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Why Swearing May Improve Your Sales!

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It is generally accepted that using your Emotional Intelligence to influence or persuade others is about understanding other's emotional or behavioural needs.

While rational factors such as pricing, feature sets etc affect purchase decisions, emotions still play a large role. For the most part, brands are — at their core — emotional constructs.

A product may have better features objectively but prospects may still pass on it. They may favor a competitor whose branding sparks a strong emotional connection.

Moreover, it’s hard to outweigh the trust factor associated with the reviews of a person’s friends or the celebrities they follow on social media. This means that salespeople who can perceive their customers’ emotional state have better chances of closing deals.

Therefore swearing when influencing others or selling to them, at first, does not seem to make much sense, as some people are likely to be offended. 

However, Sir Bob Geldof's penchant for the odd swearword or two, might be a shrewder influencing strategy than we realise.

Eric Rassin and Simon Van Der Heijden at Erasmus University in The Netherlands report evidence that people in the west are more likely to rate a statement as believable when it contains swearwords.

First Rassin and Van Der Heijden asked 76 students whether they thought the inclusion of swearing in a statement would increase its credibility or reduce it. 

Forty-six per cent said it wouldn't make any difference, 36 per cent thought it would make a statement less credible, and only 16 per cent thought it would increase a statement's credibility.

But then the researchers asked 70 students to read a fictional account of a statement made by a suspect burglar during a police interview. 

The 35 students who read the version in which the suspect swore rated his statement as more believable than the 35 students who read  a version that was identical in every respect but with the swearwords removed.

In a further study, 54 students read a statement made by an alleged robbery victim.

Again, the students who read the version in which the victim swore rated his statements as more believable than the students who read a version without swearwords.

The EBW View

"If one wants to appear more credible, it is recommendable to utter an occasional swearword", the researchers advised. 

Whilst we would not agree with that advice, considering that this research may not work in practice, especially in other cultures, where the cultural norms may be very different to where the research was carried out.

However what this research does demonstrate is the powerful influence of emotional expression when needing to persuade and appear credible to others.

We would argue that with a global workplace, understanding how to engage and influence people with different perspectives to your own is a key skill that successful sales people and sales teams need to have.

Successful sales people are aware of their own emotional state and can control their emotions. They know how to cover up emotions that might turn off customers (e.g., lack of enthusiasm or excitement, anxiety, distraction, irritation, greed, insincerity, fear, nervousness, etc.).

Reps with high Emotional Intelligence have the patience to delay gratification. This means they can continue prospecting with high energy even when they know it will take time to sign the deal.

Practitioners with high emotional intelligence can discern customers’ emotional states and can adapt and align their own emotions with that.

Salespeople who have mature levels of Emotional Intelligence know how to fine-tune their conversations and pitches in order to pull the right emotional triggers.

High-EQ salespeople remain positive even amid tons of rejection. They do not take rejections personally and consistently avoid harboring negative emotions.

Sales reps who can establish strong emotional connections with customers are better at understanding what customers feel, need, and expect. Strong emotional bonds with customers significantly improve retention rates, client satisfaction, and customer success. In sales, relationships practically matter a lot more than actual products or services. Those based on emotional connections have the strongest bonds.

If you need to develop your sales teams or need your colleagues to successfully enagage with their peers and clients, start by getting some feedback on your Business Emotional Intelligence and learn which critical emotional drives you need to understand to form better relationships and improve performance.

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