EQ and sales success

How can EQ be a powerful factor for sales success?

Those of you that know me and have got to know me over the past 5 years will realise that I’m hooked on EQ (emotional intelligence) and the benefits of honing these skills for business. Not without good reason.
EQ is critical for leadership and all levels of sales skills. Some studies show that around 60% of global businesses are using EQ as part of their pre-screening process for recruitment of high level personnel.

Emotional intelligence or being ‘People Smart’ as termed by Howard Gardener is the skill to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to discern emotional distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and make up of others, and the ability to see different perspectives. http://infed.org/mobi/howard-gardner-multiple-intelligences-and-education/

Some of us use the phrase ‘knowing what makes people tick’. But to truly master this ability, we must listen actively, empathize, and acknowledge other viewpoints. We need to ask questions that clarify what a person is trying to say. Understanding people means going beyond the words they speak and learning how to interpret the unspoken. We need to read other people’s styles and motives so that we can work with them effectively.

If we accept the widely held belief that most sales purchases are based on emotions then we can appreciate that understanding what makes your customer ‘tick’ is essential.


All the sales skills in the world will not necessarily enable us to truly understand what our customer wants, what mood they’re in, what stresses they are under. A good example is the scenario of a first meeting with a customer. If we rewind to her previous meeting she is overwhelmed with current workload and has just come out of a meeting where tight deadlines have to be met immediately. She’s  forgotten that you are coming to see her (does happen!). Although she’s friendly, her expression, tone of voice and body language indicate stress.

Let’s hope that you would listen actively, nod with appreciation and helpfully suggest an alternative date when she is able to accommodate you. I’d wager some would still battle on and try to get her to listen…and lose any chance of commitment and future relationship.

In Primal Leadership, the authors identified four main dimensions or building blocks of the “emotional mind” that are essential for learning of emotional intelligence. The first two come under the umbrella of personal skills and the last two are social skills.

Self-Awareness: the ability of an individual to be in tune with her/his own feelings and to recognize the impact that her/his feelings have on others. The competency that underpins this dimension is emotional self-awareness.

Self-Management: the ability to keep negative emotions and impulsive behaviour under control, stay calm and unflappable even under stressful situations, maintain a clear and focused mind directed on accomplishing a task. The required competencies for this dimension are a positive outlook, emotional self-control, achievement orientation, and adaptability.

Social Awareness: the ability to read or sense other people’s emotions and how they impact on the situation of interest or concern. The competencies for this dimension include empathy and organizational awareness.

People are quite naturally self oriented and anxious to impose their own world view on others.

Relationship Management: the ability to influence, guide and handle other people’s emotions. The competencies that underlay this dimension include inspirational leadership, influence, coaching and mentoring, conflict management, and teamwork.

Your success in this final area is successfully correlated to your success in the other 3 areas because management is all about getting things done through other people some of who you have no direct control over.

The social skill of influence is enhanced when you are seen as being trustworthy and having positive intentions.

If you’re interested to see how we use EQ in specification selling, contact us at https://hardingconsult.co.uk/contact/