“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Fishing, like business, requires two things: reaction and pro-action. Well, maybe three. A full tackle box is helpful. Your cool head and steady hand have gifted you the ability to react to the events of the last five months and adapt. The sleepless nights and 3:00am prayers have paid off. Spring has sprung and the fish are biting again – but there may be one thing missing from your tackle box that will pay dividends – Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a person’s ability to sense and understand their own emotions and manage their interactions with others by being present and reacting thoughtfully and deliberately moment-by-moment. Great sales professionals exhibit high Emotional Intelligence when they effectively “manage” their customer and prospect relationships. Put simply, EI is the science behind building and managing relationships, and the good news is that EI, unlike IQ (Intelligence Quotient), is very much a learned quality that can increase with coaching, awareness, application, and practice.

Most business owners have learned to react in order to “tackle-the-problem” when the need arises. The act of “hooking the fish” is tactical and reactive. The fish nibbles and you yank the line to hook it. Tactical thinking is imperative to be successful – but consider this. Reactivity is not always in our best interest. Let’s look at a man’s best friend (who also loves a good day of fishing in the boat by the way) as an example.

Have you ever noticed a dog react irrationally by growling or even snapping at someone they have known for years simply because the dog did not expect to be petted? Or, when a dog decides to eat your slippers or the couch cushions while you are at work? In both cases, the dog reacted to its emotions with actions it later regrets. (To see examples of this regret, search for “guilty dog” in YouTube.) Does a dog have a frontal lobe in its brain? Absolutely! However, it only makes up 7% of their brain. Humans, on the other hand, have a frontal lobe which makes up roughly 35% of our brains. We possess this remarkable superpower, but it only works to its fullest potential when we decide to use it.

Here is where the need for more strategic thinking comes into play – the need to “influence-the-outcome”. EI is a huge component of strategic thinking. You create a vision, a plan, that will more confidently give you the desired result. If you do not allow time for strategic, critical thinking to occur, your tactical actions, as good intentioned as they may be, might put you at a disadvantage and keep you from achieving your fullest potential. 

Emotional intelligence, one component of soft skills, allows each of us to pause and evaluate -potentially avoiding a destructive, primal response that can damage business relationships. Here are some stats that might blow your waders off. Did you know…

  • EI is responsible for 58% of your job performance
  • Salespeople from multiple Fortune 400 pharmaceutical companies experienced a 31% improvement in the quality of their customer relationships due to increased empathy, understanding, and self-control
  • People with high EI make $29,000 more annually than their low EI counterparts

In business, it doesn’t pay to be the snappy dog or the fish who takes the bait without thinking. Your business will grow through the application of more strategic thinking, yielding more effective sales cycles and improved relationships with your customers. EI is one of the critical lures that should be in your tackle box…in your floating boat…with Fido at your side.

Want to learn more about EI (and other soft skills) to increase your bottom line? Check out our recent article: Engaging the Glory of Your Frontal Lobe.

Acumatica partners now have access to soft-skills training through Success Services for Acumatica. Register for our July, 2020 online webinar series at Essential Soft Skills for the Complete Sales Professional.