You may be thinking – Come on, I’m busy! I’m out there hustling to bring in business, I’ve got financial plans to develop for my clients, compliance and regulatory issues to deal with, servicing requests, and on and on. Who has time for a vague, squishy topic like EI?
Fair points! Here’s the business argument for dedicating some time to this:
It has been proven that:
- People with high EQs are 10 times more productive than those with low EQs:90% of top performers are high in EQ, and a mere one-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your annual salary.
- 70% of us do not handle conflict or stress effectively, and just 36% understand emotions as they happen. The greatest challenges are at work, where just 15% feel respected and valued by their employers.
As I’ve laid out in the earlier articles in this series, Emotional Intelligence breaks down into four skillsets (see linked articles):
Increased Self-Awareness gets you:
Confidence and Equilibrium – you are more aware of situations and people that tend to trigger you, which makes you much less susceptible to being bumped off your game.
Resilience – because you’re more aware of your emotional state and how to manage and improve it, you bounce back more quickly after set-backs.
Increased Self-Management gets you:
Respect – self-management is a leadership skill. People who are aware of their emotional pitfalls and manage themselves well in times of stress earn the respect and appreciation of everyone in their orbit. This skillset leads to opportunities and promotions, and the lack thereof is a career limiter.
Productivity – when we are ruled by our emotions, we’re at the mercy of the ‘right mood’ in order to perform well. This is obviously limiting! Even incremental improvements in self-management lead directly to increased productivity.
Money – Beyond all the practical hurdles, being a sales professional is emotionally challenging. A meeting goes well, we are elated. A meeting goes poorly, we are down. These peaks and valleys in our emotional state can lead to burn-out. Our sales activity drops, the revenue follows. Conversely, any improvement in our ability to manage our emotional response to outside stimuli translates to more money in the bank.
Increased Social Awareness gets you:
Confidence and Ease – a good listener is welcome and appreciated anywhere! When you take a break from worrying about the impression you’ll make at a networking event and just focus on being present and listening deeply to others, suddenly the pressure is off! You can relax and allow your genuine interest in the other person dictate where the conversation will go.
Opportunity – when you are present and aware of all the signals being communicated between people, you pick up on cues and clues. In a sales meeting, your ability to pick up on emotional information, priorities and concerns both spoken and unspoken, enable you to uncover vastly more opportunities for a sale.
Which brings us to the final of four Emotional Intelligence Skillsets:
This skill encompasses the three EI skillsets that came before. According to Drs. Bradberry & Greaves, authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0,
Relationship Management is your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and others to manage interactions successfully.
We don’t live or work in a vacuum. Our lives are built on relationships – whether with the cashier at the grocery store or a colleague we see every day. If we want people to listen, if we want cooperation, we need to manage relationships well, with people we like and get along with, and especially with people we don’t.
More effective Relationship Management gets you:
Respect – when a consensus of people experience you as non-judgmental, respectful and empathetic, you are respected and appreciated by allies and ‘enemies’ alike.
Cooperation – strong relationship management skills allow you to get along with a variety of personalities. When even those who disagree with you know they will be listened to and treated with respect, they are more willing to cooperate when it counts.
Happiness! – Our lives are a web of relationships. When our relationships are strong and positive, they enrich us with camaraderie, cooperation, challenge and support, creative stimulation and love.
Advancement – people follow those whom they like, trust and respect. You cannot inspire those feelings without good relationship management skills. But when you distinguish yourself here, you will naturally be marked for advancement.
Here are 3 strategies you can use to buff up your relationship management skills.
For the biggest results in the shortest period of time, stretch yourself to be curious and have conversations with people outside your zone of comfort. Purposely choose people with very different beliefs and/or personality styles, and strike up a genuinely curious conversation. Be willing to share a bit of yourself while you’re at it.
Bring back courtesy.
If we were raised on ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’, this may seem like a no-brainer. But have a look at how often you use these phrases of courtesy, when and to whom. Do you play favourites? Do you avoid saying ‘thank you’ to someone you simply like less, or who you feel doesn’t treat you particularly well? Instead, pay the respect forward and extend some extra – and genuine – courtesy to people you might not normally offer it to.
Explain your decisions.
Our first human instinct is to feel safe. This is why fear of the unknown is the #1 fear. When the packed subway car you’re on grinds to a halt between stations, the tension builds immediately. But a clearly-worded explanation of the situation and what to expect, dissolves the tension and worry right away.
The next time you make a decision that will affect others, deliver it with a clear explanation. When people understand your thinking process, they are more likely to feel safe and therefore willing getting behind your decision.
Emotional Intelligence is not static. It can be developed and improved over time. Choose just one or two strategies to focus on and enjoy the improvements you’ll notice in your own performance and in your relationships!
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.