Sales and Emotional Intelligence Training for Sales Managers, Sales Professionals, and Entrepreneurs
Research into Emotional Intelligence has shown that there is a strong relationship between this ability and sales performance1. Daniel Goleman then made the concept better known since 1995 with his book by the same name. If you think about it, this makes complete sense. Do you work better when you’re happy, or unhappy? Furthermore, emotional intelligence increases our ability to empathise. This in turn, helps us to understand and sell to our prospects better. Zig Ziglar once said “Selling is essentially a transference of feelings!” Today you’ll learn three ways you can improve your emotional intelligence, which will in turn improve your sales performance.
Emotional Intelligence Tip #1: Put your health first Your emotions will be heavily influenced by the three pillars of health. This includes exercise2, sleep3, and nutrition4. What’s that? You don’t have time for that? That my friend, is exactly why you need to prioritise your health! Think about it – have you ever set out to do sales activities… Only you didn’t? Or, how enthusiastic are you when trying to work after a late night? Your emotional and physical energy levels will directly influence your sales. When your body is deprived of these factors, you simply cannot work at your best. I’ll make my tips for you simple but scientific. Here are three ways you can improve your physical health:
- Walk (or jog) outside for 30 minutes a day. You’ll benefit from the physical activity, and the sunlight will also enhance your mood5.
- Sleep for 8 hours a day. The reality is that what you do outside of work affects how you perform at work! Because this tip is easier said than done, I highly recommend you check out the book Sleep Smarter for great advice on improving your sleep.
- Reduce sugar intake and eat more low GI foods. High GI foods have been correlated with depression and fatigue6. Therefore, you can protect yourself against common negative emotions that naturally arise with sales.
Emotional Intelligence Tip #2: Practice meditation daily Emotional intelligence begins with understanding what you are feeling. By practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, you will more easily identify your emotions. As a result, you will be better positioned to handle those feelings. When practicing mindfulness, listen to your inner-monologue. Are there any negative thoughts or limiting beliefs? Challenge them! Ask yourself questions like “Is there any truth to it?” or “Where did that come from?” If you replace negativity with positivity, you can improve your emotional state and sales performance. By the way, sitting still for more than 3 minutes will probably feel a little uncomfortable! Nowadays, our minds are being constantly stimulated. For this reason, I strongly recommend using an app like Calm or Headspace so you can learn the basics. After one or two weeks of using the program, I recommend you practice mindfulness for 10 minutes a day. Your stress levels will likely drop7 and unlock your potential to sell more.
Emotional Intelligence Tip #3: Empathise through active listening
Empathy is the foundation of emotional intelligence for others. By practicing it, you will better understand other people. With this, you will be better equipped to understand what your prospects are going through, and sell more effectively. To increase empathy, I recommend that you become an expert in active listening. These are the three key components of active listening:
- Acknowledgement: Keep eye contact. You can make subtle sound cues like “hmm” or “uh huh” to help your prospect know that you are listening. Nod your head and use other non-verbal body language.
- Reflection: Let your prospect know that you understand. You may start your sentences with “So what you are saying is… ” or “Just so I understand… “
- Follow-up: Ask related questions to better understand what the prospect is saying. Doing so will demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying.
Emotional intelligence is essential for successful sales professionals. The above action steps are simple, but often neglected. I’d like to encourage you to put your health first, practice mindfulness, and empathise more. Doing so will grow your emotional intelligence and subsequent sales performance. Because of the numerous tips provided, 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
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)
3 Deliens, G., Gilson, M. & Peigneux, P. Exp Brain Res (2014) 232: 1403. Sleep and the processing of emotions
4 White, D. (2016). Improving Your Emotional Health Through Healthier Eating. Psych Central.
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.
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.
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