Episode OneHundredSixtySix

Why Emotional Safety Is Essential in Sales

Guest: Henry Evans, CEO of Dynamic Results

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About This Episode

This century has had its share of crises already:

September 11, 2001 — the 2008 recession — COVID-19.

What’s really important for sales in times like these? (Hint: Not revenue.)

I loved the recent conversation I had with Henry Evans, CEO of Dynamic Results, about how to bring positive change to client organizations and sales teams during a crisis with emotional safety.

Listen in as we unpack the ideas of emotional safety.

Emotional safety isn’t squishy

Your sales team comes to you and tells you that their materials are stale and making them look bad.

You could say: Life is tough and sales is tough, so you use the materials you’ve got and be successful.

Or you could say: Thanks for bringing those to my attention. I wasn’t really tuned into it. Let me see if I can impact upstream and get us something newer and fresher.

Both statements were true, but only one response is going to shut down conversations about any further challenges or problems.

“You’re that person that people feel safe or even rewarded for bringing bad news to,” Henry said.

That’s what emotional safety means in a work (and a home) context. 

“Over time as you create emotional safety, your team continues to give you real time data. You’re operating in a very informed way, which is going to make you more successful,” Henry explained.

The 2 pillars of emotional safety

Emotional safety keeps the feedback loop open between teams and leadership.

C is for caring

“We can’t fake caring,” Henry said.

Caring about the other human beings we’re interacting with during a crisis?

It’s even more important now to ask about family and wellbeing before diving into a sales pitch. (Or just leave the pitch altogether and focus on caring.)

F is for feelings

“Feelings have to come before facts,” Henry said. 

Before you launch into the facts of your sales pitch, understand what’s going on for that person you are speaking with.

“If you can find out what’s pressuring them, they’re going to give you more data and you will be more informed. That gives you a competitive advantage against other potential vendors,” Henry explained.

Proper discovery comes from creating an environment where prospects feel emotionally safe enough not to give you just the surface-level answer.

Bottom line: If they can share “bad news” with you, you can show that you care for their feelings with a nuanced solution.

3 techniques for creating trust

1. Problem solve through bad news

Collaborating on a solution together is a great way to build a connection.

If you learn to take bad news well, you’ll build relationships with others.

Henry gave some good examples of emotionally safe responses to the news that a rep won’t hit his quota. 

  • Thank you for telling me.
  • It sounds like both of us are going to have to make adjustments. 
  • Let’s figure this out together.

2. Truly listen without multitasking

Since most of us are floating heads on Zoom nowadays, it’s easy to pretend to be listening.

Creating emotional safety means actually listening. 

“I’ve always held the lens of my webcam as the eyes and soul of the person I’m speaking to. Make sure you’re maintaining eye contact,” Henry said.

Listening is about trying to understand what’s driving the other person’s emotional responses.

That just can’t be achieved with another browser window open while you’re on your call.

3. Use precise language

If you say you’ll get back to them ASAP, both of you may not share the same idea about what “soon” means.

“Here’s where you get masterful and accountable. You say, We actually have a review with legal every Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM PT. You’ll get a response from me by 12:00 PM tomorrow, the 17th,” Henry said.

Then when you get back to them, that person has an unconscious increased confidence in you for building trust and credibility.

Here’s how crisis communication should go:

“We would love to meet with you, but it’s not to sell you anything. It’s to find out how you guys are planning to emerge from this and to see if any of our solutions might help,” Henry said.

Reach out to Henry on LinkedIn or his team at the Dynamic Results website.

Oh, be sure to check out the complimentary Emotional Safety eSchool challenge, too.

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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