Emotional Intelligence Is A Sales Superpower

On this episode of the Sales Gravy Podcast, Jeb Blount sits down with Robin Hills, a business psychologist and expert in emotional intelligence from the UK.

  • Emotional intelligence is the ability to combine thinking and feelings to make good decisions and build high-quality relationships.
  • Emotional resilience is essential in sales, and it involves understanding and managing your own emotions to influence the emotions of others.
  • Mental resilience is also important in sales, and it involves having a clear vision of what you want to achieve, being flexible and adaptable, and having a support network.
  • Emotional resilience involves having a clear understanding of realistic optimism, which means having a clear vision of what you want to achieve, what outcomes you are looking for, and understanding that there is meaning in what you’re doing.
  • It’s important to have a support network of people you can turn to for help, and to establish a relationship of trust with your manager.
  • It’s important to interrupt negative self-talk and replace it with something positive, such as listening to a podcast or reading a book.
  • Complaining can turn a support group into a negative space, and it’s important to have constructive conversations and avoid cynicism.

Emotional intelligence is a concept that Daniel Goleman launched and popularized approximately 30 years ago.

Robin began his career in sales in the 1980s and has been selling consistently ever since. Although he no longer holds the title of salesperson, he proudly wore that badge for well over a quarter of a century.

Today, Robin’s company Ei4Change (Emotional Intelligence 4 Change) coaches and trains individuals and organizations on emotional intelligence, positive psychology, and neuroscience in the workplace.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to combine your thinking with your feelings in order to build high-quality relationships and make authentic decisions. While it is a simple concept, it can be difficult to execute, particularly in situations with intense emotions or pressure.

Relationships and decision-making play a crucial role in this process. It is essential to have high-quality relationships with people you can turn to and say, “Hey, I’m having a bad day. Can we talk about something other than work? Or do something together that can take my mind off things and help me get back to it tomorrow?” This allows you to step away from the situation and take a break.

Salespeople, in general, are mentally resilient and must demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence in order to be effective.

Field-based salespeople, who may not work in an office, often need to motivate themselves and have an inner drive to sell to their clients.

Salespeople handle a lot from customers and clients, and have good and bad days like everyone else. Emotional intelligence in sales involves understanding and managing your own emotions to influence the emotions of others.

You Choose How You React to Your Emotions

Emotions are a natural reaction to our environment, and we cannot control their occurrence. However, we can choose how we respond to them.

Emotions prepare our body mentally and physically for events, and the intensity of emotions compounds with each event. At a certain point, emotions can become so intense that making a simple, effective choice becomes difficult.

Experiencing fear, for example, is not something that we can control or prevent.

In such moments, we are faced with a choice: do we react irrationally to our fear and potentially put ourselves in danger, or do we use the presence of our emotions as information to assist us in productive, clear decision-making?

We can choose to become immobilized, paralyzed, or act out in self-destructive ways. and we can choose to handle our emotions, turn them into something constructive, and create positive outcomes.

This is where mental resilience comes into play. When under pressure and stress, mental resilience — the ability to go from setback to comeback — becomes essential.

Why Having A Support Network Is Crucial

Having the right relationships and support network is crucial, especially in sales when you are faced with difficult emotions like rejection, fear, and stress every day. When you need help, don’t hesitate to turn to your network for support.

It’s also important to establish a relationship of trust with your manager during good times, so that you can have a discussion about handling challenges when necessary.

In general, opening up to someone about a problem you are dealing with can be helpful. You may have heard the oft-quoted saying, “A problem shared is a problem halved.”

Consider talking to your spouse, friends, or colleagues at work. Who in your network can provide support for you when you need it? Who can you provide support to in return?

Think Before You Complain

Having a support group of people to talk to is a great idea. It gives you a much needed space to have cathartic conversations because sometimes, it’s crucial to vent and express frustrations.

Unfortunately, it’s easy for these groups to turn into complaining sessions rather than support groups. Complaining is like misery’s mating call. The more you complain, the more negative you become, and misery loves company.

This is especially true on sales floors, where people can start to believe that all buyers are liars, leading to poor decisions in the sales process and more misery.

When bad things happen, it’s important to talk about it and not hold onto it. However, it’s equally important to have constructive conversations about what happened and what the next steps should be. Know when to draw the line and redirect the conversation towards something positive.

Don’t Allow Cynicism to Destroy Your Faith

This is why you should turn to the people in your support network who can help you make good decisions, such as your manager who can remind you of your strengths as a salesperson.

Don’t allow cynicism to destroy your faith in the systems and processes that, statistically speaking, will result in more wins than losses if executed consistently.

We should view our emotions as something to be handled intelligently in order to build quality relationships and make authentic decisions.

If you have a bad sales day, have coping mechanisms and practice in place to help rebuild your confidence so that you can make the next sale effectively.

Remember that you wouldn’t have the job if you weren’t good at what you do.

Reflect on what made you successful and identify how you can replicate that success. These are questions that only you can answer, but you can also seek support from people who can offer you the right guidance and encouragement.

Manage Your Internal Messages

When faced with a problem, our internal voice can start chattering away, often negatively, which can have a massive impact on our ability to stage a comeback.

Affirmations may seem metaphysical to some people, but the important thing is to interrupt negative self-talk.

Sometimes, you just have to accept that there will be times when you need to take a break. There may be nothing anyone can do or say. You just have to make the decision that enough is enough and get away from the situation.

Other times, you may need to force yourself to keep going because you need to prove to yourself that you can do it and you’re strong enough to deal with the circumstances.

In sales conversations and situations, the person who exerts the most emotional resilience usually has the highest probability of achieving their desired outcome.

A breakdown in emotional resilience when things go wrong, or when you perceive that they are going wrong, can seriously impact your ability to make an income.

Always Replace The Negative With A Positive

Sometimes, when you are stuck in a negative headspace, it can help to say something nice to somebody. You have to change the words that you are saying and hearing in order to fix the little messages you are telling yourself internally.

If you don’t manage that internal message, the words you say to yourself could be your worst enemy. They can break down your resilience and tear it apart more than anything else.

Replacing your negative inputs with positive outputs can help you disrupt any spiraling and get you back on track, using your emotions in a constructive way.

Jeb Blount’s bestselling book Sales EQ: How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales-Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal helps guide salespeople through the many hurdles that many struggle with in building authentic relationships with prospects. Download our free Sales EQ Book Club Guide HERE.

About the author

Jeb Blount

Jeb Blount is one of the most sought-after and transformative speakers in the world…

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