In the early 2000s in the Atlantic, there was a tense showdown between Spain and the US Navy. Essentially, there’s an emergency frequency that maritime uses, and a message went out at night from a what the crew thought was a small Spanish boat to the USS Lincoln, the second largest battleship in the Navy.
The Spaniard said, “We need you to adjust your course by 15 degrees North. You’re headed right for us.” Do you think the United States Navy was going to bow down to a foreign ship? Hell no. The US responded: “No, we need you to immediately move 15 degrees South.” The Spaniard got back on and said, “Look, that is not possible or convenient. We need you to adjust.” The American’s response was: “We actually demand that you change your course.” Spain responded with: “Sorry, we can’t, it’s not convenient.”
This exchange went back and forth for a while, until finally the US captain picked up the radio and said, “Look, I’m the captain of the USS Lincoln. We’re the second largest battleship in the US Navy. We need you to adjust your course very quickly.” Again, Spain responded “That’s not going to happen.” The US Navy replied: “We are accompanied by two battleships, six destroyers, five cruisers, and multiple support craft. We demand that you change your position 15 degrees South.” Moments later, the Spaniard responded: “There’s two of us—we’re accompanied by a dog, some provisions, and a Canary that’s asleep. We highly suggest you change your course because we’re actually on dry land. We’re a lighthouse, not a ship. And you’re not far out.”
The US response? “Okay.”
How EQ Helps You Navigate This New Business Reality
What this story demonstrates at the end of the day is that bullying, intimidation, shaming, guilting—low EQ tactics—doesn’t work anymore. What worked then won’t work now. Power lies in the ability to connect emotionally.
With everything that’s happening in the world, the uncertainty in business, the uncertainty in sales, the social climate, the wokeness, using EQ to sell is more relevant than ever. The landscape of everything has changed, not just with sales. We need to have more empathy as human beings. We NEED to change our mindset and ignite our EQ.
I get it, there’s a ton of misinformation and uncertainty out there. Do we go or do we wait and see? Do we actually have the right people on the team? Can we sell our way through this? We’re training, but training for what? And as many times as I hear people ask, “What’s the new normal?” my response is: “There is no new normal. There’s a new business reality.”
In some cases, opportunities are going to be scarce. There are industries that are going to be hunting in winter for a long time. On the flip side, there are also going to be new opportunities. There are going to be new products, new services to offer. This uncertainty is going to require us to sell more creatively.
And when you’re being creative, you’re going to think like a buyer, not a battleship.