospect with a touch of personalization, do not withhold any information, and be forthcoming to share resources that strengthen your pitch (i.e. case studies and customer references). Such actions will help to take away some of the uncertainty and build client confidence and a good rapport.

  1. Timing

‘It’s too much for me to take on right now. I’m too busy – call me again in 6 months.’

A familiar sales objection and a common safety net that prevents a full-on leap into action by a prospect, wrong timing is an excuse that has the potential of knocking any deal out of momentum. If lack of time is cited as an issue by the prospect, chances are it will still be an issue in the ensuing quarter, six-month period, or year. Whilst it is imperative that you value and respect your clients’ busy schedule and commitments, there are a few tidbits of counter-strategies that can prove to be useful in swaying their interest to your benefit.

One of the most time-tested methods is to politely request a very brief meeting; it may be through a Skype-call, a phone call, or a visit. It is always prudent to maintain sales literature at your disposal that you can share with the prospect, and always ensure that it is personalized to their cause. A little gesture of personalization on your part will do wonders in convincing the most dissident of clients. Do be assertive and take initiative, but with ample respect. Start by listing all of the benefits in working with you and how easy it is to get started. Make the decision to hire you a ‘no brainer’ or simply an easy one and you will remove this objection.

  1. Authority

‘I have to speak to my boss about this before deciding.’

Authority comes into play when a third party is involved in the decision-making process. In such a situation, the power paradigm is shifted away from your prospect and encompasses the views of a wider audience (e.g. a boss, family member or mentor). In response to this, you would be best served to find out the needs, concerns, and fears of the collective decision makers and design a compelling offering that instigates a ‘yes’.

Sales Generation Funnel

The sales lead generation funnel

Source: Lead Generation Model

Reasons to Object

To soften the effect (objection) of an impact from a prospective client on your sales approach, there are ways to block that punch and still make the sale.

The responses to the common objections will give you a way to pierce through the reactions. The key is to understand what is stopping your prospective client from making a decision in your favour. Therefore, as a salesperson it is imperative to analyze and discover some of the underlying reasons:

  • Addressing the wrong buyer modality. This occurs when the salesperson has a different temperament and sells to the wrong buyer modality. For an example, instead of approaching a ‘Spontaneous Buyer Modality’ with a time-sensitive offer, the salesperson uses client testimonials and statistics to make the sale.
  • BANT related problem. This could be due to more important current issues that take precedence over your solution, budget allocation is over the limit, communication barrier with the real decision maker etc.
  • The customer truly isn’t interested. Try to determine what your potential client is really concerned about. Get as clear as you can on the reason to object or indecisiveness. But, always remember not to push past the prospect’s point of comfort because there comes a certain point where ‘no’ means ‘NO’.

To Recovery

Robert Clay — founder of Marketing Wizdom — reports that 92% of salespeople give up after four rejections and 44% give up after the first ‘no’. This is a very powerful statistic for any sales team to improve on effective sales management and performance. If you are persistent salesperson, this is good news on a bad day. Here’s why:

  • Most of the competition is out of the game
  • Helps to understand and learn from sales objections
  • Equip with professional selling skills
  • Opportunity for coaching sessions to run through few mock calls
  • Provide training to handle objections and solidify their messaging

Once you understand the buyer modalities, it will be easier to draw an accurate picture of how buyers are activated. The value addition lies in behavioural patterns of the buyer, not simply in character traits. The better you can anticipate your prospect’s objectives, the better you respond to sales objections and tailor-make your approach for lead generation.

Addressing common sales objections will help you to either close the deal or disqualify the lead from being a sure fit. Although you find it loathing to remove prospects and shrink your sales pipeline, on a positive note you are salvaging valuable time—which can be invested in more amiable sources. It is far better to spend time on a handful of your best prospects than spreading yourself thin across dozens of leads.

Whether you are simply beginning to put together your business plan, or have already started out, building a successful company requires a lot more than a great idea or product.

The world’s most successful businesses are built by design, not from a fluke. There is a strong methodology to building a successful company. By sticking to the method it is possible to create a business that will either last a lifetime for its founders, or become attractive enough to be sold for a good profit.

This week ISM Dubai spoke to Matthew Barnett, co-founder of Vimily and asked him for a success tip. Vimily is a creative video platform to help you capture stories of your family. Here’s what he had to say.

Celebrate your successes

“Growing a start-up business is a roller-coaster ride to say the least, raising funds, missing deadlines, getting your first users…losing your first users…

With this occurring on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget to celebrate your success’s, but this is something you should always do, no matter how small – and always include the team.

By recognising these, and rewarding the team, you will inspire positivity, build a strong culture, and motivate far more than cash incentives ever can.  This celebration will lead to greater productivity and energy by all involved, which will ultimately enable you, as a team, to overcome any of the lows the start-up cycle may throw at you.”


Here are a few more tips to help you build a successful business in Dubai or elsewhere.

Strong culture

When building a company the ethos of your business is going to be the driving force behind every decision your employees make. Creating a strong culture is about making sure that every aspect of the business is covered. From customer service, to accountancy practices, you need to convey your over arching principles to everyone in your team.

Have a vision

Inspiring your team is one of the most important jobs of a CEO. If you have a passion for what you are doing, your staff will feel it too. Without passion, employees can feel they are just doing a job everyday, not creating a meaningful product or service. Yet, with a little inspiration from the top they will give their all to get the job done, and get it done well.

Hire with diligence

Surround yourself with the best people you can. Not just the best on the paper though. Create a rigorous hiring system to weed out those who look good on their resume, but lack that internal passion to help your company succeed.

Rectify mistakes quickly

As much as you need to hire carefully, if you do make a mistake hiring someone, fix it straight away. Letting someone work in your business that does not fit into the culture you have created, or doesn’t feel the passion for the product, is detrimental to your business.

Also, if you have feedback that a product isn’t right for the market, don’t be afraid to change it. No everyone has the vision of Steve Jobs who made products that nobody thought the market needed. Often using feedback effectively means changing tack. This is particularly applicable in the tech industry where the industry changes so quickly.

Watch the budget

You may have some nice big start up capital, but that doesn’t mean you can blow it on dining out at the best restaurants or buying designer furniture for your office. Keep a tight reign on the budget to ensure if you need it, the money is still there to help you out of a hole.

Have a great board of advisors

Great advice is important to a building a successful business. Identify who you know, or want to know, with the skills and experience to advise you on how to get from being a small business, to a big, successful one. Advisors are generally specialists who can help you reach new markets or consolidate your presence in your current market.

Listen to your customers

This might seem obvious, but some companies forget whom they are actually working for. Get out and meet with your main customers and listen to what they have to say. It can mean the difference between creating a product your customers will or won’t buy. No matter how hard you and your team have been working on something, if there is no appetite for it, what is the point?

By discussing what is needed in your marketplace you will not only build better products, you’ll be building better relationships with your customers. Those are the relationships that lead to more business for you and for them.

Whether you are a small start-up or a new company with huge investment, the challenges to carving your niche in the marketplace are same.  Building a successful company is a hard slog, but laying excellent groundwork at the outset will increase the likelihood of success.

Matthew has also provided a link to Vimily’s free iPhone App for our readers.