Sales and Emotional Intelligence Training for Sales Managers, Sales Professionals, and Entrepreneurs
Approximate read time: 3 minutes
Since Daniel Goleman popularised Emotional intelligence in 1995, further research has demonstrated that there is a strong correlation between the skill and sales performance1. Intuitively this makes sense – positive feelings help us to work more effectively. Further, empathy helps us to sell to our clients’ pain points. To put it in the words of Zig Ziglar: “Selling is essentially a transference of feelings!” Today I’m going to share with you three ways to improve your emotional intelligence, which will in turn increase your sales.
Emotional Intelligence Tip #1: Prioritise your health
Our emotions are largely determined by the three pillars of health. Namely, these are exercise2, sleep3, and nutrition4. I can already hear you saying “I don’t have time for that!”… However that my friend, is exactly the reason you need to pay more attention to your health!
Have you ever sat at your desk, determined to make sales calls… Except you don’t? Or, how enthusiastic are you when working on sub-optimal sleep? Your ability to sell effectively is directly influenced by your emotional and physical energy levels. You cannot possibly work at your best when your body is crying out for sustenance.
In the interests of keeping things simple yet scientific, here are three methods to improve your physical health:
- Walk (or jog) outside for 30 minutes a day. In addition to benefiting from physical activity, you will also enjoy the mood-altering effects of sunlight5.
- Sleep for 8 hours a day. Remember, what you do outside work will affect how you perform at work! This is often much easier said than done, so I highly recommend you check out the book Sleep Smarter for practical tips on achieving this.
- Reduce sugar intake and eat more low GI foods. High GI diets have been associated with negative emotions and fatigue6. As a result, you will protect yourself against common emotional dips normally associated with sales.
Emotional Intelligence Tip #2: Practice mindfulness daily
Emotional intelligence begins with awareness of how you feel. By practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, you can identify what you are experiencing. Consequently, you will be better positioned to handle those emotions.
When meditating, listen to your inner-dialogue. If you identify any negative thoughts or limiting beliefs, challenge them. Ask questions like “How true is that?” and “How did I come to believe it?” Replace negativity with positivity to improve your emotional state and sales performance.
As a note of caution, sitting still for more than 3 minutes will initially feel very uncomfortable! We are living in a time when our minds are constantly stimulated. This is why I highly recommend using apps like Calm or Headspace to teach you the basics. Once you have the hang of it, practice mindfulness for 10 minutes a day. This will help reduce your stress levels7 and increase your sales performance.
Emotional Intelligence Tip #3: Practice active listening
Empathy is at the very core of emotional intelligence when dealing with others. It allows us to understand how others feel. In turn, this allows us to gear our sales presentation to meet their felt needs. If you want to increase your empathy, one simple step is to become excellent at active listening.
Here are the three key components of active listening:
- Acknowledgement: Keep eye contact. Nod your head, and give subtle sound cues like “uh huh” or “hmm” to help your prospect know that you are listening.
- Reflection: Tell the prospect what you understand. This might mean starting your sentence with “So what you are saying is…” or “Just so I understand…”
- Follow-up: Ask a related question to dig deeper into what the prospect is saying. This shows that you are listening and genuinely interested.
Emotional intelligence is critical for high-performing sales professionals. The steps to increase it are simple, but often neglected. By prioritising your health, meditating, and empathising, you can increase your emotional intelligence and subsequent sales performance. Because of the large number of practical tips provided, I’d like to encourage you to choose just one habit to put into practice immediately. You’ll be happy you did!
1 Elizabeth J Rojell Ph.D., Charles E. Pettijohn DBA & R. Stephen Parker DBA (2014) Emotional Intelligence and Dispositional Affectivity as Predictors of Performance in Salespeople, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 14:2, 113-124, DOI: 10.2753/MTP1069-6679140202
2 Edwards, Meghan; Rhodes, Ryan; Loprinzi, Paul (2017) A Randomized Control Intervention Investigating the Effects of Acute Exercise on Emotional Regulation, American Journal of Health Behavior, Volume 41, Number 5, September 2017, pp. 534-543(10), DOI: https://doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.41.5.2
3 Deliens, G., Gilson, M. & Peigneux, P. Exp Brain Res (2014) 232: 1403. Sleep and the processing of emotions, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-014-3832-1
4 White, D. (2016). Improving Your Emotional Health Through Healthier Eating. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/improving-your-emotional-health-through-healthier-eating/
5 An M, Colarelli SM, O’Brien K, Boyajian ME (2016) Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0155614. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155614
6 Breymeyer KL, Lampe JW, McGregor BA, Neuhouser ML. Subjective Mood and Energy Levels of Healthy Weight and Overweight/Obese Healthy Adults on High-and Low-Glycemic Load Experimental Diets. Appetite. 2016;107:253-259. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.08.008
7 Jenny Gu; Clara Strauss; Rod Bond; Kate Cavanagh (2014) How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies, Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 37, April 2015, Pages 1-12 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2015.01.006