Driving higher sales, more accounts, stronger customer service and better customer retention in a competitive economic environment.
A study with Sanofi-Aventis showed an increase in sales by over $2million per month.
How much does your organisation rely on the performance and success of your sales force?
Keeping your sales people in the game is going to become a greater challenge in the future and will largely be affected by their ability to connect with and understand what their customers’ needs are.
The economic market has changed drastically over the last decade, but unfortunately, most sales techniques, skills and training have failed to evolve with the market creating a threat to most companies who rely greatly on their sales people to produce required revenue for long-term sustainability
The current buyer market has evolved into a more social one, requiring sales people who are able to connect on a deeper level with customers. This will include the ability to read and understand current and potential customers’ buying styles, personalities and behaviours at a level as never experienced or needed before.
In a study conducted by Dr. Benjamin Palmer and Sue Jennings, the power and skill of emotional intelligence was demonstrated and determined to account for over $2 million increase in monthly sales.
Sanofi-Aventis split their sales team into random control and development groups. The development group was selected to receive EQ/EI Training which lead to an increase of their overall EQ/EI by an average of 18%. The development group of 40, out-sold the control group by and average of 12% or $55,200 each totalling $R2,208,800 per month higher or better than the control group. The investment value calculated meant that for every dollar they invested in the EI training, the value earned in return was $6.
Other companies that invest in Emotional Intelligence training who outsell their competition include companies like L’Oreal, MetLife and Amex Advisors.
Emotional Intelligence is at the core of relationships that will give sales people the advantage when dealing with customers. Sales people who have higher competencies of Emotional Intelligence significantly outsell those who have lower capability.
Rozell, Pettijohn and Parker explored the relationship between EI and performance in a sample of sales people and proved that it was a highly reliable predictor of performance leading to higher sales and greater customer relationships. (E.J Rozell, C.E Pettijohn & R.S Parker. Emotional Intelligence and Dispositional Affectivity as Predictors of Performance in Sales people 2006)
With access to information, most buyers or customers have already acquired sufficient information about your products and services and aware of the solutions that you offer. They are however, expecting a unique experience that sets you apart from the competition.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE skills training is crucial in assisting sales people close the gap between just presenting a product, to being able to really connect the with customer and adapt to offer the solution that the buyer is seeking. This is where soft skills help to produce effective and hard results.
I have been involved in Personal and Leadership training and development for the past 26 years as a facilitator, trainer and coach. What a marvelous and dynamic journey it has been.
Alvin Tolfer said “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read or write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. Nowhere else does this apply more than to leadership and the ability to guide and influence others. Leadership in a word is “influence”, according to John Maxwell, and the more skilled a person becomes at one-on-one and one-on-many communication, the greater the capacity to lead.
In the book “The Work of Leaders”, the authors, after much research, determined that all leaders need to be able to 1) Craft a Vision, 2) Build Alignment and 3) Champion Execution.(I recommend this book). Joel Barker, many years before, stated that to create a Vision Culture within an organisation, it had to be 1) Leadership Initiated 2) Shared and Supported 3) Positive and Inspiring 4) Detailed and Specific. Words of wisdom from both sources. What is interesting is that the number 2 in both studies were the most neglected, namely the points dealing with people and getting their buy in. To be learned and skilled in an area of focus and to have a title to go along with it does not guarantee that you will be a person of influence.
Many descriptions and titles for the modern leader come to mind as authorities have described the attributes of leaders….the Principle Centered Leader, the Servant Leader, the Mindful Leader, the Emotionally Intelligent Leader, the Situational Leader, the Relevant Leader, the Charismatic Leader, the Level Five Leader, the Leader without a Title and so on…all great titles with excellent research and facts to enhance our understanding of what it takes to be a better leader.
Here are a few things I have learned on my journey to recognize the Perfect Leader:
- Leadership is not for “softies”…if you see a man on top of a mountain, he did not fall there.
- Leadership is a process not an event. It takes time and effort, success and failure.
- Leadership in the 21st Century is a journey that requires constant learning both theoretically and practically.
- Leadership requires developing a burning desire to succeed and the discipline to put your beliefs into action.
- Leadership is more than mere words of encouragement to others, but a sincere and genuine interest and understanding of what they want to achieve.
- Leadership is not for everyone. Self Leadership is, but not ‘others’ Leadership.
- Leadership is trusting others enough to “let go.”
This might be a long list…so let me conclude by saying that there are no Perfect leaders, they will always have challenges however, successful Leaders have different challenges year after year, not the same ones over and over again. If you are growing and moving forward, there can be no one more successful than you. Failure is manifest when you quit and forego the opportunities that lie before you.
By Mark Cunningham
Studies show that employees who match their jobs are 2.5 times more productive on the job. “Job Fit” improves job satisfaction and engagement, resulting in increased productivity. Harvard Business Review followed 360 000 people over a 20 year period that showed job match was a key ingredient in retaining people.
“Job Match” is influenced in terms of an individuals abilities (thinking Style), occupational interests and personality traits. Commonly accepted factors such as education, job training and experience are, according to the study, secondary to the job matching approach which more accurately predicts job success.
We are all “DUC’s”
Professor Alfonso Lopez, while at Texas University would use the acronym DUC‘s to describe people. He would say that we are all Different, Unique and Complex. Because of these differences we have likes and dislikes. We have different intellectual and physical capacities. Our Emotional Intelligence and circumstances are different. “You cannot send a Duck to Eagle School” is a book written by Mac Anderson and a good reminder that those looking to upgrade their talent need to hire smart and train effectively.
It has been said that you cannot manage anything that you do not measure. For example, if I want to manage my health, there are certain things that I need to measure. My weight, body fat content, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels are but a few things that are very important. The same applies to people. If you want to manage people, you have to measure them. When last did you measure your people from a hiring and development perspective?
Replicating Top Performers
It is easy to recognise top performers when you review their numbers and see them performing in the workplace. The challenge is understanding the differences between them and the average and below average performers. Why are they successful and how can we ensure that future candidates share these success factors?
Steps to identifying and assessing top performers.
- Look at the sales performance, customer satisfaction surveys, quality metrics, output volume and other KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to identify your top performers.
- Use a reliable and valid assessment such as the ProfilesXT to determine their thinking style, behavioural / personality traits and their occupational preferences.
- Create a high performance model as a benchmark.
- Evaluate candidates relative to this high performance model for maximum engagement and productivity in the job.
- Remember to look at Skills fit and Company fit when making your final decision.
Hiring and Selection Summary
It is recommended that when making people decisions in an organisation we look at 3 areas that influence the suitability of a candidate.
- Past – SKILLS FIT -Does the individual have the necessary technical skills to do the job?
- Present – COMPANY OR ORGANISATIONAL FIT -Does the individual fit into the culture within the organisation and does he have the right values.
- Future – JOB FIT – Does the individual have the right cognitive ability, behavioural traits and occupational interests?
Using employee assessments in your hiring and selection process will give you a competitive edge while increasing success and consistency in hiring talented employees. “Job Matching” people with the work they do, creates a solid workforce that has the right people in the right positions.
By Mark Cunningham