Sales Intelligence Blog

10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence (EI)

In the world of sales, emotional intelligence (EI) can often be more valuable than the most refined pitch. In fact, according to a study by TalentSmart, a leader in EQ testing, 58% of a salesperson's performance is influenced by their EQ. Especially fo new sales reps, who might not have a plethora of experience, honing their EI can bridge the gap between inexperience and success. 

Boosting Emotional Intelligence (EI) for New Sales Reps

Emotional intelligence involves recognizing, understanding, and managing our own emotions while also being cognizant of and influencing the emotions of others.

1. Understand the Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

Firstly, it’s crucial to grasp the five pillars of EI, as outlined by psychologist and author Daniel Goleman:

  1. Self-awareness - Recognizing your emotions as they arise.
  2. Self-regulation - Controlling and adapting emotions depending on the situation.
  3. Motivation - Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.
  4. Empathy - Recognizing and understanding the emotions in others.
  5. Social skills - Interacting and networking smoothly with others.

Understanding these pillars can give new reps a framework to build their EI.

2. Practice Active Listening

Active listening isn’t just about hearing the words that are being said, but also about understanding and interpreting them in an emotional context. For sales reps, this skill can uncover the underlying needs or concerns of a potential client.

To practice:

  • Avoid interrupting the speaker.
  • Give feedback by paraphrasing or summarizing what they said.
  • Avoid making judgments or offering solutions unless asked.

3. Seek Feedback

New reps might not always be aware of how they come across to others. Seeking feedback can help identify areas of improvement. Encourage peers, mentors, or managers to provide honest feedback on interactions, especially in areas related to emotion and understanding.

4. Reflect Daily

Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on interactions and emotions. Journaling can be an effective tool for this. By acknowledging and assessing emotions, sales reps can become more self-aware and identify patterns in their emotional responses.

5. Empathy Exercises

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is a cornerstone of EI. For sales reps, empathizing can make the difference between a closed deal and a lost opportunity.

Empathy exercises can include:

  • Role-playing: Switch roles with a peer and attempt to understand their perspective.
  • Active imagination: Imagine being in the client’s shoes, considering their needs, challenges, and emotions.

6. Improve Self-regulation

Impulsive actions or reactions can be detrimental in sales. To improve self-regulation:

  • Practice deep-breathing exercises or meditation to calm the mind.
  • Take a pause before reacting, especially in challenging situations.
  • Develop a mantra or affirmation that can help refocus during emotionally charged moments.

7. Continual Learning

Emotional intelligence, like any other skill, can be developed and refined over time. Reading books on EI, attending workshops, or taking online courses can provide new insights and strategies for improvement.

8. Strengthen Social Skills

Networking events, workshops, or team-building activities can help new reps improve their social skills. Learning to navigate different social scenarios and understanding group dynamics can be invaluable in sales.

9. Set Personal Goals

Goal-setting can help sales reps stay motivated and track their EI progress. This could be as simple as setting a goal to actively listen in every client meeting or to journal reflections for a month.

10. Find a Mentor

Having a mentor, preferably someone with strong EI, can provide guidance and perspective. They can offer invaluable feedback, share their experiences, and provide strategies that have worked for them.

Emotional intelligence can be the bridge to understanding, relating to, and influencing potential clients. For new sales reps, building EI can significantly increase their chances of success in the field. Through self-awareness, empathy, and continual learning, even those without a lot of sales experience can excel in understanding and navigating the complex world of human emotion. Remember, people buy from people, not companies. By connecting emotionally, new sales reps can build trust, rapport, and lasting business relationships.