At work we subscribe to a particular sales philosophy and have been using the same trainers for two years in row. He’s also coming back this January. The first year was good, but he didn’t know us yet. He hadn’t met any of our sales reps and didn’t really get what we sold or that it was to Churches who are a little different than other for-profit businesses. This guy has a bunch of books and I’ve interacted with a few people on his team now outside of him speaking with us at our January Sales Kick Off.
I’m almost always impressed by what he says, and really appreciate his writing because so much of it applies to things outside of work and selling. The reason? Because selling and buying is human. I’m a human, and surprise all of the other people I interact with are also humans. The techniques he’s teaching us are good for relationships.
Now this year I’ve read a lot of books about relating, vulnerability, the spiritual life, and overall general self-improvement. A few have been more life-changing than others, but the woman who gets me the most is Brené Brown and her work about vulnerability. I could link a video here but that wouldn’t even begin to help you understand why I love her work. Suffice it to say, go read it. Not now though, because she’s got a lot and it’ll take a while before you come back.
Back to our sales trainer and his books. He writes about why people buy from you, why they follow you, how to prospect like a fanatic, and his newest book is about EQ. That’s Emotional Intelligence, if you aren’t on the up and up for all the different “Q’s” a person can have. They are IQ, AQ, TQ, and EQ (Intelligence, Actual, Technical, & Emotional). Together they make for a very powerful human being. Someone who has the smarts, knows how they relate to everyday life, gets technology and how to use it to help them, and has emotional intelligence to effectively build relationships … they are amazing. I have some of all of those things, but not quite at the amazing level.
The book we’re ready for this January came out a few months ago, but last year at the kick off he was still writing it and gave us a pretty good preview of what was coming. He made sure to say that the things he’s teaching us relating to EQ can be applied to all relationships but to remember that a salesperson / customer relationship is not the same as with family, friends, or our spouse. The work relationship is superficial. We want it to be as authentic as possible, but there’s a goal in mind and it’s not to make the other person the best-version-of-themselves. It’s to get the sale. That’s why we’re there, and everyone knows it.
But this customer craves a relationship always answering these questions: Do I like You? Do you listen to me?, Do you make me feel important?, Do you get me and my problems?, and Do I trust and believe you? If they can say “yes” to all five of those questions, they are more likely to buy from you.
The best way to walk through these stages of questions with your customers is to manage your own emotions to really speak to them in the style they prefer. Our own style preference is neither here nor there. We just need to know it, so we can keep it in the background. If I’m a big talker (and I am), then I need to flex my style to be a better listener. Nothing is better than when your customer is telling you a great story. It says a lot about them, what’s important to them, and where your company might fit into theirs.
We all have dominate styles. It’s natural. We can’t be everything to everyone all of the time. We will have a default style, but if you want to communicate with someone the best way to do it is in the way that they will understand best. If I don’t speak spanish, and you call me up with a pitch in spanish, I’m going to hang up.
That seems obvious, but if you say this instead: “If I communicate best in stories, and you ask me to give you three bullet points, and then proceed to talk at me for 45 minutes, I’m going to hang up.”
We have to see these two statement as equals. We cannot communicate well with someone if we aren’t speaking their language. This includes the translation, body language, tone, and style.
To illustrate this in our training, he inevitably brings this back to other relationships we all experience regularly. Since most of the room is married (actually all but maybe 3 of us), he relays some experiences with his wife. He says that we all falter. He is actually writing the book on this and still slips with his wife. It’s natural. Whenever we’re tired, hungry, irritated, or in some other not great state we can slip into our default and not even realize it until it’s too late.
This happens to me. My default is to be impatient and not-compassionate when someone asks me the same question for the fifth or tenth or one-hundredth time. If I’m tired, upset, feeling shame, hungry, irritated, etc. then I default to short answers. I’m constantly interrupted at work with all kinds of things that aren’t my job any more and that makes me irritated which makes me short with replies and responses. It’s not my finest moment, but it’s my problem, not my co-worker’s. I need to flex my style. I need to adjust my attitude and mindset before I react to them.
In our sales meeting though one of our consultants says “Can you call my wife and tell her why I’m the way I am so she’ll stop bugging me?”
I wanted to say, “now that you know the rational reasons behind why you’re having this disagreement (and not constant fighting), why don’t you choose to flex your style to best serve her?”
If we can flex styles for our customers, we can surely flex styles for our spouses, family, and friends. This is absolutely the hardest thing to do, but makes all the difference in the relationship. I need to flex my style more often, readjust based on what’s needed for the relationship.
This means my tone, my body language, my speaking style, and the way I bring up particular topics and if I do at all. I think if we all did this we would transform our relationships!
If the type of EQ you’re looking for is sales, check out his book.