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The Best Salesperson Has the Highest Emotional Intelligence

November 8, 2010

Almost every business owner I know has difficulty hiring and keeping great sales people. From my experience, there is no behavior, and value assessment that you can rely on 100%.  My friend and Sales Trainer, Joe Zente just wrote a blog Sales Training Doesn’t Work. Like Joe, I believe that they help, but still do not yield great results. Specially designed sales compensation plans are of benefit and help an organization measure sales success, but still does not make great people. A statement that I do NOT believe is that great salespeople are born that way. So can an organization develop great sales people, and is there a simple key to recognizing people that can become great?

This is a true story. A business owner I know hired a sales person 3 months ago. He spent hours on training, and was quite confident that this person could do the job. This guy could cold call, he was intelligent, and learned the technical parts quickly. The team liked him, and he was starting to bring in business. And then as soon as there was a problem with a customer, and a personal situation the sales person left. Who knew? How can one predict?

Then there is the situation where you hire someone because of experience in a particular industry, and had to fire 6 months later because all his “friends” did not buy as expected. These difficulties in hiring and keeping sales people are the normal things that occur.

Recently I had a discussion with life coach Linda Seiden of Evoking Excellence Coaching, about Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EI).

Daniel Goleman is a pioneer in the concept about Emotional Quotient (EQ).  He wrote the book Emotional Intelligence in 1995 and how it is even more important than IQ. Here are the basic four dimensions of EI.

Self-Awareness: the ability to monitor one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, accurately assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses, while having a high level of self-worth and respect.
Self-Management: the ability to adapt to change, regulate disruptive emotions, take effective actions toward goals, reach for self-improvement, act with integrity, and act on opportunities and see the glass as half full rather than half empty.
People Radar: the ability to understand others, recognize and attend to customer’s needs, and sense the political relationships and culture within an organization.
People Skills: the ability to inspire, mentor, initiate change, work effectively through conflicts, influence others, and collaborate toward common goals.

From Linda’s experience, if a salesperson is focused on self-awareness and is willing to focus on that aspect there will be substantial bottom line results. Bradberry and Greaves in their book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 stated “83% of people high in self-awareness are top performers.” When one is self-aware your choices are better, your pursuit of the right opportunities as well as allowing your emotions to guide you and NOT hinder you. A salesperson can know a product inside out, but cannot have long term success without the abilities to forge strong relationships and assess how a client is feeling, and to cope with their own emotions.

Emotional Intelligence may manifest itself in
• Effectively dealing with difficult situations.
• Maintaining self-control when under pressure internally and externally with customers.
• Persuading others to support your point of view, and many other aspects of the sales process.

The good thing is that many of these skills can be learned. Important questions that you may want to explore further are:
• Where am I lacking in EI and EQ?
• Where are the sales people lacking in EI and how can it be improved?
• What questions can be asked for new employees to see where their EI is?
• Can you transform your sales development and training to emphasize the Emotional Quotient?

There are many offers on the internet to test your Emotional Intelligence.  If you are interested, go to the following for link for a quick free assessment at  Queendom

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 8, 2010 2:30 pm

    Emotional intelligence is certainly at least as important as the other kind of I.Q. for leaders as well as sales people. So many technical experts are promoted into management positions but fail because they don’t have the skills to deal with people. It has also been shown that the kinds of skills that are needed can indeed be learned but it does take work. But, it is always possible to learn better listening, feedback, and conflict resolutions skills that will increase your E.Q.

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