How to Use Emotional Intelligence to Win New Business

How to Use Emotional Intelligence to Win New Business

As sales becomes increasingly competitive, emotional intelligence (EI) is becoming increasingly essential. Clients feel safe with and trust their vendors. As a result, building relationships with buyers has become necessary to acquire new business. Unsurprisingly, emotional intelligence has been more strongly correlated with sales success than IQ! If part of your role requires acquiring new clients, this article show you how to use emotional intelligence to win new business.

Tip #1: To win new business, be value and client-centric

Nothing repels buyers faster than self-centred sellers. If you ramble about how great your product and company is on the first call, you will probably annoy or scare your prospects!

Contrast this with the value-centric approach. Rather than leading conversations with your product, find something of value you can give. Detach yourself from the outcome and focus on being helpful.

For example, you may provide research or industry updates. This way, your agenda is both commercial and relational. Your potential buyers will put up less sales resistance if you are approaching with an attitude of giving.

To further illustrate, when I used to sell online marketing services, I usually offered prospects one of three resources:

  • Client case studies in similar (but not competitive) industries, providing insights on what is possible for their business
  • A complimentary site audit, allowing them to improve their search engine visibility without necessarily working with us
  • Upcoming Google updates, which allowed them to prepare their website ahead of schedule

Remember, your mindset should be about building relationships and giving regardless of the outcome. This attitude will increase feelings of trust and help you to win new business. Ultimately, this will lead to lowered sales resistance. In addition, be mindful of the cost of providing the free resource. From the examples above, site audits were the most costly due to the manual work required to generate the reports.

Action Step: What value can you offer prospects as an agenda to meet with you?

Tip #2: Be friendly and energetic

Our emotions are highly contagious! For better or worse, our emotional state will influence your buyer’s. If you are grumpy, negative, or indifferent, you can be sure that your prospects will avoid you. By contrast, greet potential buyers with a warm smile and tone of voice. This will immediately increase their receptivity and help you to win new business!

From a practical standpoint, simply trying to be more friendly and energetic is unlikely to yield the desired result. Rather, these are a by-product of a well balanced personal life. In your personal time, spend quality time with loved ones. Or, look after your physical health. Doing so will mean you can more naturally exhibit the above behaviours.

Action Step: What change can you make to improve your emotional balance?

Tip #3:To win new business, practice active listening

Empathy is more important than ever as we enter the age of virtual selling. The cornerstone of emotional intelligence is our ability to relate to the emotions of others. In sales, this means understanding how our buyers think, feel, and make decisions. When meeting with prospective clients, you must build a mental and emotional connection to earn their trust.

Since empathy is about understanding others, the best way to achieve this is by listening effectively. “Active listening” creates synchrony between buyer and seller. As a result, your buyers will feel understood and trust your recommendations more.

There are many ways to improve your listening skills. However, the simplest and most effective practice is paraphrasing. To practice this, simply state back to the prospect what they said in your own words. If the prospect responds “That’s right,” you have listened effectively! However, don’t worry if you reflect incorrectly. Simply attempting to understand your buyer will already increase their connection and trust with you!

Action Step: Practice active listening with your prospects, friends, and family!


As the sales landscape continues to grow more competitive, emotional intelligence will be a key differentiator of successful sales professionals. To grow your emotional intelligence, focus on being client and value-centric. In addition, develop personal balance to be more friendly and energetic. Finally, practice active listening. This will earn the trust of your buyers and help you to win new business!

Ben Lai is the founder of Sales Ethos, which provides emotionally intelligent sales training in Melbourne, Australia. His purpose is to empower sales and health professionals to become greater influencers. Ultimately, this means impacting the lives of their clients while increasing the profitability of the companies they work for.

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