AEC Marketing | The Emotional Side of Sales and Marketing

The Emotional Side of Sales and Marketing

Brent Darnell is an international, best-selling author and the authority on emotional intelligence in the design and construction industry. He works with typical alpha males in this space to help them develop vital people skills while shaping them into service-focused leaders. Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in today’s sales and marketing world, so Darnell has been able to successfully create changes in his clients’ behaviors that directly impact the success of their businesses.

1. Emotional Intelligence

People have a lot of misconceptions about emotional intelligence, but it is not about group hugs and sappy compliments. Darnell defines emotional intelligence as, “understanding and managing your emotions, and understanding and managing the emotions of others for the best outcomes.” Training team members on how to use different approaches like empathy or assertiveness with the right people at the right time is the core focus of Darnell’s work.

In sales and marketing, the audiences you’re trying to resonate with buy things emotionally, and this applies to selection committees in the AEC industry as well. Darnell explores that notion through a lens of neuroscience, looking at the activity in the amygdala and the core processes of decision-making which do not take place in the limbic part of our brains. The cognitive part of your brain will not kick in until after you’ve made the decision, and it will try and rationalize the decision after the fact.

2. Increasing Likeability in Client Meetings

When owners are buying professional services, Smartegies found that the leading emotion they want to experience is trust. Trust is another feeling that takes place in the limbic part of the brain, and this is important because emotional responses take far less energy to produce than rational responses. That is why emotional intelligence plays such a strong role in sales and marketing. When your firm is trying to win new business, it is highly probable that your prospect will make a decision based on what they are feeling.

Selection committees really don’t want to expend a lot of energy on making a decision, so if you can project positive energy and create a sense of well-being, their jobs will be much easier. It increases the likeability of your firm while enabling the panel members to connect with each other and make their decisions with confidence and efficiency. You always want to make it easy on the owner to hire you, and assuming Darnell’s perspective on emotional intelligence will only help.

The energy is not just created by what you say, so keep tabs on how your team is delivering the information as well. Resting engineer face is a common occurrence that can botch the entire process because first impressions are everything. Even if it is completely unconscious, projecting an image of disinterest, boredom, annoyance, or any other negative emotions has obvious implications. People with neutral faces have less empathy because the human brain tends to mirror the emotions it recognizes on a face, and empathy is a fundamental element of Darnell’s courses. Empathy and social listening allow brands to understand how they are perceived by the public, and those conversations will provide valuable insights for your sales and marketing tactics moving forward.

3. Using Emotional Intelligence in the Digital Age

In the digital age, we have so many channels of communication available, but more times than not miscommunication is taking place. Even on the phone, you can hear the difference in someone’s voice when they are smiling on the other end of the line, but it can be difficult to properly convey emotions through other media. Darnell’s mantra is, “how do you create a positive emotional experience instead of a transaction?” Little changes in your approach to writing the email can tell the other person more about who you are and change the entire impact of the email; even emojis can create a stronger sense of emotion. 

These interactions are largely representative of your brand as a whole, so it goes much deeper than re-branding. It takes a lot of time and has to move from the top down, so Darnell’s team evaluates everyone on board, sets up development programs and training, and coaches the organization through it’s cultural transformation. You can teach an old dog new tricks and in doing so, you can improve the retention and attraction of talent. People don’t leave companies, they leave people and what your leadership team is doing day-to-day is critical to the health of your organization.

4. Summary

In this episode of AEC Marketing for Principals, Brent Darnell joins hosts Judy Sparks and Katie Cash to talk about training AEC teams in using emotional intelligence, and how that has an impact on the health of your organization as a whole. For more on how to transform your organization with emotional intelligence, listen to our podcast episode, The Emotional Side of Marketing, with Brent Darnell.