5 Ways to Use Emotional Intelligence in Sales Conversations
Ever since the 1960s, emotional intelligence (EQ) has been recognized as a critical component of both personal and professional success. Decades of research have shown that sales reps with high emotional intelligence produce twice the revenue of reps with average or below average EQ.
Why is this? We tend to think our purchasing decisions are solely based on logic. But in reality, the actual journeys of both buyer and seller ultimately rely on sales triggers that appeal to their emotions. That’s why using emotional intelligence in sales is so effective and important.
Despite the research backing up the use of EQ, many organizations overlook this important tactic. They focus primarily on building hard sales skills on their sales teams while neglecting emotional intelligence skills.
Don’t fall into this trap. Here, we share five tactics to help you use emotional intelligence in your next sales conversation and close the sale with EQ.
What is emotional intelligence?
From a sales standpoint, emotional intelligence can be defined as: “a salesperson’s ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power of their own emotions during interactions with buyers.”
If you have high emotional intelligence, you can express and control emotions. You’re also able to read the emotions of others and respond to them with empathy. Mental Health America lists emotional intelligence as one of the most important factors in creating a mentally healthy workplace.
Why does emotional intelligence matter in sales?
Emotional intelligence is especially important in the sales industry. When you work in sales, your job is centered around creating connections with strangers. Emotional intelligence is a valuable skill that helps you do that.
Salespeople with a high EQ can more easily solve customer problems and generate revenue. In one study, sales reps who received emotional intelligence training outsold the control group by an average of 12% — over $55,000 each.
5 ways your sales team can use EQ in their next sales conversation
Good news: If your EQ skills are lacking, you can improve them with a little work. Here are five ways to incorporate emotional intelligence in your next sales call.
#1. Practice active listening
Active listening is a practice where you make a conscious effort to not only hear the words the other person is saying, but to understand their underlying message. This is effective because you will better understand and relate to your prospect, bolstering your emotional connection.
Improve your listening skills by summarizing what the other person says: “What I’m hearing from you is… Is that correct?” You should also nod and smile to show that you’re listening to their words. Don’t interrupt them, but respectfully respond once they’re finished talking.
#2. Be optimistic and upbeat
Researchers have discovered that it’s hard to frown when you’re looking at somebody who is smiling. That’s why it’s so important to use a friendly smile and warm tone of voice during your sales calls. People are much more receptive to a smiling face.
A big part of this is being aware of your emotions and mood. If you’re feeling antsy on a long Friday afternoon or you’re stressed about a big project, this can have an impact on your sales call and on your ability to connect with a prospect. Check in with yourself to see if you need to make changes to your mood and demeanor — maybe incorporating regular exercise or more time with friends into your week to balance out your professional life.
#3. Use emotional expression
Facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language all help get your message across (and cement that you’re friendly and approachable). Body language is equally as important for video meetings; try leaning toward the screen to make an important point, or sitting back in your chair if it seems like the other person needs space. Whether in person or on screen, make sure your team is appropriately utilizing emotional expression on sales calls.
#4. Build empathy
Step into a prospect’s shoes and treat them the way you’d want to be treated. Be flexible and understanding. By now, we all know what it’s like to be interrupted by a child or pet on a video call while working from home. Extend grace to your prospect, diffusing interruptions with a kind comment or a sense of humor.
#5. Provide resources
Your goal is to provide something of value to your prospect, whether or not they take you up on your offer. Research or industry updates — maybe a case study in a comparable industry, or an ebook on a relevant topic — are good to offer. If you aren’t sure where to find resources like these, OneAffiniti can help provide valuable resources for your team to use.
Being as helpful as possible is a great way to approach a call. Your prospect will be disarmed if you approach the conversation with something that’s free and valuable, rather than launching straight into your pitch. And when you are ready to talk about your product or service, the prospect will be more willing to listen.
Close more sales with emotional intelligence
It’s been long proven that emotional intelligence leads to higher revenue — and, more than that, it adds value to a prospect’s journey. Sales teams should adopt these EQ tactics in their training and conversations to improve all aspects of the sales experience.
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