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The High EQ, Low EQ Sales Quiz

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.

In addition to my coaching, and my usual comings and goings this past couple of months, I’ve been in the real estate business, selling my own home, and working with a coaching client who wants to buy a house in Alabama. I’ve seen a lot of people trying to sell things lately and thought I’d share with you High EQ, Low EQ in the sales world.

EQ—Emotional Intelligence—is all those “soft” skills that drive a hard bargain in the marketplace. Research is
showing what a powerful performance differentiator it is, separating the outstanding performers from the average performers.

The four domains of Emotional Intelligence are:  self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Within these groups there are 18 competencies, one of which directly predicts good sales people, and all of which contribute.

Now, selling something is nothing so much as relationship, conversation. It means being able to present your item to the person in such a way they’ll see the benefit to them and want to buy it. To do this, you must assess the person and speak their language.

For instance, you cannot sell the best heater in the world to a freezing Intuit if any of the following takes place:
  • If you do not speak Intuit and they do not speak English
  • If it is taboo in their culture to have an electric heater
  • If you inadvertently insult or offend the Intuit because of lack of knowledge of their culture, or low EQ skills
The more multicultural we get, the more flexible most of us are, but there are some things considered inexcusable in every culture that are best avoided. If you’re spending a lot of time with folks from that culture, it’s best to read up, or study with a coach.

We’d all agree, for instance, that to show up to look at a house naked is inappropriate, in any culture, at any time.  Beyond that, your particular shopper may be sporting a nose ring, fishnet hose, a 3-piece suit, blue jeans, a sarong, a toupee, a 10 carat diamond ring, or grease and oil all over his shirt and fingernails, and may show up in a brand new Jaguar, or a 7-year-old Chevy truck. Each of these markers is a nonverbal clue to you about the person, how best to relate to them, and how best to sell your product.

Okay, here’s the EQ Quiz:

Showing the House:

Paul walks the clients through saying little, and when he does, he says, “Nice living room,”or “beautiful fireplace, don’t you think?” Mary walks the clients through talking a good bit of the time saying things like, “This looks like it would be big enough for your music room,” and “There’s the perfect spot for your fig trees.”

Question 1: Who’s most likely to make the sale, Paul or Mary?

Romancing the Homeowner:

Robert the Realtor wants Harriet the Homeowner to lower her price. He leaves the customers in the living room and walks into Harriet’s study where she’s at the computer. “So you’re ready to move?” he says. “Where are going to?”  “Dallas,” she replies. “Well, you’re gonna become a great Dallas fan, huh? Big game this weekend. If the Cowboys can keep them off of Carter long enough to get the ball downfield, there could be plenty of big plays from the receivers. You’re gonna love those Cowboys.” Then his cell phone rings, he pulls it out of his pocket and starts talking.

There is classical music playing and an Oriental rug on the floor. Harriet’s office is wall-to-wall books—Shakespeare, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, and Cervantes—and photos of her four grandchildren. There’s no t.v. in the house, no men’s clothes, no men’s toiletries.

Question 2: What’s your vote for Robert? High EQ or Low EQ?

Pitching the Best Features

Carmella is sitting next to me in her $800 Armani with an 8-carat diamond on her freshly manicured hand, as the Baldwin County, Alabama barber tells her the high points about the house he wants to sell. “It’s got an RV hookup, so when your friends come to visit, you know, they can just hook right up, and I got about 10 goats out here now, but you can put you some horses here too, and I got $32,000 worth of fruit trees I just put in. What else you want to know?”

Question 3: Has he pitched the best features to her? Yes? Or No?

Multicultural Mayhem

Thomas “Tex’ Henley, the realtor, has lived his whole life in Texas and never been outside the country. He reads little, sticks with the friends he grew up with and has never learned another language. The buyers are meeting him at the office, and when they come in, he can tell they aren’t from the US, and the woman has on an outfit he’s never seen before. Sort of like the Arabs he’s seen on t.v., but not quite. He rushed forward with a big “howdy,” reaching to take the woman’s coat and slaps a big ole’ friendly paw on her shoulder to guide her toward the lobby.

Question 4: Wise move? Dumb move?

Second Showing

Hortense, Who’s House It Is, is home for the second-showing when the realtor brings the woman back to see her house.  Affable person that she is, she follows them around, chatting about the house, and as they part she adds, “Now, Honey, you’ll love it here. There’s plenty of single young men in the neighborhood so you won’t be alone long, and there’s plenty of extra bedrooms here for little ones, [wink wink], so anyway, y’all have a great Merry Christmas, and remember, ‘Jesus is the reason for the season.’ “

Question 5: Has Hortense made the sale?

  1. Mary’s most likely to make the sale because she’s personalizing the house for the buyers, telling them where their things can go, and how it would work for them. She really listened to her client, so she knows about the music room and the fig trees.

  2. Robert gets low EQ. He may as well be speaking a foreign language to this middle-aged intellectual single woman, and she probably considers the cell phone rude as well.

  3. No, he has not. The “best features” to Carmella would be pointing out the ample supply of affordable labor in the town, the acreage available for adding a swimming pool and tennis courts, the easy drive to the airport, which is how Carmella’s friends will arrive, and the subdivision of half-million dollar homes going in nearby, but not too nearby.

  4. When you’re dealing with another culture you’re not familiar with, the safest thing to do is be ultra-conservative especially where the women are concerned.  In many cultures, you should not speak directly to the woman or make eye contact or touch her in any way. When in doubt, slow down, look for signals, address the male member of the duo with a standard, conservative, “So nice to me you, I’m XXX,” and let him make the first move from there.

  5. Not likely if the buyer is Jewish, from New York where terms of endearment aren’t used lightly, lesbian, and has just found out she’s unable to bear children. It’s emotionally intelligent these days not to assume someone’s sexual preference, desire for children, age, marital status or religion. Use generic terms such as “holiday” instead of “Hanukkah” or “Christmas,” and “partner” instead of “spouse” or “husband” or “wife.”

© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2003

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

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