Emotional Intelligence for Sales people

EQ the Impact on Sales Performance

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to a person’s ability to recognise and understand emotions within themselves and others.  It is the ability to use emotional cues as guide to one’s thoughts, behaviours and actions.

In addition, an emotionally intelligent person is able to adapt to changing environment yet continue to work towards a goal. Look at our Emotional Intelligence course on our website  https://afcconsultants.co.uk/personaldevelopment/emotional-intelligence/

If this sounds like the description of a successful salesperson, you’re correct. Emotional intelligence has an immense impact on sales performance.  In fact Colleen Stanley, author of Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success describes EI as;

“It’s your ability to identify, assess and control your own emotions and other’s emotions. Hence, It has a direct impact on sales results.”

Emotional Intelligence in Sales

In 1995 Daniel Goleman published his book Emotional Intelligence.  In the book, Goleman claims that EI matters more than technical expertise when it comes to job performance and leadership.  Furthermore, he states that 67% of the abilities required for success derive from emotional intelligence.

Consequently this rings true in sales, where the ability to develop and sustain relationships is essential to success.  The true test of a great salesperson is when you put them in stressful situations. Many make the mistake of letting their emotions overpower their purpose/ goal. This leads to unproductive behaviours i.e:

  • product dumping
  • pursuing non-qualified leads
  • Focusing on the timewasters and low returns and not the 20% of your key customers

The result of these bad behaviours can turn prospects off, instead of bringing them into the fold.

A study by Gallup consultants Tony Rutigliano and Benson Smith claims that customer satisfaction and loyalty depend on their emotional connection with the salesperson. They say that a customer is 12 times more likely to remain loyal if they like the salesperson.

Top Emotional Intelligence Competencies in Sales

There are key emotional intelligence competencies that are shared by successful sales people which are shown below:-


Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your prospect.  It is when you go outside of yourself in order to be aware and understand another person’s feelings and needs.

Questions to pose to yourself:-

  • Are you able to look at them objectively?
  • Do you try to understand their motivations?
  • Is your customer service attentive and able to anticipate customer needs?


Frst of all shift your focus from your prospects and look at yourself.  Remember that you also have your own set of motivations and needs as well as your own strengths and limitations.  Hence understanding self also affects how you reach out to others.

It is also important that the salesperson is being authentic and not trying to be something they are not.  Being inauthentic is often transparent and is a turn off for most customers.  In conclusion customers buy from people they can associate with and trust.

If they feel they are being forced into buying and the salesperson is not being genuine, it’s a big turn off.  Therefore being inauthentic will affect success and the ability to sell, leading to non-performance and lack of fulfilment.  At AFC we run a course called ‘Behind the Mask’ and also deliver Coaching programmes on the subject – see https://afcconsultants.co.uk/personaldevelopment/behind-the-mask/

Questions to pose to yourself:-

  • Do you come across as confident (assertive) or as a bully (aggressive)?
  • Are you able to stand your ground and persuade your audience to consider your side?
  • Are you able to build trusting, respectful and long term customer relationships?
  • Can you influence and gain the commitment of your prospect?
  • Do your customers like, trust and respect you?

Colleen Stanley puts it succinctly: “Know thyself.

  • What are your hot buttons?
  • What situations cause you to react or not act in a manner that serves you well personally and professionally?”

In conclusion, once you have a good level of self-awareness, you can be strategic in how you approach business relationships.  Play on your strengths instead of highlighting your weaknesses.  Put your best foot forward as you work towards self-improvement and becoming a more emotionally intelligent salesperson.


A salesperson is constantly faced with rejection, has to be resilient and have a good level of EI to succeed.  They need to have a good understanding of their own self-esteem, others and own expectations and a high level of empathy.


Questions to pose to yourself:-

  • What do you want for yourself and how do you hope to achieve this?
  • Are you driven enough to attain your goals?
  • Do you have what it takes to sustain the work necessary to achieve these goals?

There is a process in sales which usually takes months.  It is not a role suited to someone who is incapable of delayed gratification. The hours are long; and the work can sometimes be frustrating. Furthermore, you need to be driven, consistent, and optimistic if you want to succeed in sales.

Emotional Intelligence for Your Sales Team

According to Collen Stanley: “Elevating your Sales EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) helps you winl bigger deals, in less time at full margin. You have a sales team that knows how to manage themselves, read prospects better and overall are more enjoyable to work with.”

Several high-profile companies, such as Motorola, 3M, American Express, Honeywell and MetLife have begun to offer emotional intelligence improvement programs as part of their management training.  While EI in sales is still new, several sales leaders are already integrating emotional intelligence training into their sales training programs.

Finally, if you are managing a sales force and like this article, pick up the phone or email us today to discuss a training or coaching programme.  Call 07702 818665 or email training@afcconsultants.co.uk

This article has been adapted from an original article by Tenfold https://www.tenfold.com/what-is-the-emotional-intelligence