Spotlight

Expert Talk: The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Sales and Sales Leadership

Emotional intelligence plays a major role in sales conversations. This new series of expert talks opens with Colleen Stanley sharing interesting facts about the importance of emotional intelligence in sales and sales leadership.

Colleen is president of SalesLeadership, a sales development firm specializing in the integration of emotional intelligence, sales, and sales leadership skills.

“Know Thyself”: Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in Sales and Sales Leadership?

Have you ever found yourself in a sales conversation and suddenly felt like you had forgotten all you had learned? Have you ever been tempted to desperately lower the price of your offer, although you knew that you should focus on value and not on price? We all know how important hard selling skills are, and every salesperson spends years learning to master them. However, during challenging sales conversations, many salespeople fail to implement them. Emotional intelligence is what fills the gap between knowing and doing. Improving our self-awareness can strengthen our ability to control and overcome our triggers to maintain focus during challenging conversations. And that’s where emotional intelligence starts.

 emotional intelligence in sales

What Are the Most Important Emotional Intelligence Skills?

 

 1. The Three Es: Emotion Management, Emotional Self-Awareness, and Empathy

The Three Es allow us to tune into our own emotions and tune out other people. It represents the basis for building our emotional intelligence skills.

Managing our emotions reduces fight or flight conversations, which tend to be non-productive and keep us from executing the right selling behaviors. Emotional self-awareness helps us to recognize our patterns and prevent ourselves from repeatedly making the same mistakes. Last but not least, empathy is essential to create personal connections that accelerate trust, improve relationships, and, in the long run, increase closed deals.

 

2. Stress Management Skills

Most salespeople regard sales as a stressful job. Under these circumstances, if we don’t learn how to manage stress, we will have high cortisone levels, resulting in fatigue. A salesperson who feels this way can’t be productive, and there are no hard skills that can change that. Managing stress reduces frustration, increases productivity, and makes our jobs and lives much more comfortable.

 

3. Recognizing and Escaping Self-Limiting Belief Systems

People love stories. We even construct our own identity around the stories we tell ourselves. And by repeating these stories over and over again, they become the truth. If you believe in yourself, you will be motivated, resilient and increase the chances in accomplishing your personal and professional goals. On the contrary, if you think you are not good enough, you will probably feel defeated before even trying. How do you fix that? The first step would be finding out what you believe about yourself. Once you have discovered your self-limiting belief system, change your story. Easier said than done. No-one said a high EQ was easy to achieve.

 

4. Embracing Failure and Feedback

We cannot achieve mastery without failure and feedback. Nevertheless, our culture doesn’t recognize the value of these qualities, making it harder for us to embrace them. It is essential to keep in mind that, when we fail, we do so in what we do for a living, not as human beings. Our value as a person has nothing to do with how successful we are at a particular task. Being able to separate our “do” from our “who” is called self-regard. People with high self-regard can admit their strengths and weaknesses and accept failure and feedback without taking it personally. 

 

How Can Emotional Intelligence Support Sales Leaders and Their Teams During Challenging Times?

 

The change curve, initially developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is a model that shows the different emotions that people experience when something in their lives or environment drastically changes.

The Change Curve

 Source: https://ic-space.gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/change-communications/understanding-how-people-react-to-change/

As we can see in the graphic above, our first emotional response when something hits us is shock. From there, we go through denial, frustration, and then we hit bottom and feel depressed. We have probably seen ourselves going through some of these stages after the Covid pandemic hit us. But as the curve shows us, there comes the point where we start accepting our new reality, adapt, and move on.

Using our emotional self-awareness, we need to ask ourselves at which stage we are along the curve of change. Some of us might still feel resistance, while some might have started accepting the new reality and learning the important skills for us now. Emotional intelligence allows us to focus on the bright side and keep walking forward. Again, this will make our jobs and lives easier and even give us an advantage edge.

“It is time to incorporate emotional intelligence skills into your sales and leadership process.”

Colleen Stanley

About Colleen Stanley

Colleen is president of SalesLeadership, a sales development firm specializing in the integration of emotional intelligence, sales, and sales leadership skills. She is the author of three books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Leadership. Colleen has been named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers and Top 30 Global Sales Gurus. Additionally, she was also named by Salesforce as one of the top experts of the 21st century. 

 

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