The role of emotional intelligence in sales | Sunday Observer

The role of emotional intelligence in sales

9 January, 2022

Emotional intelligence, also known as Emotional Quotient (EQ) is defined by intellectuals as the ability to recognise, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and recognise, understand, and influence others in society. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are aware of their feelings deeply and how such emotions can affect others around them. 

Legendary business magnate, investor, and philanthropist Warren Buffet, also one of the richest men in the world, once said, “In the world of business, the people who are most successful are those who are doing what they love.” This is the first rule of emotional intelligence.

Throughout my long career as a salesman, I have always believed that what I sell is the best option for the customer and genuinely believed in the product, regardless of all other measures. Therefore, for those who are into selling, there is one rule; have trust in what you sell. Salesmen must apply this rule genuinely if they want to succeed.

Professional salespeople habitually know how to put themselves in customers’ shoes, hear their needs, and acknowledge their issues. Therefore, it’s not an imaginary psychological checklist to use when approaching customers. However, by being conscious of these sets of skills and practicing them mindfully, the conversion rate can be increased substantially. According to studies, a major portion of sales success comes from the emotional quotient of the salesperson.  

There is plenty of evidence to prove that emotional intelligence can boost up performance, leadership skills, self-confidence against the competition, and even general mental health.

Emotional intelligence primarily involves self-awareness to scrutinise and understand the customer’s emotions and perspectives. Hence, a salesman with good EQ can respond more appropriately in any business setting, particularly in a challenging selling environment.    

Meaningful relationships

Emotional intelligence, when the salesperson is conscious about the concept, helps build more meaningful relationships with others. This skill can be applied in any personal event in life in addition to professional situations. People with emotional intelligence stand out in society and are always liked by those who are in contact with them.

Selling is basically about being able to connect and build up trust with customers. In truth, no amount of subject knowledge or expertise can beat the credibility created by the trust. Emotional intelligence enhances the ability to listen deeply, an important ingredient in customer communication. 

When a prospect recognises that the salesman is listening intently, chances of entering into a meaningful and trustworthy conversation are very high. Customers often dislike salesmen who keep chattering and trying to push them to buy. By giving genuine undivided attention, the salesman establishes a feeling of reliance. In reality, such feelings can lead to a concrete closure of a sale.

There is a huge difference between learning the EQ skills and applying them successfully in a sale. Although a person can learn these skills by reading, the application is completely subjective and differs from person to person depending on the personality. The approach to the customer must be totally honest.

What are emotional management skills? They are a collection of abilities that can help react constructively to people and regulate emotional responses towards them. When salesmen know how to manage emotions, they make more rational choices and develop closer relationships with prospects and customers.

Predicting situations

In a professional set-up, these skills can help a person to perform many tasks such as resolving conflicts with customers, colleagues, or management, better service to customers, making more effective presentations, and adapting to changes.

Self-awareness is one of the key skills in EQ that allows a person to predict a situation compared to the understanding of that person’s emotional state. A salesperson’s responses to a customer can be improved tremendously when he or she is fully aware of his or her emotional state and reactions. Not only does self-awareness help a person to be more receptive but also it lowers the work environment stress levels to a great deal. Self-awareness also makes a person more resilient to challenges and obstacles.  

Salespeople must be given knowledge on stress management skills related to emotional intelligence. Historically, selling is regarded as an extremely stressful vocation as the professional performance of a sales practitioner completely depends on the customer’s reaction. Rejection and failure is a frequent occurrence in selling. 

Not only do the salesmen experience constant refusals but that can create constant stress-related fatigue. Therefore, learning stress management through emotional intelligence is an important requirement for a salesperson to reduce frustration, and increase enthusiasm. 

Regardless of how good the salesperson is, the persistent rejections put them down mentally at times. Every single professional salesman goes through this cycle and is affected by this. Emotionally intelligent salesmen, however, have excellent emotional control to identify their own negative feelings and work through them.

They manage such situations optimistically without letting their performances be affected. When they experience such situations like all other salespeople, they take control and not let negative feelings take over. 

Power base

Salespeople who understand emotional intelligence are inherently optimistic. By studying and practicing emotional intelligence skills, a salesman builds his power base that can perhaps last through the entire career span.  EQ teaches sales professionals that they can achieve seemingly impossible goals. 

People with good emotional intelligence skills understand their strengths and weaknesses through self-awareness. Just as in many areas in business, the awareness of strengths and weaknesses of oneself has numerous advantages. However, knowledge of these personal criteria has no use unless the individual is willing to adjust to situations and improve where they fall short. Salespeople with good EQ always are honest to them and at all times sync with reality.

Also, such salespeople are not only adaptable to a situation but also susceptible to others’ perceptions and opinions.  Adapting oneself according to the buyer’s need, belief, or taste is one of the key traits of a good salesman.

The flexibility of the salesperson in a competitive or critical situation in the process, even when such a person is out of their comfort zone is an emotional intelligence skill that should be mastered.  This can transcend the profession and help in one’s personal life to be a good human being in society.

Sales professionals with practiced emotional skills understand the value of time of the customer as well as their own. On one hand, professional salesmen are not timid pushovers for others to use, as they wish, simply because they try to do a sale. Nevertheless, on the other hand, they are conscious of the preciousness of time of other people.

Skillful salespeople know how to earn the respect of the customer as a professional, regardless of the type of personality of the buyer. 

Selling and all relevant criteria related have evolved extraordinarily during the past two decades due to the extremely rapid growth of digital technology. While the prospects are much more knowledgeable and more informed about products or services, salesmen also have easier access to analyse and assess prospects better. The traditional personal traits of salespeople are inadequate today to be successful in the extremely fiercely competitive market environment.

Hence, the emotional intelligence or the ability to identify and make use of emotions correctly of the staff members, particularly the sales team can play an unmatchable role in the success of a business.

Therefore, it is time for organisations to look at training sales staff on this important skill. Organisations must realise that developing EQ to master the feelings and behaviour is a necessity to aspiring greatness.