Emotional intelligence is, largely, the ability to understand and connect with people around you. Sales is, largely, the ability to understand and connect with people around you. It seems only natural, then, that improving your emotional intelligence will help you meet and beat sales goals, right? In fact, this is one of those times that common sense and science tend to agree. Improving your emotional intelligence will almost certainly help increase sales. What’s more, improving your understanding of emotional intelligence is also likely to improve sales.

If you’ve heard of emotional intelligence, it’s likely been from one of the recent stories about industry giants like Google implementing it into their hiring process to screen candidates. What you may not have heard of are companies that are using emotional intelligence training to increase the effectiveness of their sales staff. Instead of using EQ like a screening tool, these companies are integrating it into their sales training as another strong tool in the sales toolbox. In fact, you can think of EQ as two separate tools to increase sales: understanding EQ and improving EQ.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence To Improve Sales

The first tool in our emotional intelligence set is understanding. Understanding what emotional intelligence is and how it plays into interpersonal relations, specifically. This goes hand in hand with many other forms of sales training that teaches your sales staff how to “read” clients in order to anticipate how they might react to certain offers and tactics. Understanding the basic principles of emotional intelligence helps sales staff further refine their ability to read people.

Understanding the intricacies of how people process emotions, both their own and those of others, can give valuable insight into figuring out the right sales approach. When selling to someone with a low emotional intelligence, for example, a salesman might focus purely on the facts, using bold and unambiguous statements to avoid miscommunication.

Of course, that’s a very rudimentary example, but a thorough understanding of how emotional intelligence works can help a sales team tailor their pitch in a way that will best resonate with their client.

What’s even more interesting is that research published in sales trainer and expert Colleen Stanley’s best-selling book “Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success” which found that salespeople who matched a star profile ended up being 260% more effective than the average sales person. Understanding what characteristics indicate high emotional intelligence and recognizing those traits in the hiring process can help you build a powerhouse sales team that will exceed expectations and sales goals.

Increasing Emotional Intelligence To Increase Sales

You might think that anyone who works in sales is bound to have high emotional intelligence. That may be true (though not necessarily a guarantee), but it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. In fact, it’s possible to go your entire life without recognizing a sign of low EQ

[link to signs of low eq article]. What most people don’t realize is that EQ isn’t just a single number like IQ. Instead, emotional intelligence is made up of multiple components. Each major component is further broken down into more specific subsections. And while a top-notch salesman might have an overall high emotional intelligence level, there is always room for improvement.

Take for example self-perception. Self-perception covers those aspects of emotional intelligence that look inward. So while a sales employee might have high self-confidence and motivation, she may be lacking in emotional self-awareness – the ability to to understand your own emotions. So while our hypothetical salesperson may be driven to succeed and brimming with self-confidence, she may find herself held back by an inability to understand how they’re feeling and why they feel that way.

An emotional intelligence assessment can help employees understand their strengths and weaknesses, which in turn allows them to make improvements where they’re needed and to build their sales tactics around their strongest assets.

As a practical application, AMEX offered half of their financial advisors the opportunity to complete the Emotional Competence training program. During the year following the training program, the advisors that had completed the program grew their business by 18.1% as opposed to the untrained financial advisors, who only grew their business an average of 16.2%.

Understanding and being able to improve emotional intelligence from your sales team is an incredibly powerful sales tool. By utilizing current EQ assessment tools (like the EQ-i 2.0), you can significantly boost both the productivity and success of your sales team, as well as your company’s bottom line.