When we survey EQs, we ask them, “How good are you at finding and qualifying opportunities – the beginning of the sales cycle?” “Oh, we’re very good at that; we love it,” they say. Then, we ask, “How good are you at the end of the sales cycle, closing business?” Suspecting a trick question, they hesitate, just a moment, before responding, “We’re really good at that. We want to win. We want to defeat the competition, we want to close the business and get the commission check.” Finally we ask, “How about the middle of the sales cycle – the product demonstrations, proposal writing, pulling more favorable buyers into the decision process, creating traps for the competitors, managing all the SME’s (subject matter experts – usually have deep industry knowledge, or, product/service line knowledge), who are a part of a complex sale, proof statements, RFP’s (requests for proposal), etc.?” Surprised we asked, they laughingly respond, “We’re terrible at that; we hate it.” Of course they do. This is the slow, process-driven, detailed, relationship building part of the sale – the work PD’s and Networkers are wired to do well. The not-a-process-bone-in-their-body EQ’s would much rather uncover another opportunity or close a ripe one. And that is what they should be doing. EQ’s are rare, roughly 17% of the business population. And, good ones should be highly compensated. Shouldn’t they be doing only what they do best? Please don’t get us wrong on this point, the EQ should not disappear in the middle of the sales process, but we are proposing that we only require a “light” touch from the EQs in the middle of the sales process.
Although we have never had a sales executive argue this point, only 1% or less of the business world is properly deploying its EQ talent. The result is they end up hiring more EQs than they need. And worse still, some organizations let the EQ “own” the account they opened and count bookings for relationship driven new work and natural follow-on new work. By doing this, the company insures that the EQ will take the shortest path to the money and “new penetration” deals will stop happening.