Q: Do you plan to write about sales, a methodology? There are lots of books on the topic but none with your perspective. What does an emotionally intelligent sales person look like?
A: Effectiveness at sales certainly reflect emotional intelligence strengths in empathy (especially understanding your customer’s needs), relationship-building, and influence. I’ve described this in my book Working With Emotional Intelligence, and go into those EI competencies in my new book, Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence. When it comes to sales the difference in types of empathy matter. Cognitive empathy lets us understand how a person thinks, and so lets us talk in ways they understand – but this can become manipulation, especially in high-pressure sales tactics. While this may make a sale, it loses the customer.
The top sales people, though, apply a different approach: empathic concern, where you sense and care about the person’s needs. Rather than persuade someone to buy the wrong thing, these sales stars make sure they match the customer’s needs to what they offer – and may even send them elsewhere if need be. This builds a lasting relationship of trust – and a customer who returns again and again.