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The Emotionally Intelligent Value Exchange – Defining today’s ‘Salesperson’

Danielle Lima is a marketer, sales person and corporate trainer and has written a book, “A Practical Guide To Selling with Emotional Intelligence.” Peter Roper interviews Danielle in this article in Marketing Mag in which Danielle talks about emotional intelligence in business performance.

More than 90% of all sales scripts are static. The same scripts are being rewritten over and again and applied ad hoc to almost every situation that occurs in this important business process. It follows then that a small number of scripts find their target in an effective manner, where the ‘seller’ and the ‘buyer’ take into account how they are feeling at the time. These scripts are described as dynamic exchanges.

Peter states; “This fact alone explains why the vast majority of selling fails, says Danielle Lima, a marketer sales person and corporate trainer.”  After 30 years in sales and marketing roles Danielle turned her attention to emotional intelligence and the role it plays in not just sales performance, but other business and relationship outcomes. Further; “Slowly I analysed the various components of sales processes and found that it was the fact they weren’t applying emotional intelligence principals that caused them to fail.”

It seems that if you have high EI then you’re aware of your own limitations and if you don’t then you’re unconsciously incompetent. Peter Roper asks what is missing in poorly performing teams. Danielle, “What EI does is it allows the individual to be more in tune with their own state of mind : self awareness. It gives them an insight into how the other person’s going.”

It’s important to get this focus both ways and to develop self control – the regulation that comes after self awareness. Danielle; “It’s the absolute bedrock. Your self awareness is the cornerstone of this model. And it’s the thing we’ve got all to keep working on every day.”  

Unlike IQ which remains fairly static through life, EI can be developed all through life. Children as young as four have been shown to display EI which remains a coachable skill.

Danielle talks about profit as the final destination of the sales and marketing process. To achieve profit all the key players must be made to feel comfortable which then leads to understanding, trust, advocacy and ultimately a relationship of mutual value exchange which over time underpins business activity and profit. Danielle; “We’ve always been focused on the end result, which is profit. Profit is the fourth story in a building, but you’ve got to build the ground floor first. Then the second floor and third floor.” 

How do know when someone needs to work on their EI?

Danielle; “The signs are different depending on where the person is at. If for example the person’s very reactive to any situation, anything that potentially annoys them, they react to it immediately. That is really a black and white sign that this person has poor impulse control. That person’s perception is clearly not aligned to what’s actually happening around them. Self awareness is very low when there’s a disconnect between the reality  of a situation and the way that situation’s being perceived internally by the individual. Personal accountability is one of the key barometers of strong EI.” 

Can other EI situations arise to assist management in determining HR matters, in job interview situations for example?

Danielle; “Yes, if the questions are asked the right way. These days we’ve moved away from hypothetical questions to behavioural based questions. It’s very much about explaining a recent time a certain scenario happened and describing how the candidate reacted and what they thought as they were doing it.” These situations allow management to consider how individuals react when under pressure – if their EI comes into play or if they protect themselves by moving away from the subject in question and adopt defensive mechanisms to cover shortcomings. EI is not about feeling the emotion, EI is feeling it but not letting it dictate how you act.

The benefit to companies who do the right thing by their people and routinely provide EI training is starting to be recognised – and it’s paying off on the bottom line sales result.

Danielle, “It’s certainly growing. But it’s growing off a low base. The shrewd companies do it, but of course they don’t want to talk about it because the last thing they want to do is let opposition firms know where they’re getting the real lift in their employee engagement, retention and performance.”

We see here the strong benefits of applying EI in a variety of situations. Not only can your people improve their sales and marketing effectiveness through this application, but they will improve their self awareness across a full range of interactions. In the case of marketing they will be encouraged to move away from static training methods and to apply imagination, understanding, reflection and curiosity during engagement.

In this new age approach they should rely on their feelings, be mindful of their resulting reactions and then apply them. As part of the sales training process, maximum effect through EI methods will occur as you become aware of your limitations and emotions at the same time searching for self awareness which opens the way to be constructive and successful in all your interactions.

The building block on which the effectiveness of EI will flourish occurs when you become personally accountable for your interactions with those who will contribute to the profitability of your business.

Tim James

Director & Practice Manager : Corporate Affairs


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