So, what makes a successful salesperson? One of the most critical but often underappreciated traits is emotional intelligence.
Investing in developing the emotional IQ of your sales team can be well worth it. Some people think of it as a soft skill, but it can make a big difference to your bottom line. In fact, research has found that sales professionals with high emotional intelligence can bring in twice as much revenue, compared to reps with average or below average emotional IQ.
But what actually is emotional intelligence, and how does it work in practice? Let’s run through some useful sales meeting tips, where you can learn to read the cues, body language and facial expressions of your clients.
How To Read Emotions In Sales Meetings?
Observe what’s not being said
If you rely solely on the words said in a meeting, you’ll miss out on a lot of important information. It’s all about learning to read the emotions in the room.
You need to fine-tune your observation skills, picking up all those tiny details that help you understand what’s not being said. Look out for posture and body language cues, along with micro facial expressions such as raised eyebrows, fleeting smiles and tiny frowns.
Assess how other people respond to you
Developing self-awareness is a crucial part of improving your emotional intelligence. As well as being aware of how you come across to others, you should be observing how they respond to you.
This is how you’ll know whether you’re making a connection, tapping into your client’s emotions and motivations. In essence, whether or not you’re on the same page. It can take practice, although a lot of the best sales professionals can do it intuitively.
Practice active listening
A common occurrence in sales meetings is one person waiting for their turn to talk. This is a mistake – emotionally intelligent sales experts practice something known as active listening. This means being present, engaged and always making the other person feel heard.
You’re not just watching out for conversational cues that it’s your turn to speak. Instead, you understand that its ok to be silent to digest what the other person is saying, and respond properly to it.
Keep your own emotions in check
It takes skill and self-control to tap into the emotions and energy in the meeting room, without letting it affect your own performance. For example, if there is disagreement or tension between participants, it’s easy for you to be drawn into this negative energy yourself. This can lead to defensiveness, which will never lead to the outcome you want.
Instead, you need to hold yourself a half-step away from what’s happening in the meeting, while still being engaged enough to respond to it authentically. This is no easy skill, and it takes training and practice to master.
And of course, before you can practice your newfound emotional intelligence around the meeting table, you need to get your foot in the door.
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