At each IES Women in Sales monthly program, notes from the facilitated discussions are recorded and posted on the IES web site. The topic of the July 2016 IES Women in Sales meeting was Emotional Intelligence. The Question posed was “What is empathetic selling and how important is it to successful selling??

Keywords or Phrases:

  • Attributes
  • Awareness
  • Balance
  • Body Language
  • Cognitive Skills
  • Interdependence
  • Intuition
  • Listening
  • Natural Tendency
  • Patience
  • Reciprocation
  • Relationships
  • Strategic
  • Transactional

Something to think about …

Consider what personal attributes and company processes you bring to your selling approach. Do you tend to sell using more emotional intelligence (EQ) or cognitive intelligence, and is because you have traits that lean toward one more than the other, or is it because you’ve received training? In either case, is your current way of selling working well for you, i.e. helping to meet your sales goal and, maybe, even exceeding it? Or do you need to find a better mix or a balance of the two approaches to obtain the results you seek?

Selling is About …

  1. Knowing that the attributes of a good sales professional vary from person to person and are also influenced by one’s company culture, as well as the product or service to be sold. Attributes tend to be based upon emotional intelligence
    [EI] or cognitive intelligence [CI].  (See definitions and checklists at the end of these notes)
  2. Showing empathy and understanding for the other person’s situation, problem or need and, should it arise, doing so while not taking any differing viewpoints or ‘push back’ personally. It’s important to move past points of disagreement and instead focus on the sales process you can rely upon and finding the solution that can move the conversation to a positive closure.
  3. Finding a balance between selling attributes which are more EI-based and those which are considered more cognitive so that you are able to speak and help people regardless of the way in which they approach the conversation with you.  It is important to be able to recognize the type of prospect or client with whom you are speaking and to adjust the sales approach to best address what you are hearing and seeing in the person’s comments, questions, and body language. To do this effectively, it’s critical to have the ability to be use both EI or CI skills.
  4. Being comfortable with the need to transition between strategic, e.g. tending toward EI, and transactional, e.g. tending toward CI, conversations or presentations depending upon the interactions with and reactions from the other person.
  5. Performing the required research to know as much about the prospect or client prior to speaking with them. This will allow you to prepare and plan for that conversation and, most importantly, know what type of selling approach, i.e. EI or CI, to take. As in all sales situations, gather information and qualify the lead and the need.
  6. Modeling and practicing different types of sales situations to be better equipped to handle prospects and clients who may be more EI or CI, or conversations that shift from one to the other.

Questions to Consider Further

  1. Have you ever been in a situation when you had to mirror the customer in order to ensure that the conversation continued or go further to obtain the sale?
  2. If EI skills are used to understand how to direct the conversation, and if it becomes apparent that it requires more of a CI approach, how do you as an EI-based seller, make the transition? Consider the opposite situation, too.
  3. EI skills are important even when the product or service you are selling is more analytical or data-driven.
  4. What types of attributes will yield the most referrals or repeat customers?

Topics for Further Discussion

  • Reciprocation sales (The role of such sales in a client relationship and future sales.)
    • Reciprocation sales in which you, as the primary seller, will buy the product or service of your prospect or client.
  • Vision reengineering (Moving the prospect or client to think differently, more in line with what you are proposing or selling.)
  • The challenger sale approach

Insights to Remember and “Own”

  • Be aware of your natural attributes and focus on incorporating them into your selling process because they tend to be your greatest strength factors leading to the best results.
  • It is possible to be either a hunter or farmer depending on the time of year or sales cycle, expressed need of the client, demand for the product or service, etc.