If you have been looking for a way to improve sales results, you need look no further. Hire emotionally intelligent people. For over 10 years we have been advocating the value of an emotionally intelligent sales team. Now someone has scientifically confirmed our beliefs. Every opportunity we have we assess candidates for EI before we recommend them for any position especially a sales position. We have seldom been surprised by the success of the candidate. The recently published article “Emotional Intelligence in Marketing Exchanges” by the Journal of Marketing confirms what we have believed: Salespeople with higher EI scores are better than their lower scoring peers.
The researchers found that Emotional Intelligence had a greater influence on sales results than anything else measured i.e. age, gender, cognitive ability, sales training, and experience, self-efficacy, and customer influence and customer relationships.
So what exactly does that mean to someone wanting to have the most effective sales team possible? Answer: While other things are important, Emotional Intelligence is more important than any other single attribute studied. (It might also suggest that each of your existing sales people could be given tools to make them better)
Also found in the study was the fact that EI enhanced other important skills such cognitive ability. If you are one who wants to work with smart people and believes smart people will sell more than others, hire smart people with high EI scores, they will sell even more.
Regardless, any organization who hires salespeople would serve themselves well by making certain that whoever they hired were Emotionally Intelligent.
How then can you be certain that your sales team is staffed with Emotionally Intelligent people? There are many good self-assessments that measure EI but they experience the usual challenges all self-assessments have. They can be faked. In other words the person being assessed can mark the answers in a way they think you want them to rather than how it actually is. I must say that I have seldom run across an assessment I felt was faking it but it does happen. Possibly one of the better tools for evaluating EI skill level is the MSCEIT, a tool that measures what you know and how you would use your knowledge of actions and events to impact the emotion you encounter in the workplace. With the MSCEIT you can actually measure how likely a candidate would be when Perceiving, Using, Understanding and Managing emotion. Each of these 4 skills can easily be tied to the sales process. For instance the most successful sales people will likely have stronger skills in Using and Managing emotion.