Using Emotional Intelligence To Increase Your Bottom Line
If youve been in sales for any length of time, you very likely remember that perfect appointment–the one where everything went right–from the approach, to the presentation, to the close. Not only did you make a sale that day, but you probably made a long-term client and maybe even a friend. Weve all had appointments like that, and most of us use the same word to describe it: “Chemistry.”
Then theres that other kind of appointment–the one where everything simply fell apart. Weve all had appointments like that, too, where we felt terrible, looked worse, and couldnt agree on anything with our prospect. How do most of us write off those appointments? You guessed it: “No chemistry.”
The best salespeople, however, do not become dependent on chemistry. Rather, they develop an emotional awareness of both themselves and their prospects that allows them to “get out of the way of the sale,” and really listen to what the prospect is saying. Some learn this skill over time. A few come by it naturally. But a skill it is, and it has a name: “Emotional Intelligence.” (See sidebar.)
What Your Peers Are Reading
So how does emotional intelligence relate to insurance sales? If you can learn to develop (or improve) your emotional intelligence, youll be better able to service a more diverse group of clients, while improving your closing ratios. Youll become a better listener and a better observer, which, in turn, will allow you to understand how people process information differently.
A good example is the use of “space” in a sales situation. Many of the agents I encounter during training sessions confess that they have a habit of continuing to sell, even after they have made the sale–with the unfortunate result being that they often blow the sale.
If, however, they could learn to recognize this in themselves while it is happening–or even better, before it happens–they could learn to stay out of the way. They could focus instead on listening to their prospects, observing their behavior, understanding their concerns and motivations, and most importantly, knowing when theyve made the sale.
So, how can you improve your skills in this area? One option is to work with a business coach. An effective business coach wont tell you what to do (or when and how to do it), but will instead help you observe yourself with an eye toward understanding exactly who you are.
Once youve obtained this self-awareness, an effective coach can help you make the kinds of behavioral changes that will transform your approach, follow through, and, ultimately, improve your business.
Lets face it: Old habits are hard to break. It takes time to turn these behavioral changes into new habits–time and practice. A coach can help you get back on track when you inevitably slip back into your old habits.
Consider this “real-life” case situation from my coaching experience.
An agent who Ill call Rich was an influential person in his community. He could network well. He knew how to build solid centers of influences. But he had difficulty tapping into these centers of influence for referrals and found it even more difficult to follow up with them.
By using various assessment tools and asking a number of questions, we eventually figured out what was actually blocking him. It turned out that because of what Ill call his “high affiliative motivational structure,” he was reluctant to make his pitch to a prospect for fear of ruining the relationship.