One of the mysteries of the business world is why sales executives assume that low productivity and the resulting high turnover is inevitable with their sales teams.
Research has shown that it is appropriate to apply the Pareto principle to salespeople whereby 20 percent of all salespeople now make 80 percent of all sales. That means 80 percent of the sales force fights over the remaining 20 percent of the business not produced by the top sales pros.
With so many salespeople competing for shares of such a small pie, the turnover rate in sales is obviously very high. But many executives are willing to accept, as a cost of doing business, the unending expenses of recruiting, selecting, and training the continuing flow of newcomers into the sales rank. They should, instead, recognize that the poor productivity and high turnover rampant in the sales field are the result of faulty hiring practices.
Research has shown that 80 percent of the essential competencies required for success in the workplace are emotional intelligence, which is far greater than IQ or personality traits. Emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) has been a "buzzword" in the business world for the past several years. By definition, EQ is an individual's ability to recognize and regulate emotions in himself or herself and others. In practical application, it is one's ability to understand how our emotions and the emotions of others impact action and performance.
EQ has no greater application than in a sales position. A recent study of Fortune 500 companies including AT&T, IBM, and PepsiCo by the Hay/McBer firm in Boston found that the top 10 percent of the sales forces in the companies surveyed totaled nearly $6.7 million in sales while the norm was only $3 million—more than twice the average or additional sales totaling 88 times the average salary of $42,000. The top 10 percent of those sales forces were very strong in EQ competencies, while the average salesperson was not.
Different sales roles (i.e., hunters versus farmers) require most of the same competencies, but self-awareness was found to have the largest difference between the two different sales roles.
Consistent among all sales roles are what we'll term the Fab Five EQ Sales Competencies.
This is the salesperson's awareness of the prospect's feelings, needs, and concerns. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
This is the salesperson's adeptness at inducing desirable responses from the customer or prospect. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
This is the salesperson's level of courage and self-esteem that provides thick enough skin to persevere through various obstacles he or she encounters throughout the sales cycle. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
This is knowing one's internal states, preferences, resources, strengths, and limitations. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
NOTE: A positive and attentive thinking bias in this competency leads to being effective as a "hunter" salesperson and will be motivated by sales commissions earned as a result of individual accomplishments. A negative and inattentive thinking bias in this competency leads to being effective as a "farmer" salesperson and being motivated by security or team-based incentives.
This is the salesperson's emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals and his or her sense of personal commitment to responsibilities. This competency is important in a sales role for the following reasons.
These are all essential competencies in selling. The salesperson who knows the product or service inside out will not succeed in the long term without possessing these essential competencies.
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