Why EQ is importantWe all want a sales team that consists of intelligent salespeople. We usually only focus on the IQ to determine someone’s level of intelligence. However, there is something that is more important to examine in new salespeople and that’s their level of emotional intelligence, or EQ. Emotional intelligence refers to one’s ability to recognize individual emotions and act with integrity using five key skills: personal awareness, integrity, empathy, internal motivation and social skills. A salesperson’s willingness to persevere through difficult-to-manage situations and raise their level of emotional intelligence will directly impact their ability to sell.

1. Emotional Intelligence through Personal Awareness


Personal awareness is a salesperson’s ability to recognize their influence on their internal team, prospects, and customers. When sizing up their personal awareness, look for a salesperson’s ability to recognize their internal state of mind, preferences, resources, strengths, and limitations. A salesperson who demonstrates the competency of personal awareness will be confident in their abilities. They are driven by setting and achieving goals. They will also be highly competitive and will look for recognition in what they achieve.


2. Emotional Intelligence through Integrity


Integrity is a salesperson’s ability to let their intentions match their actions. There isn’t a person on the planet who wouldn’t tell you that they have integrity. There are several ways you can recognize whether or not they will have it when they actually need it. A salesperson who lacks the skill of integrity will collapse under pressure. When they find themselves in situations that make them nervous, you’ll notice their eyes beginning to tighten and a negative mindset begins to take over. Then, instead of seeking solutions when confronted by problems, they pass blame or complain about situations they find themselves in.


3. Emotional Intelligence through Internal Motivation


Internal motivation is a salesperson’s ability to do the right things for the right reasons. When a salesperson is internally motivated, they are principle centered and they have goals. In addition, they have the skills to get desired responses from their prospects because they communicate clearly and concisely.  They believe they can have everything they want in life if they help others get what they want. They are not game players. Instead, they will utilize the most effective sales techniques to close deals.


4. Emotional Intelligence through Empathy


Empathy is a salesperson’s ability to recognize and deal with the emotions of others. There are several ways to recognize empathy in a new salesperson.  The first thing to look at is their attitude towards others. A salesperson with strong empathy skills will always have a positive attitude when working with their teammates and prospects. They will also have a strong understanding of others and the ability to sense a prospect’s feelings. They will express an interest in the needs of their prospects and customers.


5. Emotional Intelligence through Social Skills


When a salesperson has the ability to build positive relationships, they have strong social skills. High performing salespeople have courage and they understand how to communicate in a way that makes others feel comfortable. They also know how to effectively handle objections and rejection from prospects. Salespeople who take rejection personally and deflect that energy negatively around the office, or to their prospects and customers, do not have well-developed social skills.


Top-performing salespeople have a high level of emotional intelligence. They have developed the skills of emotional intelligence and this is revealed in their personal commitment to their job. A salesperson with initiative takes on opportunities without being told what to do. Emotionally intelligent salespeople are forward thinkers, especially in the wake of daily challenges.


Keep a close eye on new salespeople. Consistently assess these skills to understand their level of emotional intelligence. Their level of emotional intelligence is crucial to their success and the success of your team.


Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.