Top tips to build your Emotional Intelligence in sales

Improving your Emotional Intelligence will super charge your Sales Performance

Many sales people know how to sell – the knowledge of selling. However, during stressful selling situations, they can allow their emotions to run the sales processes or meetings, rather than utilising their effective selling and influencing skills. Getting the mental part of the sales “game” in place is critical for peak performance. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions, but also the ability to recognise and adapt to the emotions of others.  Great sales people are able to master their own emotions before, during and after the sale.

Emotional Intelligence is something that can be developed and honed, it is a learnt skill.  As we go into a New Year, with political and corporate uncertainty (avoiding the “B” word), it is even more important to incorporate emotional intelligence into your sales and management development within your organisation. We love to share our favourite ideas and so here are the best tips to boost your Emotional Intelligence:


Assertive sales people say what they need to confidently, without being overly aggressive or passive, and look for mutually beneficial outcomes. Lack of assertiveness can create victim sales cultures. Striking that assertive balance will allow you to hold onto margin for longer, have confidence in your product or service capability, and qualify in/out quicker rather than relentlessly pursuing that dead duck! Check out the Thomas Kilmann Conflict model for more insight.

Delayed Gratification

The ability to put the effort in before expecting a result. Delayed gratification can also make you better at managing your time because you understand you need a plan to be productive and to achieve your outcome. Do your sales people discount too quickly because they want that quick sale? Yes, there is a balance to strike but for longer complex sales this is an essential skill. Check out the Marshmallow Test – particularly if you’re a parent like us!


We are so busy being busy and letting people know how busy we are, however, scheduling in some downtime can help you to gain more clarity. It gives you the opportunity to think about the what and the why behind your actions and inactions. Emails, CRM’s, calls, messages etc will expand to fill all the time you have and more – see Parkinson’s Law. Diarise regular time in your diary to think – and make sure you are razor sharp in your thinking focus… and switch off all phones and laptops!

Self-Regard (Inner confidence)

Sales people are assumed to be uber-confident – you have to be if you are to withstand the knocks and bumps along the way. However, what you see on the surface isn’t always what lies beneath the façade.  Thinking positively about yourself is fundamental to Emotional Intelligence, the ability to have a balanced view of your strengths and weaknesses will provide you with resilience, grit and the ability to bounce back.

Separate your ‘do’ from your ‘who’

Without doing so you are holding yourself back. If you take the ‘no’s personally you will create self-doubt and negative self-talk. Instead assign the failure to what you did, rather than who you are.

Remain positive

Develop energy through positive self-talk and propel yourself to a higher level of performance. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself and combine your positive self-talk with immediate action. It is about preparing your brain for that sales conversation – if you get that right then everyone wins. For every sale that you miss, you want to be in a strong place for the next one that is just around the corner! Identify what works for you to recharge and refocus your energies; is it fresh air, coffee, chat with a friend, shouting from the rooftops? Find the thing that helps give you perspective and an energy boost – just don’t overdo the coffee, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs!

Awareness of own emotional state

Ability to control your emotions and cover up emotions that may turn off a customer for example distraction, lack of enthusiasm, nervousness, panicking, analysing etc. While you’re busy thinking, you won’t be listening, asking questions. You may miss vital pieces of information and signals from your prospect. If you don’t have control of your head, you won’t have control of the sales process. Getting control of your emotions takes practice and patience. Making yourself more accountable, exercising, eating better are examples of habits that you can develop to help control your emotions.

The Chimp ParadoxOne of our favourite books here at Chilli Pepper is The Chimp Paradox. Author Steve Peters describes how different parts of the brain contain different characters that control how we act.  If integrating emotional intelligence into your training and development is not an option right now then instead, we highly recommend this book to help you and your sales teams.

We provide emotional intelligence honing and development through our sales programmes and  leadership programmes. Or for more information on how we can help you to develop your teams in 2019 contact us on 0333 305 6516 or [email protected]



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