Tap Emotions to Inspire Sales Success and Results

Dr. Purushothaman
January 13, 2014

"HE WHO KNOWS others is learned. He who knows himself is wise". A phrase from Lao Tse, the sixth-century Chinese philosopher.
Successful sales leaders through the ages have professed that identifying and understanding one's own personal strengths and weaknesses is the first step on the path toward personal and professional performance.
Contemporary UCLA research indicates that 93 percent of success comes from trust, integrity, authenticity, honesty, creativity, presence and resilience. These are the non-intellectual attributes that are key to an effective emotional intelligence (EI) - the ability to relate to, communicate with, and motivate others. Conversely, low EI and its associated weaknesses sabotage leadership efforts.
Sales leaders with high EI create an emotional climate that fosters creative innovations, all-out performance and loyal employees. They reduce frustration and better achieve desired results by understanding not only their unique motivators, but also their employees' motivators.
EI is an important component of the assessment process used in understanding yourself and leveraging your leadership assets.
Inspire to retain
One of the biggest challenges that sales leaders have in light of the shrinking workforce is retaining top performers. The ability to inspire others - especially Gen X and Yers - to do their best work and to stay loyal when other jobs beckon requires exceptional EI. In fact, in this bleak hiring environment, leaders can't afford to be less than excellent. And according to Daniel Goleman in "Primal Intelligence: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence," 85 percent to 95 percent of the difference between a good and excellent leader is due to emotional intelligence.
Leadership is challenging regardless of the industry or profession. Harris Interactive recent poll of 23,000 employees found:
* Only 20 percent were enthusiastic about their team and company's goals.
* Only 50 percent were satisfied with the work they accomplished during the week.
* Only 15 percent said they worked in a high-trust environment.
* Only 17 percent felt their organizations foster open communication that respects differing opinions and results in new and better ideas.
Sales leaders who blame their lack of success on the people they manage do not accept responsibility for effective management. For instance, a sales manager with a strong engineering background was charged with leading the growth initiative for an engineering firm. He specifically stated that leadership and management topics were off-limits for discussion. He negated the value of his EI. It's not surprising that new-business development efforts languished, and three months later he was fired.
Asking why?
Think of a leader you know who inspires performance and loyalty in his or her employees. What's their secret? Why do employees stay with the company despite offers of more money by other companies? Why do they go the extra mile to improve their skills and performance?
Although business acumen and technical competency create the framework for successful sales leadership, the authors of "Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence," offer this explanation:
* When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision or powerful ideas. But, the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through emotions.
* Objectives, strategies, and tactics can be brilliant. However, if a leader doesn't engage the appropriate emotional intelligence, the initiative is more likely to fail. If leaders fail in this primal task of driving emotions in the right direction, nothing they do will work as well as it could or should?
Getting accurate data
While some people are born with high EI, others have to work to attain it. They need to look deep within themselves to learn how to inspire, motivate and retain their employees. I've worked with sales leaders who expand their leadership influence as they enhance their personal capacity.
Objective assessments provide accurate data for helping sales leaders learn how to leverage their strengths and make decisions about how to ensure their weaknesses don't negatively impact them and their performance. They measure the various dimensions of EI and create clarity for both personal and professional growth.
Tools to assess
1. Leadership and competencies: This type of assessment evaluates and quantifies three dimensions of thought about a person's ability to do things related to people, tasks and systems. The resulting picture depicts leadership capacities, such as accountability for others, ability to develop others, emotional control, and other issues related to emotional intelligence that are imperative to effective leadership and driving results. An individual's talents and personal skills are a fundamental part of who they are.
2. Leadership and behavioral style: How you communicate with your employees. The DISC - Dominance (D), Inducement (I), Steadiness (S) and Compliance (C) - helps analyze how we act, without gauging intelligence, personality, values, beliefs, skills, knowledge or education. It focuses on how different individuals, including business leaders, approach and tackle problems, people and the pace of business.
Wake-up call
Susan was a "High D" sales leader - focused, direct, aggressive and oriented to the bottom line. Her employee, Ron, embraced Steadiness as a way to get to know clients and connect on an emotional level before discussing uncomfortable financial issues. Tired of Susan's business-only, bottom-line orientation, Ron submitted his resignation. Of course, a resignation from the largest revenue producer was Susan's wake-up call. She realized that in order to retain Ron, she'd have to alter her communication style and build a better relationship with Ron.
3. Leadership and workplace motivators: Why you do what you do. A person's motivation is based on internal, often unconscious, values. This is one of the reasons why we are surprised by someone's behavior. Edward Spranger, a noted philosopher and psychologist, conducted one of the earliest modern studies on values and identified six specific attitudes prevailing across the world: Theoretical, Utilitarian, Aesthetic, Social, Leadership and Traditional. These values are the basis for a whole range of assessment tools used in multiple industries and across numerous job functions.
By understanding our motivators and the motivators of each team member, we create alignment and clearer communication for reaching goals faster.
Sales leaders who invest the time and energy to work through this process will create stronger companies. They leverage their leadership talents, skills, behaviors and motivators to create an emotional climate that fosters creative problem-solving and quantum-leap performance.

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