How To Improve Sales Using Emotional Intelligence

Mikita Mikado

Success in selling isn’t so much a step-by-step formula as a variable plan based on insights.

Sure, it’s about getting the right message in front of the right audience and presenting it in a way that’s compelling. But there’s something else behind all of that: knowing who your audience is and what they care about most.

The best sales strategies leverage emotions to capture and convert an audience. To sell, you need to check audience members’ emotional temperature and evaluate where they’re at. What causes a response, and what causes them to turn away?

In her book Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, Colleen Stanley shows that when salespeople can access their emotions and the emotions of others, it has a direct impact on sales.

Here are a few emotional qualities to tap into to boost your strategy and sell more:

1. Empathy

Sales reps are trained to say all the right things, but if they don’t communicate empathy, they’re missing out on a big opportunity to connect with prospects. If they don’t speak to prospects in a way that tells them, “I understand and feel your pain,” the prospect might feel interrogated.

Adjust your strategy to help sales reps form partnerships with prospects by coming alongside them and meeting them right where they are. Show prospects success stories of other customers who have experienced the same issues they’re experiencing, and explain how the situation changed. Present it in a tangible way, such as through a video or an interactive presentation.

2. Frustration

Not all prospects need the same information to decide whether or not they want to buy. Each one will be at a different level of “frustration” within their pain point and each will be working under different circumstances.

Sales reps need to ask the right questions to determine what’s important to prospects and know their limitations.

For example, what is their budget? What is the minimum service/product you can provide to help them see results? What changes/improvements are most important for them to see right away? If you don’t have this information, your team risks sending them a beautifully crafted proposal only to hear it’s out of their budget, or your service/product isn’t a priority for them.

3. Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships, especially in business. In fact, a study published in Volume 7 of the European Journal Of Business And Management in 2015 found keeping the buyer’s best interest in mind gave the supplier (or seller) a competitive advantage.

One of the biggest factors in building trust is showing prospects that their needs come first. Sometimes reps can enter “selling mode” and start throwing prices at buyers or negotiating offers without first talking to them about their needs.

Remind sales managers and reps it’s not all about pushing the product or service, but rather building a trusting relationship to a point where prospects ask them for support or help solving a problem. The only way to get to that point is to make them feel comfortable enough to share their challenges with you by showing you truly care.

4. Spirit

While staying alert to the emotions of prospects should be a priority, don’t neglect the other piece of the puzzle: your sales team. A team of overwhelmed, exhausted salespeople won’t get you anywhere.

Notice when team members look drained of energy or seem to have lost their spirit. That might be a sign it’s time to improve processes so your team can achieve more downtime.

In downtime people gain more clarity,” Stanley said in an interview with Jill Konrath. “They get to think about the what and why behind their actions or inactions. It gives them the insight to be more disciplined in future interactions.”

Help your team avoid burnout from cumbersome, frustrating processes by adopting an all-in-one sales document management solution, or integrate your sales collateral with your CRM to save time on data entry. Encourage your team to take frequent breaks, get some exercise and fresh air, or even let them recharge with a nap, like Google does.

If your team is taking all the right steps to sell but is not closing many deals, look at the way reps are connecting with prospects. Pay attention to how reps are cultivating relationships. The answer may lie in incorporating emotional intelligence into your strategy to approach prospects more effectively.

What are some other ways you can use emotional intelligence to improve your sales? Share in the comments below!

Want more sales strategies that boost your bottom line? See How To Track Leads From Marketing To Sales.

About Mikita Mikado

Mikita Mikado is the Co-Founder & CEO of PandaDoc, a platform helping sales teams create, deliver, and track intelligent sales content to close deals faster.