It’s been said that “everyone is a salesperson,” but if you’re responsible for hitting quotas and bringing in accounts, you know there’s a difference between sales and sales.
That said, all sales is about relationships and more specifically, a salesperson’s ability to relate to the potential customer in a way that turns him or her into an actual customer. Keeping in mind there may be many reasons why someone decides now is not the time to buy, how can you use your personality to close the deal more often?
A 1961 Harvard Business Review article titled “The Mystique of Super-Salesmanship” proclaimed:
“A very high proportion of those engaged in selling cannot sell ... If American sales efficiency is to be maximized and the appalling waste of money and manpower which exists today is to be minimized, a constructive analysis must be made of what selling really is and how its effectiveness can be enhanced …We must look a good deal further—into the mysteries of personality and psychology—if we want real answers.”
Although written more than 50 years ago, the statement still resonates and is perhaps truer today than ever.
Super-salesmanship starts with the self.
For many, buying is an emotional act. That’s why advertisers can play on a consumer’s desire for financial success, happiness, and good looks to, say, entice her to purchase a car.
And if buying is emotional, then you better believe a salesperson needs a good dose of emotional intelligence to bring an account home.
A salesperson with high levels of emotional intelligence can effectively gauge the emotional state of someone else and manage his or her own emotions in response.
Some of us are born with more EI than others, but the experts agree EI can be taught.
A Psychology Today article offers six ways to increase your EI:
From this we can infer that making the decision to examine and honestly express our emotions brings about increased levels of EI.
In “What Makes a Good Salesman,” David Mayer and Herbert Greenberg present research indicating that good salespeople have two qualities—empathy and ego drive.
Empathy is the ability to understand what someone else is feeling (also closely tied to EI). Mayer and Greenberg describe ego drive as “the need to conquer.” They write:
“Ego drive … makes him [the salesperson] want and need to make the sale in a personal or ego way, not merely for the money to be gained. His feeling must be that he has to make the sale; the customer is there to help him fulfill his personal need. In effect, to the top salesman, the sale—the conquest—provides a powerful means of enhancing his ego. His self-picture improves dramatically by virtue of conquest and diminishes with failure.”
Of course, a salesperson who pursues his or her ego enhancement by running roughshod over the potential customer has missed the point and is failing to display empathy or EI. (And he or she will probably lose the sale OR never make another sale to that particular customer again.)
Some salespeople appear to have an innate ability to sell anyone nearly anything, but that doesn’t mean top salespeople can’t be created into being. However, self-awareness and a desire to excel are crucial prerequisites.
Are YOU ready to gain greater self-awareness that’ll lead to greater sales? Check out next month’s webinar on how to maximize your sales style with Omnia behavioral assessments!