The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Sales

Everyone knows that change is a constant and change can also bring you adversity, especially in sales. Specifically, your sales reps will be confronted with change and adversity on almost a daily basis. Some of your reps will manage the change easily, some will not. Your top performing sales reps will use their Emotional Intelligence (EI) to get through tough times. As a sales leader, you should recognize this and not underestimate the importance of emotional intelligence in sales.

Emotional intelligence

According to the Business Dictionary, Emotional Intelligence is defined as “The ability to identify, assess and influence one’s own feelings and those of others”.

Emotional Intelligence is part of everyone and it can be trained and developed. Generally, it can take years of training for your sales reps to achieve high Emotional Intelligence. Nevertheless, it is the key trait of most top performing sales reps. Further, a study of Fortune 500 companies found that salespeople with high Emotional Intelligence outperformed those with medium to low EI by 50%.

Four major elements of Emotional Intelligence


Self-awareness is your ability to see how you present yourself to your prospects and customers. And, by knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can emphasize the positive aspects of your personality. It helps you see how your customers perceive you. Self-awareness is your first step in engaging with your prospects and customers.


Self-management is your ability to manage your thoughts and behavior. Without it your customer relationships will be at risk. Further, self-awareness has little value if you cannot manage your emotions. Finally, given the fact that change and adversity are constant, your reps will need to keep their emotions in check. And, good self-management skills will help your reps build and maintain solid relationships with your prospects and customers.

Social Awareness

Social awareness will help you to look outward, to learn about others, and to empathize with them. Accordingly, when your reps are engaging with a prospect, they will stay focused on moving the relationship forward. So, your sales reps that practice social awareness will persevere through rejections. Because they will be aware of their own actions, they will also try to understand the actions of others.

Relationship Management

Relationship management skills help your sales reps maintain and nurture your customer relationships. And, it is an ongoing practice, because it can take months and even years to develop a strong relationship with just one customer. Your rep’s relationships with your customers are based on how well they manage them. Therefore, success with this skill set is largely dependent on your Emotional Intelligence.

In Conclusion

The importance of Emotional Intelligence in sales cannot be understated. In fact, when dealings with your customers, it is a required skill set for your success.

In summary, companies that do a better job of developing the EI of their sales reps, outperform those who do not. How effective is your company at managing emotional intelligence among your sales reps? Have you seen growth in your own EI over the span of your career? Of course, your high EI sales rep would say, yes!

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