“T-Shirts for Big Bellies!”
My family and I heard these callouts recently when we strolled through an open-air market during vacation. At first, we were surprised and slightly offended by all the product offers. But after a few days, we kind of got used to the noise and let it fade into the background.
Then, early one morning when it was drizzling, my husband and I went back to the market for a walk. We brought an umbrella with us, which a man on the street complimented us on. He shared, “Not too many tourists think to bring umbrellas with them, which is why we sell a lot of those and rain ponchos on days like today.”
We then struck up a brief conversation with this vendor about what else he sells to tourists during rainy weather – this guy had some stories to tell! When we finished our conversation and began to say goodbye, the vendor asked my husband if he needed any HGH. Ed politely declined.
As we walked away, I asked Ed, “What’s HGH?”
“Human Growth Hormones. And if I were in the market for them, I would’ve bought from this guy!” he said with a smile.
I would’ve, too, because this vendor was different. And I liked his approach – it cut through the noise of the busy marketplace.
This vendor didn’t shout out features and benefits to get our attention. He started off with rapport building, which transitioned to relationship development. He was, essentially, emotionally intelligent … something we can all be more of in this day and age.
Intrapersonal and Interpersonal
Emotional intelligence is both intrapersonal (your relationship with yourself) and interpersonal (your relationship with others). Both are important for career success.
I believe many of us spend a lot of effort in our intrapersonal development – seeking self-awareness, learning how to be better managed, and discovering what motivates us. But what about the “people” side of emotional intelligence? Being more empathetic and socially skilled? Selling ourselves day in, day out? We always have room to grow in this area.
Now, you might not be in an outside sales role in your organization, so you don’t see yourself in the people business. But I can promise you that you’re always selling something – an idea, a collaboration, a project.
For myself, I’m selling from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep.
My selling looks like this:
- Convincing my kids to eat breakfast
- Coordinating afternoon kid and dog logistics with Ed
- Partnering with my coaching clients and suggesting a new approach at work
- Having direct sales conversations with client prospects
- Influencing my youngest to take a shower before bed
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few tricks that I rely on to be emotionally intelligent in the sales arena when it matters most. I hope they help you, too.
- Read the room – try to pick up on the mood and the style of the people you’re with. If the room has low energy, bring it up one level higher. If the room is too energetic, try to calm it down with your words, pace of speech, and tone.
- Know your tendencies – recognize that your go-to approach doesn’t work in every situation. While you can’t change other people, you can always change yourself. When you change, inevitably the mood and/or situation changes.
- Recognize that everything is relational – and every interaction isn’t an isolated event – there’s a long game in relationship building, which is why bridges aren’t to be burned. Your words matter, so choose them intentionally, and don’t say things you’ll regret later.
- That likeability is a thing – people want to work with others they like, respect and are easy to work with. You can be likable by being interested in others, sharing your concern, and being empathetic. Your goal isn’t to make others like you … it’s to show you’re invested in others and that you value and respect the people around you.
If, as you read this list, you’re thinking that you can grow in the people smarts arena, why not consider the SPARK Coaching Program? My programs often offer assessments, which are great ways of understanding your style, as well as the style of others. If you lead a team, I also offer coaching programs for groups. Email me and we can connect!